Proceedings of the International SMTA Conference, Chicago, Sep.26-30, 2004, pp. 717-723.

Effect of Heat Treatment on Tin Whisher Growth

Yuki Fukuda, Tong Fang, Michael Pecht, and Michael Osterman
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742


This paper presents a study on the effectiveness of heat treatment as a key risk mitigation strategy for tin whisker growth. Test specimens, including matte and bright tin, plated over three different base metals, copper, brass, and alloy 42, were subjected to three heat treatments. Heat treatments included annealing and simulated solder reflow (only temperature exposure without solder involvement). Following the heat treatment, specimens were subjected to temperature cycling or temperature/humidity exposure for a fixed duration. Specimens were then kept in room ambient condition. Whisker growth was periodically monitored using an optical microscope and Environmental-Scanning Electron Microscopy (E-SEM). The result of this study shows that whisker formation risk may not necessarily be mitigated by the selected heat treatment strategies.

KEYWORDS: Pb-free, Tin whisker, Heat treatment

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