Tin Whisker (and Other Metal Whisker) Homepage

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Tin Whisker Growing from Pure Tin Plated Relay Terminal Hot Topics

The  motion depicted in the image is for simulation purposes only
Motion depicted in this image is for simulation purposes only

April 2012
L. Panashchenko, "The Art of Appreciating Metal Whiskers:  A Practical Guide for Electronics Professionals", IPC Tin Whisker Symposium, Dallas, TX, April 2012


September 2011

H. Leidecker, L. Panashchenko, J. Brusse, "Electrical Failure of an Accelerator Pedal Position Sensor Caused by a Tin Whisker and Investigative Techniques Used for Whisker Detection", 5th International Tin Whisker Symposium, Sept. 2011

August 2011

"Lead-Free Electronics Reliability - An Update", A. Kostic, GEOINT Development Office, Aerospace Corporation, August 2011

January 2011

"Long Term Investigation of Urethane Conformal Coating Against Tin Whisker Growth", L. Panashchenko, IPC Tin Whisker Conference, Dec. 2010


December 2010

"Examples of Lognormal Distributions of Tin Whisker Lengths and Thicknesses", extracted from master's thesis of L. Panashchenko, 2009 (full dissertation link)

November 2010

"How do whiskers and hillocks grow in Pb-free Sn coatings?

Fundamental mechanisms controlling stress evolution and whisker growth", E. Chason/Brown University
Powerpoint File (with embedded animation/movies)
Adobe PDF file (No Animation)

May 2010

Videos:  "Real-Time Growth Videos of Whiskers and Hillocks in Tin Over Copper Structures", Brown University


March 2010

Whisker Photo Gallery Updated

Whisker Anecdotes Added


February 2010

"Evaluation of Environmental Tests for Tin Whisker Assessment", L. Panashchenko, Univ. of Maryland Thesis, Dec. 2009 


September 2009

"Examination of Nickel Underlayer as a Tin Whisker Mitigator", L. Panashchenko, M. Osterman, ECTC, May 2009 

Presentation (modified for tin whisker telecon)


August 2009

"Examination of Nickel Underlayer as a Tin Whisker Mitigator", L. Panashchenko, M. Osterman, ECTC, May 2009



June 2009

Video: Zinc Whiskers on Hot Dip Galvanized (HDG) Steel and Whisker Bending Due to Electrostatic Attraction, J. Brusse, A. Purves

"Probabilistic Assessment of Component Lead-to-Lead Tin Whisker Bridging", S. McCormack, Intl. Conf. on Soldering and Reliability, May 2009

May 2009

"Theory of Tin Whisker Growth-The End Game", J. Smetana, iNEMI Tin Whisker Workshop, May 2005 (updated 2007)

February 2009

"Tin Whiskers Electrical Short Circuit Characteristics", K. Courey, et al

Part II, IEEE Trans. on Electronic Packaging Manufacturing, Vol. 32, No. 1, January 2009

Part I,  IEEE Trans. on Electronic Packaging Manufacturing, Vol. 31, No. 1, January 2008

"Whisker formation in Sn and Pb–Sn coatings: Role of intermetallic growth, stress evolution, and plastic deformation processes", E. Chason, et al, Applied Physics Letters 92, 171901, April 2008

"Plastic deformation processes in Cu/Sn bimetallic films",K.S. Kumar, et al, J. Mater. Res., Vol. 23, No. 11, Nov 2008

December 2008

Whisker Growth Videos
by CALCE (University of Maryland)
Rapid whisker growth captured via time-lapse photography in SEM

"Zinc Whiskers, What Nobody's Telling You - A New Zinc Whisker Threat", Webinar by Data Clean Corporation


July 2008 - Tin whiskers on Sn-3.8Ag-0.7Cu-1.0Ce/Er/Y Solder Joints

"Tin Whiskers with Special Morphology ", H. Hao, Y. Shi, Beijing University of Technology, July 2008


