Li N. M.a, Diganta Dasa and Michael G. Pecht a
a CALCE, Center for Advanced Life Cycle Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742, USA
Shelf lives are not well understood in the electronics industry. Despite the
existence of recommended shelf lives for some units from standards or manufacturer's
documents, many electronic parts are stored well beyond their recommended shelf lives
for different reasons. In many cases, 'expired' parts are found to work fine after many
years of extended storage, which gives extra motivation for parties along the supply
chain, typically part user companies, to extend storage of their parts and to evaluate the
'actual shelf lives' of their components. The combination of motivations to extend shelf
life, inadequacies in recommended shelf lives, and the lack of knowledge and guidelines
to shelf life determination often results in arbitrary storage periods and conditions of
electronic components in the industry.
In this article, common pitfalls of recommended shelf lives are identified. Then, a physics of failure (PoF) approach to evaluate shelf lives overcoming such pitfalls is proposed. The philosophy we introduce in this approach applies to most storage-induced effects for electronic parts and the approach is described with an electrolytic capacitor in this article.This article is available online here and to CALCE Consortium Members for personal review.