Professional Development Course

Conference registration now includes this course!

Advanced Materials for Reliability in Harsh Environments

Tuesday, 18 May, 2021 | Starting at 9:00

Stewart McCracken, MCS Ltd. and Mike Bixenman, KYZEN Corp. / Magnalytix LLC.



Microstructure analysis is a powerful forensic tool. Allows the investigator to understand the “how and why” of material behavior. This course will teach new methods along with traditional methods to improve understanding, discover solutions for harsh environments, shorten the development cycle, improve modelling, improve yield, and improve reliability.

Metals can creep rapidly when exposed to harsh environments. The behavior and performance of an alloy is a function of its microstructure. Material composition and process conditions are key influencers since microstructure changes in response to environmental stresses, moisture, heat, and vibration. The microstructure makes up both electrical and physical connections. Changes can limit the devices useful life.

In addition to the microstructure, there are many factors contributing to electrochemical failures on electronic devices including pitch, electrical field, ionic contamination and environmental conditions. Each of these factors is dependent on the installation location, with exposure to varying temperatures and humidity.

The interactions of all these factors are quite complex, and being able to design for reliability is challenging. The test methodology used for this workshop will subject the test vehicles to humid heat and cyclic temperatures with frost conditions. The harsh environment simulates the thermal load including frost cycling to induce low dewing point conditions through cyclic temperature changes at high humidity. Humid environments challenge no-clean electronics and the basis for detecting electrochemical robustness at various points during the design validation testing.

Following environmental stress conditions, the test vehicles will undergo microstructural and micro-compositional analysis. Surface analysis (light microscopy, electron microscopy and infra-red spectroscopy) will be coupled with micro-sectioning (conventional and inert gas plasma processes) to reveal the relationship between composition, migration mechanisms of materials and potential leakage current pathways. The attendees will gain a better understanding of material discovery, predictive analysis, and improved reliability.