This phenomenon known as Zinc Whiskers, has a historic impact in modern computer data centers .
How Do They Form ?
Zinc whiskers grow from the electroplated surface without any external stimuli. Whiskers have been observed to grow in vacuum This is known as “spontaneous” growth that differs from whisker growth known as “compression” whiskers that are formed by applying an external compressive stress to the electroplated film . Spontaneous whiskers have been observed on electroplating of tin, zinc and cadmium and all appear similar . Electroplated zinc, when viewed under an electron microscope, resembles fibers in a basket weave or lattice pattern. This pattern is created by the configuration of zinc atoms that are in lines or rows across the film surface. The zinc atom structure begins to separate from the steel and pushes the zinc coating away from the steel surface. The whisker growth occurs from the base and not the tip. The result of this separation is tiny zinc columns that are pushed or grow away from the surface. The growth of the whisker does not leave a depression or thinning of the zinc film, which indicates the atom transport, occurs over a long distance . This breakdown process is known as “atom
Where Zinc Whiskers Are Found?
Any zinc-electroplated surface may experience this anomaly but the products of most concernare certain types of floor tiles used in a computer room raised floor application. The floor tilesthat can be suspect are wood or wood composite cores with a flat sheet steel bottom or underside.The steel surface, if passivated using electroplated zinc can be a major source of contamination.To our knowledge, no zinc electroplated floor tiles have been manufactured for several years.
Is there any Remidiation For Zinc Whiskers?
Data Clean Asia specializes in identification, containment and cleanup of this kind of contamination. This process, although not inexpensive, is effective and can safely remove this and other contaminates. We understand the sensitive nature of business-critical systems and can complete the cleanup with little or no disruption to data processing schedules.
We Provide Zinc Whiskers testing for your computer rooms and your Data centers .