June 2008

"Whisker Growth on SAC Solder Joints: Microstructural Analysis", P. Snugovsky, et al, SMTA Toronto, May 2008
Technical Presentation
Technical Paper

Whisker Anecdote #6: "SEM Images of a 27 Year Old Sample Containing Tin Whiskers in Comparison to Salt (NaCl) Whiskers", P. Fontana, June 2008


April 2008

"Whisker and Hillock formation on Sn, Sn–Cu and Sn–Pb electrodeposits", W.J. Boettinger, et al, Acta Materialia 53, 2005, pp 5033-55


December 2007

"Metal Whiskers: Failure Modes & Mitigation Strategies", J. Brusse, H. Leidecker, L. Panashchenko, MRQW, Dec. 2007


July 2007

"Review of Aerospace Corp. Pre- and Post-Project 1998 Tin Whisker Work", G. Eng, et al, Apr. 2003


June 2007

"Understanding Tin Plasmas:  A New Approach to Tin Whisker Plasma Risk Assessment", G. Eng, Intl. Symposium on Tin Whiskers,  Apr. 2007

"Tin Plasma Video", G. Eng. Intl. Symposium on Tin Whiskers, Apr. 2007

"Evaluation of Faradayic Plating Method for Controlling Tin Whisker Growth", H. Garich, Intl. Symposium on Tin Whiskers,  Apr. 2007

"Mitigating and Preventing the Growth of Tin and Other Metal Whiskers on Critical Hardware", S. Barr, 2007



May 2007

"Metal Whiskering", H. Leidecker, Intl. Symposium on Tin Whiskers, Apr. 2007

"Space Shuttle Program-Tin Whisker Mitigation", K. Nishimi, Intl. Symposium on Tin Whiskers, Apr. 2007

NASA Shuttle Logistics Depot - Tin Whisker Video

Hi-Res MPEG file (~45MBytes)

Lo-Res WMV file (~11Mbytes)

March 2007

Tin Whisker Videos! Card Rails, Connectors, Transformers, RF Enclosures


December 2006

"Nickel Cadmium Batteries:  A Medium for the Study of Metal Whiskers and Dendrites", A. Cyganowski/Notre Dame Prep High School, Dec. 2006


October 2006

"Tracer Diffusion in Whisker-Prone Tin Platings", T. Woodrow, SMTAI, Sept. 2006

Technical Paper


"Evaluation of Conformal Coatings as a Tin Whisker Mitigation Strategy, Part 2", T. Woodrow, SMTAI, Sept. 2006

July 2006

"HP Experience with Tin Whisker Inspection Training", V. Schroeder, circa August 2005

June 2006

Videos - Metal Whiskers on Variable Air Capacitor, Terminal Lugs, et al

April 2006

VIDEOS - "Preliminary" Guidance for Optical Microscope Inspection for Metal Whiskers

"Tin Whiskers: A History of Documented Electrical System Failures", H. Leidecker, J. Brusse, April 2006


October 2005

NIST Workshop- October 5-7, 2005
"Restricted Substances in Materials: 
Testing and Reporting Procedures Workshop"

August 2005 

Westinghouse Nuclear Tech Bulletin TB-05-4, "Potential Tin Whiskers on Printed Circuit Board Components", June 8, 2005

Westinghouse Nuclear Tech Bulletin TB-02-5, "(Tin Whiskers on Potentiometers used in) Basler Power Supplies", July 12, 2002


July 2005 

P. Daddona, "Reactor Shutdown: Dominion Learns Big Lesson from a Tiny Tin Whisker", The Day (New London, CT), July 4, 2005


April 2005

T. Woodrow, "Evaluation of Conformal Coatings as a Tin Whisker Mitigation Strategy", IPC/JEDEC 8th International Conference on Pb-Free Electronic Components and Assemblies, San Jose, CA, April 18-20, 2005

Technical Paper (~11 Mbytes)

Presentation (~19 Mbytes)

