Quantifying the Effect of Stress on Sn Whisker Nucleation Kinetics
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Although Sn whiskers have been studied extensively, there is still a need to understand the driving forces behind whisker nucleation and growth. Many studies point to the role of stress, but confirming this requires a quantitative comparison between controlled stress and the resulting whisker evolution. Recent experimental studies applied stress to a Sn layer via thermal cycling and simultaneously monitored the evolution of the temperature, stress and number of nuclei. In this work, we analyze these nucleation kinetics in terms of classical nucleation theory to relate the observed behavior to underlying mechanisms including a stress dependent activation energy and a temperature and stress-dependent whisker growth rate. Non-linear least squares fitting of the data taken at different temperatures and strain rates to the model shows that the results can be understood in terms of stress decreasing the barrier for whisker nucleation.
KeywordsTin whiskering thermal cycling nucleation stress relaxation kinetics
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