Tin Whiskers in Pure Tin Surface

Tin whiskers are commonly found in metallic contact surfaces, especially those made of pure tin. Most are spontaneous columnar or cylindrical filaments emanating from the pure tin surface and can pose serious problems for all types of electronics products. Tin whiskers can increase signal interference and come with a risk of system failures.

Although tin whiskers grow at random, you can still reduce the chances of your project developing them. here are some suggestions for reducing the risk of tin whiskers.

  1. Do not use pure tin if possible
    Not choosing pure tin products is a simple solution. For example, gold plating over a palladium nickel underplate has been proven to minimize whisker growth.
  2. Conformal coating
    A coating with an inert material can protect electronic circuit boards from any related tin whisker growth.
  3. External stress reduction
    Any external stress reduction can be minimized by consideration of your component design.
  4. Storage condition
    Parts should be stored in dry, regulated temperatures as per the manufacturer’s storage recommendations on their datasheet .
  5. Solder processing
    Solder processing should avoid sudden and rapid changes of temperature where possible. This reduces the risk of compressive stress forming within the metal, due to a mismatch of the Coefficient of Thermal Expansion (CTE) of the base alloy and the plating materials.