Photo of the Month Archives

November 2002
Tin Whiskers on the Armature of an Electromagnetic Relay

Read the following article to learn more about failures attributed to tin whiskers growing from this relay
G. Davy, "
Relay Failure Caused by Tin Whiskers", Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems Technical Article, October 2002

See the Photo Gallery for a description and more images of this relay
See Also the Video Gallery for Demonstration of Tin Whisker Movement Due to Gentle Air Currents Where this Relay was Used as the Test Specimen

Pure Tin-Plated Iron Armature Used as Part of the INTERNAL Construction of a Hermetically Sealed Electromagnetic Relay.
Relay is ~14 Years Old.  Photo was taken After Removal of the External Case of this Device which then Revealed Extensive Growths of Tin Whiskers with the Longer Whiskers Approaching 3 mm in Length.  These Whiskers are More than Long Enough to Cause Electrical Shorts Inside of this Device.

Responsible NASA Officials:

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

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

Last Updated:

August 3, 2009

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