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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Rockwell Collins to Lead Tin Whiskers Research Team

The Department of Defense’s (DOD) strategic environmental research and development program has selected Rockwell Collins to lead their Tin Whiskers Inorganic Coatings Evaluation (TWICE) research team.

Rockwell Collins announced the contract Tuesday, and will lead a research team that includes Plasma Ruggedized Solutions and the University of Maryland Center for Advanced Life Cycle Engineering.

Tin whiskers are “microscopic metal fibers that are thinner than a human hair capable of bridging great distances that can create short-circuits leading to equipment failures,” Rockwell Collins said.

The research team is looking to mitigate the impact of tin whiskers on high-performance defense and aerospace electronic systems. According to the Iowa-based avionics supplier, the industry transition to lead-free electronics has lead to an increase in tin whiskers formed from the pure tin surfaces commonly used on lead-free systems.

The Pentagon is hoping that this research project leads to a better understanding of how tin whiskers can be controlled with conformal coatings.

“This selection is recognition of our company’s continued leadership in research and development of materials and processes that are needed for lead-free electronics usage in high-reliability, high-performance aerospace and defense systems,” said John Borghese, vice president of the Rockwell Collins Advance Technology Center.

Rockwell Collins did not say when DOD expects to launch the TWICE research project.

(Credit: Rockwell Collins)

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