Journal of Electronic Materials, Vol. 41, No. 9, DOI: 10.1007/s11664-012-2148-9, 2012

Failure Causes of a Polymer Resettable Circuit Protection Device

Shunfeng Chenga,d, Kwok Tomb and Michael Pechta,c

a CALCE Electronic Products and Systems, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA
bArmy Research Laboratory, 2800 Powder Mill Road, Adelphi, MD 20783, USA
c Prognostics and Health Management Center, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
d Intel, Hillsboro, OR 97124, USA


As a circuit protection device, failure or abnormal behavior of polymer positive- temperature-coefficient resettable devices can cause damage to circuits. Identification of failure modes and determination of failure causes are necessary to improve the reliability of resettable circuit protection devices and understand their limitations. In this study, a series of experiments was conducted to identify the failure modes of polymer positive-temperaturecoefficient resettable circuit protection devices. The causes of failures of a polymer positive-temperature-coefficient resettable circuit protection device were determined by failure analyses, including analysis of the increase in surface temperature using an infrared camera, interconnection analysis using cross-sectioning and environmental scanning electron microscopy, analysis of the microstructures of carbon-black-filled polymer composite, thermal property analysis of the polymer composite, and coefficient of thermal expansion analysis of different parts of the resettable circuit protection device.

Keywords : Resettable circuit protection devices, polymer positivetemperature- coefficient effect, failure mode, failure cause analysis, reliability

Complete article is available from the publisher and the to CALCE consortium members.

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