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Whisker

Last updated: April 18, 2017

What Does Whisker Mean?

A whisker is a thin strand of metal that grows out of the original shape of the metal. A whisker can form only on some metals and metal alloys. It is thought that whiskers are created by residual stresses in the metal; however, the exact mechanism that causes whisker formation is not well understood.

A whisker may also be known as a metal whisker.

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Corrosionpedia Explains Whisker

Several different types of metals can form whiskers, but not all types can form whiskers. Tin, zinc and silver are common metals that form whiskers.

Tin whiskers are commonly found in the electronics industry. The tin coatings and solders used in circuit boards can often form whiskers, which can cause short-circuiting to occur when the whiskers contact other parts of the circuit board that have a different electrical potential.

A whisker is not considered a dendrite. While the forces that cause the creation of a whisker are not well understood, it is known that the two mechanisms are quite different.

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