NPL – Are tin-plated components a reliability time-bomb? An update on long term whisker testing at NPL

November 17, 2020 @ 6:30 am – 8:00 am

During long-term whisker testing at NPL, unmitigated test samples have generally tended to generate whisker shorts in relatively short timescales. This is because the samples were purposely produced with compress stress plated into the component lead-frames, designed to drive early whisker growth. Electrical shorts were generally created within 100 days of manufacture. 

Long-term testing of mitigated whisker samples has shown that most coatings are successful at delaying or inhibiting Sn whiskers, but some samples have begun generated whisker shorts on SOIC components over much longer timeframes, most recently after 5 years on test. This webinar will present updated results from 12 years of testing with NPL’s parallel plate test vehicle and 6 years of testing with the SOIC component test vehicle. Details on recent work on the efficacy of condensation testing at determining coating coverage will be discussed.


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