January 2005

Anecdote - Field Failures from Tin Whiskers on Circuit Breaker Contacts

Anecdote - Field Failures from Tin Whiskers Breaking Loose from RF Lids

Anecdote - Tin Whiskers on RF Shields of GPS modules

"Zinc Whiskers: Hidden Cause of Equipment Failures", J. Brusse, M. Sampson, IEEE IT Professional, 2004 Nov/Dec Vol. 6. No. 6, pp 43-47

"Tin Whiskers:  The Next Y2K Problem?", I. Amato, Fortune Magazine

European Union RoHS Stakeholder Consultation

Stakeholder Feedback Requesting Exemption for Sn-Pb plated finishes

H. Reynolds, R. Hilty, "Investigations of Zinc (Zn) Whiskers using FIB Technology", IPC/JEDEC Boston, Dec. 2004

November 2004
    - Tin Whiskers on Ka Band Waveguide
    - Tin Whiskers on Matte Tin-Plated IC Leadframe
    - Zinc Whiskers on Zinc-Plated Steel Bus Rail
    - Gallery of Zinc Whisker Photos from Raised Floor Structures

- Metal Whisker Failures and Anecdotes


- OTHER Metal Whisker Links (e.g. Zinc, Silver, Gold)
   - ZINC WHISKER Links 

     -"Zinc Whisker Awareness:  Could Zinc Whiskers Be Impacting Your Electronics?", J. Brusse, Technical Presentation, April 2003

   - "GOLD Whiskers - Introducing a New Member to the Family", A. Teverovsky, April 2003

     -"Whiskers of Sn-Pb on REFLOWED Die Attach Solder Used in the
        Manufacture of Laser Diode Arrays", H. Leidecker


     -"Degradation of Power Contacts in Industrial Atmosphere: Silver Corrosion and Whiskers", IEEE Holm Conference 2002, pp 140-150


     - CALCE/Military OEM Tin Whisker Forum

     - EIA G-12 Committee, "GEB-0002: Reducing the Risk of Tin
       Whisker-Induced Failures in Electronic Systems"
     - National Electronics Manufacturing Initiative (NEMI)
            Accelerated Tin Whisker Test Team
            Tin Whisker Modeling Team
            Tin Whisker User Group


LITERATURE REFERENCES - >100+ Whisker Citations

Photo of the Month

April 2004:
Limitations of "Hot Solder Dip" for Tin Whisker Mitigation

Archive of Previous Photos of the Month

Thickness of a Metal Whisker Compared to a Human Hair

hair-vs-whisker.jpg (73297 bytes)

NASA-hair-vs-whiskers.JPG (121803 bytes)

This Tin and Other Whisker Information www site has been developed by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center's EEE Parts Engineering Organization in conjunction with the NASA EEE Parts and Packaging (NEPP) Program.  

The objectives of this site are to provide the government, industry and academia with:

Basic Info Regarding Tin and Other Metal Whiskers and Associated Risks
Tin Whisker Risk Mitigation Guidelines
NASA GSFC Experiment Status with Metal Whiskers
Literature References for Tin and Other Metal Whiskers 
Responsible NASA Officials:

   Michael Sampson/NASA GSFC Code 306
   Dr. Henning Leidecker/NASA GSFC Code 562
Additional Researchers: 

Jay Brusse/Dell Perot Systems
Lyudmyla Panashchenko/NASA GSFC Code 562

Jong Kim/Orbital Sciences Corp.

Last Updated:

May 8, 2012

This website provides information about tin whiskers and related research. The independent research performed during the past 50+ years is so vast that it is impractical to cover all aspects of tin whiskers in this one resource. Therefore, the absence of information in this website about a particular aspect of tin whiskers should NOT be construed as evidence of absence.

This material is presented to ensure timely dissemination of scholarly and technical work. For technical references posted herein, copyright and all rights therein are retained by authors or by other copyright holders. All persons copying this information are expected to adhere to the terms and constraints invoked by each author's copyright. In most cases, these works may not be reposted without the explicit permission of the copyright holder.