Zinc Whiskers on Zinc-Plated Steel Bus Rail  
Click on the Thumbnails Below to see a Larger Version of the Picture

Zinc-Plated Steel Bus Rail

The images below depict ZINC whiskers found growing on a zinc electroplated steel bus rail.  This rail also has a yellow chromate finish which obviously did not inhibit whisker formation.  Whiskers up to several millimeters long were observed.  Circa 2001 the user of this bus rail determined the zinc whiskers were the root cause of catastrophic electrical shorting failure during a thermal vacuum test.

bus-rail-overall.jpg (49177 bytes)
Overall View of Zinc-Plated Steel
Bus Rail (Yellow Chromate)

zinc-whisker-bus-rail01.jpg (28325 bytes) zinc-whisker-bus-rail02.jpg (23703 bytes) zinc-whisker-bus-rail03.jpg (16827 bytes) zinc-whisker-bus-rail04.jpg (48671 bytes)
zinc-whisker-bus-rail05.jpg (35540 bytes) zinc-whisker-bus-rail06.jpg (38359 bytes) zinc whisker stereo-07 deg.jpg (602045 bytes) zinc-whisker-bus-rail08.jpg (16173 bytes) zinc-whisker-bus-rail09.jpg (11310 bytes)

Images Below are Courtesy of Peter Bush (SUNY Buffalo)

bush-zn-whisker-bus-rail01.jpg (46532 bytes)
Zinc Whisker #1
bush-zn-whisker-bus-rail02.jpg (48440 bytes)
Root of Zinc Whisker #1
bush-zn-whisker-bus-rail11.jpg (67761 bytes) bush-zn-whisker-bus-rail12.jpg (60049 bytes) bush-zn-whisker-bus-rail03.jpg (52207 bytes)
bush-zn-whisker-bus-rail05.jpg (51283 bytes)
Zinc Whisker #2
bush-zn-whisker-bus-rail06.jpg (40020 bytes)
Root of Zinc Whisker #2
bush-zn-whisker-bus-rail04.jpg (39738 bytes) bush-zn-whisker-bus-rail09.jpg (63504 bytes) bush-zn-whisker-bus-rail10.jpg (84567 bytes)

bush-zn-whisker-bus-rail07.jpg (49203 bytes)
Zinc Whisker #3

bush-zn-whisker-bus-rail08.jpg (43564 bytes)
Root of Zinc Whisker #3

bush-zn-whisker-bus-rail13.jpg (45085 bytes)
Responsible NASA Officials:

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

   Jong Kadesch/Orbital Sciences Corp.
   Jay Brusse/Perot Systems

Last Updated:

February 22, 2007

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