Circuit World, Vol. 33, No.3, pp. 21-28, 2007

Prognostics of Ceramic Capacitor Temperature-Humidity-Bias Reliability Using Mahalanobis Distance Analysis

L. Nie, M. Azarian, and M. Pechtt
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742

M. Keimasi
Dell Inc.


Purpose - This paper seeks to present a prognostics approach using the Mahalanobis distance (MD) method to predict the reliability of multilayer ceramic capacitors (MLCCs) in temperature-humidity-bias (THB) conditions.
Design/methodology/approach - Data collected during THB testing of 96 MLCCs were analyzed using the MD method. In the THB tests, three parameters (capacitance (C), dissipation factor (DF), and insulation resistance (IR)) were monitored in situ. A Mahalanobis space (MS) was formed from the MD values of a set of non-failed MLCCs. MD values for the remaining MLCCs were compared with an MD threshold. Data for MLCCs which exceeded the threshold were examined using the failure criteria for the individual electrical parameters to identify failures and precursors to failure.
Findings - It was found that the MD method provided an ability to detect failures of the capacitors and identify precursors to failure, although the detection rate was not perfect.
Originality/value - MD analysis of the multivariate MLCC data set illustrates how detection of failures can be simplified in a system for which several parameters were monitored simultaneously. This makes the MD method of great potential value in a health-monitoring system..

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