What's New

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

What's New
Date Update
10/03/11 Added the following reference:
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
12/10/10 Added references as follows:
"Long Term Investigation of Urethane Conformal Coating Against Tin Whisker Growth", L. Panashchenko, IPC Tin Whisker Conference, Dec. 2010

Added references as follows:

"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)

Added New reference:

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

03/10/10 Updates to:
Photo Gallery
Anecdote #10 Tin Whiskers on Tin-Plated Oscilloscope Probes
(reported in 2007)
Anecdote #9 Tin Whiskers on Tin-Plated Copper Bus Bars Suspected to Have Produced Metal Vapor Arc Failures
Anecdote #8

Tin Whiskers Detaching from RF Shield (Bracket) During Assembly and Producing Electrical Short Circuits Found at End-Of-Production Line Testing 
(Reported in 2008)

02/23/10 Added new reference:
"Evaluation of Environmental Tests for Tin Whisker Assessment", L. Panashchenko, Univ. of MD Masters Thesis, Dec. 2009
08/03/09 Added new reference:

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



06/16/09 Added new references:

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

05/07/09 Added new reference
"Theory of Tin Whisker Growth-The End Game", J. Smetana, iNEMI Tin Whisker Workshop, May 2005 (updated 2007)
02/05/09 Added new references
"Tin Whiskers Electrical Short Circuit Characteristics- Part II", K. Courey
"Tin Whiskers Electrical Short Circuit Characteristics- Part I", K. Courey
"Whisker formation in Sn and Pb–Sn coatings: Role of intermetallic growth, stress evolution, and plastic deformation processes", E. Chason
"Plastic deformation processes in Cu/Sn bimetallic films", K. Kumar
Added link to CALCE Whisker Growth Videos
Added link to Data Clean Corporation Webinar about Zinc Whiskers
07/14/08 Added the following reference: "Tin Whiskers with Special Morphology ", H. Hao, Y. Shi, Beijing University of Technology, July 2008
06/23/08 Added new references: P. Snugovsky, et al, "Whisker Growth on SAC Solder Joints: Microstructural Analysis", SMTA Toronto, May 2008
Technical Presentation
Technical Paper

Added several NASA metal whisker presentations given to various conferences and industry groups

2nd International Symposium on Tin Whiskers, Tokyo, Japan, April 24, 2008
Association for Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) Cardiac Rhythm Management Device (CRMD) Committee, San Francisco, CA, May 13, 2008
UNOVIS Consortium Meeting, Owego, NY, June 18, 2008
Nuclear Procurement Issues Committee (NUPIC) Meeting, Cherry Hill, NJ, June 19, 2008
06/09/08 Added Anecdote #6:  "Tin Whiskers in Swiss Radio and Telephones Observed in 1981"
04/08/08 Added reference: "Whisker and Hillock formation on Sn, Sn–Cu and Sn–Pb electrodeposits", W.J. Boettinger, Acta Materialia 53, 2005, pp. 5033-55.
01/02/08 Added reference:  "Tin Whiskers in Electronic Circuits", G. Stupian, Aerospace Report No. TR-92(2925)-7, pp. 1 - 21, December 20, 1992. (Used with Permission of The Aerospace Corporation)

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

07/09/07 Added New reference by G. Eng., et al, "Review of Aerospace Corp. Pre- and Post-Project 1998 Tin Whisker Work", The Aerospace Corp. Internal Presentation, et al, Apr. 2003
06/21/07 Added New References by Eng re: Tin Plasmas from Tin Whisker Induced Electrical Shorts.
Technical Presentation
Tin Plasma Video
06/14/07 Added New References by Garich and Barr (1, 2).
Updated Reference Listing to Capture 2007 CALCE Intl Whisker Symposium
Added 2 NASA references (Leidecker and Nishimi) published at the 2007 Intl. Symposium on Tin Whiskers hosted by CALCE at the Univ. of Maryland
Added a whisker video produced by the NASA Shuttle Logistics Depot (NSLD) about the tin whisker infestation discovered in the Space Shuttle avionics boxes in 2006
03/08/07 Added 4 newly approved Videos of tin whiskers on assorted items (card rails, connectors, transformer cans, and RF enclosures).
12/05/06 Added Metal Dendrite (Not WHISKER) Content prepared by A. Cyganowski (Notre Dame Prep High School) during NASA Internship in summer 2006
10/19/06 Added T. Woodrow (Boeing) technical references:  1)  Tracer Diffusion of Tin using Tin Isotopes  2)  Conformal Coatings for Whisker Mitigation Part II
06/15/06 Added additional videos of metal whiskers (terminal lugs, variable air capacitor)
05/08/06 Added reference:  "Tin Whiskers: A History of Documented Electrical System Failures", H. Leidecker, J. Brusse
05/02/06 Added Videos of tin whiskers on lock washer and inside of tin-plated transistor packages
04/27/06 Added Videos to Provide Guidelines for Optical Inspection of PWBs for Metal Whiskers
08/29/05 Added link to Oct. 2005 NIST Workshop on "Restricted Substances in Materials: Testing and Reporting Procedures Workshop" 
Added links to 2 technical bulletins from Westinghouse Nuclear with permission

