IEEE Transactions on Reliability, Vol. 42(4), pp. 600-607, December 1993.

Comparison of Electronics-Reliability Assessment Approaches

M. Cushing, D. Mortin, and T. Stadterman
AMSAA, Aberdeen Proving Ground

A. Malhotra
CALCE Electronics Packaging Research Center
University of Maryland, College Park, 20742


Two general approaches are available for assessing reliability of electronics during design: Device failure-rate prediction, and physics-of-failure.  This article broadly compares these two approaches in a way that is readily understandable by the wide range of readers concerned with the design, manufacture, and support of electronic equipment.  The most prominent device failure-rate prediction methodology, US Mil-Hdbk-217, does not provide the designer or manufacturer with any insight into, or control over, the actual causes of failure since the cause-and-effect relationships impacting reliability; this problem results in an inability to tailor a Mil-Hdbk-217 prediction using these key parameters.  Physics-of-failure methodology is an approach to design, reliability assessment, testing, screening, and stress margins that uses knowledge of root-cause failure mechanisms to prevent product failures through robust design & manufacturing practices.  This approach proactively incorporates reliability into the design process by establishing a scientific basis for evaluating new materials, structures, and electronic technologies.  This approach encourages innovative, cost-effective design through realistic reliability assessment.

Complete article is available to CALCE Consortium Members.

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