Tin Whiskers Webinar 2015

In September of 2015, David Love (HDP User Group) had a conversation with Dr. Polina Snugovsky (Celestica). Polina had just wrapped up her work on the “Manhattan Project” - an Air Force sponsored long term study of the use of lead-free electronics in Aerospace and Military avionics.  In this study they uncovered new tin whisker failure modes related to SAC alloy solder joints. Although aware of the problems with certain flux types, he was quite startled at some of the other things reported.


In this discussion, David and Polina decided to make the industry aware of these issues. The result was a Webinar, sponsored by the HDP User Group with the assistance of EIPC, IPC, SMTA, and SEMI, which was held on October 29, 2015. Over 190 people attended. The top people in tin whiskers research were on the panel. Topics covered were whisker growth mechanisms, real-life failure histories, and whisker mitigation strategies.


HDP User Group is making this webinar freely available for you to download and watch. The original slides shown by the panelists are provided as free downloads as well. Please pass this along to your colleagues. It is important that the entire industry is aware of these findings.





·         Brief introduction and welcome - D. Love (HDP User Group)


·         Mechanisms for Nucleation and Growth of Tin Whiskers: Implications forFinding Practical Solutions: Carol Handwerker (Purdue University), Eric Chason (Brown University)


·         Issues and Corrective actions for those using SAC solder and tin surface finishes: Polina Snugovsky (Celestica)


·         Real-life examples and mitigations, Mil-Aero perspective: Michael Osterman (CALCE)


·         Wrap-up: Carol Handwerker


·         Q&A Session moderated by Dave Love


Watch the recording of the entire Webinar: FileHDP User Group Latest Findings in Tin Whiskers Webinar 10-29-15.mp4


David Love (HDP User Group) - Organizer/Moderator

A 40 year veteran of the semiconductor and electronics assembly world, Dave has over a dozen patents and more than 30 peer-reviewed journal and conference papers. He's now retired, doing some consulting in semiconductor packaging, bio-tech, green materials, and SMT. Dave is a project facilitator for the HDP User Group. He is also a beachcomber and a very poor body surfer.










Carol A. Handwerker, Ph.D. Schuhmann Professor of Materials Engineering, Purdue University

Carol's Presentation

PDF iconHandwerker HDP 2015.pdf


Prof. Handwerker has been working closely with consumer electronics, automotive, defense and aerospace industries in the transition to Pb-free materials and processes since 1994 first at NIST, and now at Purdue.  Co-led the Pb-free Alloy Selection team in the iNEMI Pb-free Electronics project 1999-2002, member of the iNEMI Tin Whisker Fundamentals project, co-chair of the iNEMI Metals Recycling Project. Her research focuses on thermodynamics and phase transformation kinetics in multi-component solder systems, the interactions between stress, composition, and interface motion, including tin whiskers,and the stability of thin films.  She is co-editor with Jasbir Bath and Takahiko Kato of a new book on Tin Whiskers published by IEEE-Wiley, with important contributions provided by the panelists speaking here today.

She serves on iNEMI Environmental Leadership Steering Committee with a focus on meaningful improvements in the global economic, environmental, and societal sustainability of In addition, Carol serves as PI and Director of Purdue-Tuskegee NSF IGERT in Sustainable Electronics (2012-2015) with diverse student teams, substantial K-12 outreach, and interaction with global electronics industry, government, academia, and NGOs.







Eric Chason, Ph.D. professor in the School of Engineering at Brown University

Eric's Presentation

PDF iconChason HDP 2015.pdf



Eric Chason received his Ph.D. degree in physics in 1985 from Harvard University.  After one year of post-doctoral research at Gakushuin University in Japan, he joined Sandia National Laboratories in 1987 and became a senior member of the technical staff.  He became a member of the Brown faculty in 1998. 


Chason’s research focuses on the evolution of surfaces and thin films during materials processing.  This work has led to the development of several in situ thin film diagnostics that enable the monitoring of thin film stress, surface morphology, microstructure and interfacial reactions during film growth and ion bombardment. This includes the development of a multi-beam optical technique for monitoring stress evolution in situ during processing.   In recent years, his research projects have included residual stress in polycrystalline films, whisker formation in Sn films, stress and phase evolution in Li-ion batteries and ion-induced surface nano-patterning







Polina Snugovsky, Ph.D., Sc.D. Principal Engineer and Chief Metallurgist at Celestica

Polina's Presentation

PDF iconSnugovsky HDP 2015.pdf


Polina was an invited subject matter expert participant in the 2009 lead-free Manhattan Project tasked with the risk assessment of lead-free electronics in Aerospace and Department of Defense (DoD) applications. Polina actively participates in the lead-free electronics in aerospace project group American Institute of Aeronautics (AIA PERM). She is currently the principle investigator of two U.S. DoD Strategic Environmental Research and Development Projects (SERDP) that are examining corrosion induced whisker growth and manufacturing mitigation. She is the leader of three Refined Manufacturing Acceleration Process (REMAP) projects that are developing and implementing new high reliability lower meting Pb-free solder alloys. Snugovsky graduated from the State Metallurgical Academy of Ukraine and received her Ph.D. in Metallurgy, and subsequently in 1985 she earned a more senior level doctorate degree in Metallurgy and Material Science. Prior to joining Celestica in 1996, Dr. Snugovsky was a full professor in the department of physical metallurgy of the State Metallurgical Academy of Ukraine. She has published over 160 papers and patented new materials and processes. Dr. Snugovsky holds several Outstanding Technical Achievement Awards, including two from Celestica and has won several Best International Conference Paper awards including, SMTA2006, APEX2007, APEX2009, APEX2010, APEX2013 and APEX2014, SMTA 2014. In 2012 she received the SMTA Member of Technical Distinction Award.

Dr. Michael Osterman, Ph.D.
Senior Research Scientist and the director of the CALCE Electronic Products and System Consortium at the University of Maryland
Link to Michael's Presentation

Dr. Michael Osterman (Ph.D., University of Maryland, 1991) heads the development of simulation assisted reliability assessment software for CALCE and simulation approaches for estimating time to failure of electronic hardware under test and field conditions. Dr. Osterman served as a subject matter expert on phase I and II of the Lead-free Manhattan Project sponsored by Office of Naval Research in conjunction with the Joint Defense Manufacturing Technical Panel (JDMTP). He has consulted with automotive, medical, defense, and industrial electronic companies on the transition to lead-free materials. He organized and chaired the International Symposium on Tin Whiskers from 2007 to 2015. He has written eight book chapters and over 120 articles. He is a senior member of IEEE and a member of AS