PCB | February 22, 2005
HP says RoHS making whiskers problem worse
Major players in the electronics industry, such as HP, are appealing for RoHS Pb ban exemptions. The main problems are the increasing risk of whiskers in the electroplating process.
Tin whiskers are crystals of tin that grow from the Sn electroplating coating process. The whiskers are shaped like needles and causes big problems with short circuits in PCB assembly. Today the using of the Sn-Pb electroplating process is free from whiskers. The mainstream alternative today is the tin process. HP said to electronicsweekly.com that the reducing of lead in the process causes whiskers. "If the coating has 15 per cent of lead, it will stop tin whiskering," said the HP spokesman to electronicsweekly.com.