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

07/21/05 Added tech reference about US-based Nuclear Reactor shutdown due to tin whisker induced short circuit in April 2005
05/31/05 Updated FAQ to clarify info regarding the formation of whisker-induced metal vapor arcs at reduced atmospheric pressure.
Minor additional edits to FAQ to provide references/links to info regarding mitigation strategies for tin whiskers.
05/02/05 Added link to T. Woodrow PRESENTATION "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
04/20/05 Added citations +  links to recent papers:
  1. 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
  2. K. Chen, G. Wilcox, "Observations of the Spontaneous Growth of Tin Whiskers on Tin-Manganese Alloy Electrodeposits", Physical Review Letters 94, Feb. 17, 2005, pp. 066104-1 to 066104-4
  3. M. Barsoum, et al, "Driving Force and Mechanism for Spontaneous Metal Whisker Formation", Physical Review Letters 93, Nov. 10, 2004, pp. 206104-1 to 206104-4
01/12/05 Added MORE Whisker Anecdotes
  1. Whisker Anecdote #3 about field failures due to tin whiskers breaking loose from RF lids
  2. Whisker Anecdote #5 about field failures due to tin whiskers from "bright" tin-plated circuit breaker contacts

Added Link to EU RoHS Stakeholder Consultation and Feedback from Community to Date

Added more links to zinc whisker articles

  1. J. Brusse, M. Sampson, "Zinc Whiskers:  Hidden Cause of Equipment Failure", IEEE IT Professional Magazine, 2004 Nov/Dec, Vol. 6 No. 6, pp 43-47
  2.  H. Reynolds, R. Hilty, "Investigations of Zinc (Zn) Whiskers using FIB Technology", IPC/JEDEC Boston, Dec. 2004
    Technical Paper
    Technical Presentation
  3. "Zinc whiskers found in War Memorial", ComputerWorld-Australia, M. Crawford, Aug. 12, 2004
  4. "Pesky Whiskers Zap PCs in Secretary of State's Office", The Denver Post, A. Svaldi, July 1, 2004, Page C-01
  5. "Zinc whiskers tangle data centre ops", ComputerWorld-Australia, J. Bajkowski, Feb. 12, 2004

Added Copyright Notice to banner

01/05/04 Added Whisker Anecdote about GPS units with Tin Whiskers on the RF Shields

Added link to Fortune Magazine article about Tin Whiskers

Added additional Tin Whisker Reference Citations

11/08/04 Added example of Tin Whiskers on a tin-plated Ka band Waveguide

Added example of Tin Whiskers on Matte Tin-Plated Copper Leadframes after 3 Years Ambient Storage

Added MORE comprehensive gallery of Zinc Whisker images from raised floor structures

Added example of Zinc Whiskers growing on Zinc-plated steel bus rail

08/23/04 Added GOLD Whisker reference from A. Teverovsky
Updated Reference Listings for OTHER Metal Whisker Section to include references to Gold, Indium, Aluminum, Lead (Pb),  etc. whiskers
04/26/04 Added New Photo of the Month:  Limitations of Hot Solder Dip to Mitigate Tin Whisker Formation
12/16/03 Added  New reference material:  H. Leidecker, "Whiskers of Sn-Pb on REFLOWED Die Attach Solder Used in the Manufacture of Laser Diode Arrays", December 2003

