Electroplated zinc finishes have been widely used in the packaging of electronic products for many years as a result of their excellent corrosion resistance and relatively low cost. However, the spontaneous formation of whiskers on zinc electroplated components, which are capable of resulting in electrical shorting or other damaging effects, can be highly problematic for the reliability of long-life electrical and electronic equipment. This work investigated the mechanism for whisker growth from zinc electrodeposited mild steel substrates. The incubation time for whisker growth from the surface of nodules on the surface of the electrodeposit was considerably reduced compared with that from the planar deposit surface. Recrystallisation of the as-deposited columnar structure was observed at the whisker root. This result is consistent with some recent whisker growth models based on recrystallisation. There was no evidence of iron-zinc (Fe-Zn) intermetallic formation at the iron/zinc (Fe/Zn) interface or within the zinc coating beneath the whiskers.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering
- Materials Chemistry