Tin whiskers (also called Sn whiskers or metal whiskers) are microscopic, conductive, hair-like crystals that emanate spontaneously from pure tin (especially electroplated tin) surfaces. Whiskers form primarily on elemental metals, but have also been found on alloys. Crystals can form in any environment. The actual mechanism for their formation is not well understood.
Tin-lead (SnPb) finishes prevent tin whiskers. Maxim offers a SnPb solution for customers requiring a non-RoHS finish. It is available for virtually all lead-free products.
Tin whiskers are not dendrites. Dendrites are fern-like and grow on the surface of the metal in an environment with moisture present. Tin whiskers tend to grow orthogonally from the surface.
- Sn whiskers
- metal whiskers
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