Tin whisker mitigation research to be performed by Rockwell Collins for DoD programNews
August 22, 2012
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa. Officials at the Department of Defense's (DoD's) Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program selected a Rockwell Collins-led team for a research project on the Tin Whiskers Inorganic Coatings Evaluation (TWICE) program. The research will focus on mitigation of the impact tin whiskers have on high-reliability, high-performance electronic systems caused by new lead-free alloys and finishes in the defense and aerospace and defense manufacturing systems and supply chain.
The lead-free electronics transition has changed some of the ground rules when it comes to designing electronics for use in harsh environments – especially tin whiskers, which can grow from the pure tin surfaces commonly used on lead-free devices. Tin whiskers are essentially microscopic metal fibers that are smaller and thinner than a human hair and capable of bridging great distances that can create short-circuits that lead to equipment failures.
This research project is expected to form a better scientific understanding of the mechanisms by which tin whiskers form and how they can be managed with conformal coatings. Rockwell Collins engineers will develop materials and the processes necessary to generate coatings that could mitigate tin whisker growth on a variety of surfaces over a wide range of environmental conditions.
The Rockwell Collins team includes Plasma Ruggedized Solutions and the University of Maryland Center for Advanced Life Cycle Engineering.