NASA
Video Gallery

Home Basic Info/FAQ Other Metal Whiskers Literature References Whisker Failures Whisker Anecdotes Photo Gallery Video Gallery GSFC Experiments Related Links What's New Contact Us

 

Metal Whisker Videos

Click this Link to Visit the NEW Video Section for -
Preliminary Guidance for Optical Inspection for Metal Whiskers

May 2010: Videos:  "Real-Time Growth Videos of Whiskers and Hillocks in Tin Over Copper Structures", Brown University

December 2008:  Whisker Growth Videos by CALCE (University of Maryland)

April 2007:  Tin Plasma Formation (Metal Vapor Arc) by The Aerospace Corporation

The following videos have been produced by component engineers from the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center,the NASA Shuttle Logistics Depot and other organizations as noted to document various aspects of metal (e.g., tin and zinc) whiskers.  

Video #

Subject

Production Date

Description

16

The Death of a Tin Whisker: Sputtered Tin on Silver

2012

Center for Advanced Vehicle and Extreme Environment Electronics (CAVE3) Auburn University

Video shows a tin whisker laden surface (~0.2 micron thick Sn on Ag system) that is heated linearly (~1C/s) from room temperature to above the melting point of tin, recorded in real-time with a scanning electron microscope.

 

The tin whisker had previously drained its liquid metal tin and what is left is the empty tin oxide (SnOx) exoskeleton. The movement observed is due to the interaction of the electron beam with the exoskeleton.

15

Draining Tin Whiskers: Sputtered Tin on Silver

2012

Center for Advanced Vehicle and Extreme Environment Electronics (CAVE3) Auburn University

Video shows a tin whisker laden surface (~0.2 micron thick Sn on Ag system) that is heated linearly (~1C/s) from room temperature to above the melting point of tin, recorded in real-time with a scanning electron microscope.

For many whiskers, the whisker shaft moves and buckles as the now liquid Sn metal drains. The remaining Sn oxide exoskeleton (whose melting temperature is >1000C) flattens and frequently forms a spherical mass with electron beam heating.

14

Troubleshooting Tips:
Comparison of Methods to Measure Resistance of Metal Whiskers

September 2011

Video shows how oxide films that form on metal whiskers can make measuring whisker resistance difficult due to the elevated voltage needed to first breakdown the electrically insulating oxide film before current will flow through the whisker to enable measuring resistance.  A "series resistor" is used in the measurement circuit to limit the current flow through the whisker once the oxide film is broken down otherwise the whisker might melt.   Video compares a common multimeter in resistance measure mode vs. a variable power supply  for measuring whisker resistance.

13

Melting a Tin Whisker Using a Volt/Ohm Meter to Measure Resistance

April 2012

Video demonstrates that a multimeter (volt/ohm meter) set in RESISTANCE MEASURING MODE may supply a voltage that is sufficient to melt a tin whisker thus removing evidence of the whisker as a possible root cause of electrical faults

12

Optical Microscopy of a D-Sub Connector with Tin Whiskers:
Extended version of Video from July 2006

April 2012

Video demonstrating impact of lighting and inspection angle while using optical microscopy to detect tin whiskers on a Dsub connector shell.

As presented by L. Panashchenko at the IPC Tin Whisker Symposium 2012 (Dallas, TX)

11

Zinc Whiskers on Hot Dip Galvanized (HDG) Steel and Whisker Bending Due to Electrostatic Attraction

September 2007

Video illustrates HDG coatings are not immune to whisker formation.  Also illustrates bending/flexing of whiskers in presence of electric fields

10

NASA Shuttle Logistics Depot-Tin Whisker Video

Hi-Res MPEG file (~45Mbytes)

Lo-Res WMV file (~11Mbytes)

April 2007

Video detailing the efforts of the the NSLD in addressing a massive tin whisker infestation in NASA Space Shuttle avionics boxes

9

Tin Whisker Infestation on Tin-Plated Card Rails
(~5Mbytes)

November 2006

Video showing extreme tin whisker infestation on tin-plated card rails

8

D-Sub Connectors with Tin Whiskers (~5Mbytes)

July 2006

Video showing tin whisker growing on D-Sub Connector Shell

7

Transformer Cans with Tin Whiskers (~5Mbytes)

July 2006

Video showing tin whiskers growing from tin-plated transformer cans

6

RF Enclosures with Tin Whiskers and Loose Whisker Debris (~5 Mbytes)

January 2007

Video showing tin whiskers on RF enclosure that produced field problems for an anonymous source.

5

Electromagnetic Relay with Tin Whiskers  (~11 Mbytes)
(Mfr date 1993. Inspection date 2006)

June 15, 2006

Video showing long tin whiskers on an electromagnetic relay made in 1993 and inspected in 2006.

4

Terminal Lugs with Metal Whiskers (~5 Mbytes)

May 26, 2006

Video shows metal whiskers on terminal lugs

3

Tin Whiskers on Variable Capacitor - 1960 Grundig Radio
(~5 Mbytes)

 April 2006

Video shows extremely dense growth of tin whiskers on a variable air capacitor inside of a 1960 vintage radio tuner. Longest whisker in video ~8-mm. Video highlights extreme flexibility of long, slender whiskers. 

2

Tin Whisker Growth Kinetics
MPG Format (11 MBytes)

Nov. 5, 2002

Demonstrates the growth process of a tin whisker over a period of ~1.5 months

1

Tin Whisker Motion Due to Gentle Air Currents

RealPlayer Format (2.5 MBytes)

MPG Format (26 MBytes)

Nov. 5, 2002

Demonstrates how some tin whiskers behave under influence of minor air currents.  These whiskers were found growing inside of electromagnetic relays whose procurement specs prohibited the use of pure tin-plating, but the finish WAS PURE TIN nevertheless.

Recommendations for viewing these videos are as follows:

RealPlayerTM software is recommended for viewing "RealPlayer" file formats.  Free download is available.

Select "full screen" viewing option from the software you are using

Some of these video files are very large. If your internet connection speed is slow, it is suggested to download the file to your hard drive and then view the saved file rather than view as an internet streaming video.

Note:  The quality of the video image may depend on the video graphics capabilities of your computer