Development and Validation of Tin-Whisker Growth Model and Accelerated Testing

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Army
Contract: W31P4Q-09-C-0645
Agency Tracking Number: O083-M04-2014
Amount: $100,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2009
Solicitation Year: 2008
Solicitation Topic Code: OSD08-M04
Solicitation Number: 2008.3
Small Business Information
9063 Bee Caves Road, Austin, TX, 78733
DUNS: 625120902
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 George Hansen
 Principal Investigator
 (512) 263-2101
Business Contact
 Monte Fellingham
Title: Contracts Administrator
Phone: (512) 263-2101
Research Institution
Reliabilities of lead-free soldered assemblies and surface finishes are different from heritage tin-lead eutectic alloys when used in high-performance or long-lived military and aerospace applications. Single crystal, beta-tin whiskers have erupted spontaneously from surfaces of lead-free soldered and tin-plated circuits, causing electrical short circuits and component failures. The proposed work will involve systematic investigations of whisker growth in electronic materials to identify initiating and propagating mechanisms, quantitatively linked to physical stress state, temperature and crystallographic and impurity factors. The work will result in determinations of the effects of each of these factors, and development of a unifying growth model to account for them. The model will be validated against tin and other metals used in electronics that are prone to sprout electrically conductive single crystals. Using this model, TRI will develop a protocol to accelerate representative conditions that excite whisker growth mechanisms. A global solution to whisker growth in electronics will be forthcoming upon availability of this demonstrated growth model. TRI will rely on its metallurgical and materials experience to identify the most robust and least expensive solutions possible. We will develop and qualify an inexpensive tin whisker mitigation technique capable of rapid application using standard manufacturing practices.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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