Metal Whisker Videos

NEW!! -  Preliminary Guidance for Optical Inspection for Metal Whiskers

The following videos offer PRELIMINARY guidance to illustrate the complexities associated with optical inspection of hardware for metal whiskers.  Emphasis has been placed on importance of lighting source, angle of incidence and angle of inspection.  The techniques illustrated are not guaranteed to find all whiskers in all situations.  Rather they are provided in hopes of improving the probability of detection when only optical inspection techniques are available.

Both tin and zinc whisker specimens are included as noted.  Some PWBs (old cell phones) were intentionally seeded with zinc whiskers to help demonstrate the complexities associated with optical inspection of very thin metallic filaments.

Additional videos are under development to highlight various aspects of inspection for metal whiskers.  Stay Tuned!!!

Depending on the Internet Web Browser you are using, you may have to "Save File As" and then Open Windows Media Player to View the Movies

File sizes range from ~10 to 20 Mbytes

Video # Subject Production Date Description
0 Mechanical Detachment of Metal Whiskers - 
Preparing a Sample Suitable for Demonstrating Optical Inspection Techniques and Complexities
April 27, 2006 Video shows how zinc whiskers were detached from a zinc-coated piece of steel in order to scatter them on a PWB for further demos on inspection techniques
1 Video #1
Guidance for Optical Inspection of Metal Whisker Debris on PWB
April 27, 2006 Demo of complexities of lighting technique to see metal whisker debris lying on a PWB
2 Video #2
Optical Inspection Techniques for Metal Whisker Debris on Top of IC Package
April 27, 2006 Demo of complexities of lighting technique to see metal whiskers lying on top of a black IC package
3 Video #3
Optical Inspection Techniques for Metal Whiskers Attached to Lock Washer
May 2, 2006 Demo of complexities of lighting technique to see metal whiskers on a lock washer
4 Video #4
Optical Inspection Techniques for Metal Whiskers Inside of Metal Can Transistor Package
May 2, 2006 Examination of tin whiskers growing on internal case walls of an old tin-plated transistor package
5 Video #5
Optical Inspection Techniques: A Compilation of Examples
May 20, 2008 Compilation video of various metal whisker inspections using optical microscopy 
MORE VIDEOS Are in Production

Recommendations for viewing these videos are as follows:

All files have been stored in the Windows Media Player format (WMV).  Windows Media PlayerTM software is recommended for viewing "WMV" file formats.  Free download is available from Microsoft.
Select "full screen" viewing option from the software you are using
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
Responsible NASA Officials:

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

   Lyudmyla Panashchenko/NASA GSFC Code 562
   Jay Brusse/SSAI
   Jong Kim/Vertex LLC

Last Updated:

December 10, 2007

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.