Added New Photo of the Month:  Sn-Pb Whiskers

Added GEIA Bulletin Link: "GEB-0002: Reducing the Risk of Tin Whisker-Induced Failures in Electronic Systems", December 2003

11/11/03 Added New reference material:  J. Brusse, "A Discussion of the Significance of Metal Whisker Formation to the High Reliability Community", Nov. 2003
Updated the Basic Info/FAQ link with clarification that metal vapor arcs are NOT exclusive to vacuum environments.
10/06/03 Updated Link References to External Sources of Info. Added to Literature Reference Listing
09/03/03 Added SILVER Whisker reference and New Photo of the Month
04/08/03 Added Zinc Whisker Awareness Presentation, "Zinc Whiskers: Could Zinc Whiskers Be Impacting Your Electronics?", J. Brusse, April 2, 2003

Added New Photo of the Month:  Zinc Whiskers on Floor Tiles (Computer Room)

03/11/03 Added New reference material:  G. Galyon, "Annotated Tin Whisker Bibliography", NEMI Publication , pp 1-21, Feb 2003
02/27/03 Added New reference Material:  D. Romm, et al, "Whisker Evaluation for Tin-Plated Logic Component Leads", Texas Instruments Application Note SZZA037A, February 2003

Updated External Links on "Whisker Failures" page and added emphasis that satellite failures reported are NON-NASA assets.


Added New Reference Material: G. Davy, "Relay Failure Caused by Tin Whiskers", Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems Technical Article, October 2002

Added link to www site announcing the TMS Tin Whisker Workshop (San Diego, CA  March 2, 2003)

Added additional ZINC Whisker reference links

12/26/02 Added New Reference Material Link to www site under Hot Topic, Whisker Failures and Literature References.
GE Power Management, "Technical Service Bulletin:  Tin Whiskers in MOD10 Relays", March 27, 2000
12/23/02 Added New Reference Material Links
  1. C. Stevens, "Relay Failures Induced by the Growth of Tin Whiskers:  A Case Study", IEEE Boston Reliability Chapter 38th Annual Spring Reliability Symposium, May 16, 2001
  2. B.D. Dunn, "Mechanical and Electrical Characteristics of Tin Whiskers with Special Reference to Spacecraft Systems," European Space Agency (ESA) Journal, 12, pp. 1-17, January 14, 1988.
  3. B.D. Dunn, "A Laboratory Study of Tin Whisker Growth", European Space Agency (ESA) STR-223, pp. 1 - 50, September 1987.
  4. B.D. Dunn , "Whisker Formation on Electronic Materials", ESA Scientific and Technical Review, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 1-22, 1976.
Added Whisker Video Section with example of whisker growth and whisker motion due to gentle cair currents
Added CARTS Europe Slide Presentation
November Photo of the Month--Relay Armature with Tin Whiskers
Updated Photo Gallery with more images of components with tin whiskers (matte tin plated IC, connector pins, relay armature)
Added Zinc Whisker Failure Reference Link from Unisys World Magazine
Added additional references to Literature References page including QSS Group/NASA GSFC paper/slide presentation entitled "Tin Whisker Observations on Pure Tin-Plated Ceramic Chip Capacitors (AESF SUR/FIN June 2002)
Added multiple reference links for ZINC WHISKER issues
Added more examples of Components with Tin Whiskers (Test Points)
Added archive for Photo of the Month
Updated Experiment #2 with the Observations of Tin Whiskers growing through "thin" Conformal Coat material
Updated Experiment #5 with more recent information about tin whiskers on ceramic chip capacitors
Created Experiment #7 section: Examination of Matte Tin Plated ICs
Created Tin Whisker Anecdotes section and added Anecdote #1 discussing the tin whisker induced failure of an electronic system 20 years after it was put into field service.
Added additional references to Literature References page including NASA GSFC and The Aerospace Corporation paper/slide presentation entitled "Tin Whiskers: Attributes and Mitigation" (CARTS 2002)
Added DISCLAIMER statement to homepage.
Addition of B. Dunn Reference to list of reference materials:  "Metallurgical assessment of spacecraft parts, materials and processes" published by Praxis Publishing, Chichester, UK  1997, - see Chapter 7 "Whisker Growths" pp 515 - 548
Official Release of Whisker WWW Site
Complete Overhaul of the Tin Whisker Homepage Navigation Structure
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:

January 24, 2011

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.