I just returned from SMTA/INEMI’s Medical Conference in Milpitas (near San Jose/San Fransisco), where I spoke on tin whiskers. I then quickly traveled to Costa Mesa (400 miles south, near Los Angeles), to IPC’s Tin Whiskers/Reliability Conference, where I spoke on Weibull Analysis. Both shows where attended by 80-plus people.
Most noteworthy, at the IPC Tin Whiskers Meeting, was Raytheon’s Dave Pinsky’s presentation, titled: “Tin Whiskers at a Large Defense OEM: Past. Present, Future.” In addition to discussing claims that some vendors have of producing whiskerless tin coatings and other topics, most helpful was his mention of a report by the Government Electronics and Information Technology Association (GEIA) on Tin Whisker Risk Mitigation. This standard, GEiA-STD-0005-2 discusses mitigation details thoroughly. Not only has the knowledge of tin whiskers increased, there appears to be more confidence in coatings for mitigation. However, in mission-critical applications, a well thought out, multiple mitigation approach to tin whiskers is still needed. The image below, taken by NASA, shows a tin whisker next to a human hair. Tin whiskers are very thin indeed!