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Cubes In Space

Component 1
Tin whiskers are a huge problem. They are
crystalline of tin that are highly conductive that grow off of surfaces that
tin, especially electroplated tin, has been used as a finish. These tin
whiskers have been known to grow many millimeters and in rare cases
longer than ten millimeters. Tin whiskers are very dangerous because they
could cross over on circuit boards causing impending system failures.
When they touch each other the current of electricity will flow through the
wires activating incorrect sequences to occur. A solution to the problem of
tin whiskers to test is to plate the tin wires in nickel on the circuit board.
This procedure will help stop the formation of tin whiskers as it is less
malleable and also more firm. This protective casing should will help.
Instead of spending years with only earths gravity to cause tin whiskers,
the twenty gs in the payload rocket will speed up the process. The gs will
press down on the plating, and the pressure will force the tin whiskers to
grow faster. My hypothesis is if the tin whiskers are electroplated in a
nickel coat, then the tin whiskers formation will be reduced or completely
Component 4
This experiment will test the tin whisker growth on
nickel-coated wire. Parts of an Apollo Deep Ocean Mission circuit board
will be cut off and made to fit the cube. The circuit board is owned by the
school. The other piece of the circuit board must be exactly as the first
except the wires must be plated in nickel. The two circuit boards will be
layered into the small cube. They can be broken down, so they may fit into
the cube as long as the are cut to the exact same size. Those cubes will be
separated in the cube by a cardboard barrier should be inserted between
the circuit boards just enough to make sure the tin whiskers are not
exchanged or the nickel does not find its way on to the control NASA
circuit board.The sides top and bottom will be lined with carbon double
side tape so if any tin whiskers fall of then they can be found and
measured. As well as the space circuit boards, there will be circuit boards
on earth following the exact same controls as in space. They will be in a
cube, cut to size, with a cardboard barrier in between and double sided
carbon tape. The independent variable will be either the absence or the
presence of nickel plating, while the dependent factor will be the number
of tin whiskers remaining. As said before, the data to collect will be the
number of tin whiskers on each small circuit board. The full experiment
procedure is to layer the first NASA circuit board in. Then, the piece of
plastic followed by the final nickel plated circuit board. Then the cube
with circuit boards will be sent up in the sounding rocket where they will
experience 20 g's at the least hopefully. Once it arrives back through high
powered microscopes either humans or computers will count the may
count the tin whiskers. Most importantly, tin whiskers that are longer than
the usual size of under ten millimeters should have their lengths
documented. In analysis, if one of these circuit boards has more tin
whiskers the other circuit board the former should be more dangerous
unless the other circuit boards tin whiskers are longer and somewhat
numerous in which case that latter circuit board would be more dangerous.
Component 5
My anticipated results are that the nickel plated
circuit board will have much less tin whiskers then the original control
NASA cube. I expect this because the nickel plated wires will stand up
better to the pressure and 20 gs. I believe this will happen because the
nickel plating is less prone to whiskers therefore it should control the tin.
If this could be prevented then many satellites and probes could complete
their missions.
Component 6
This experiment could help many people including
private space corporations and NASA. Many satellites and probes from
the past from both government and private organizations have had probe
or satellite failures with the cause of tin whiskers. A way to effectively
remove the threat of tin whiskers is important and could help with many
missions in the future. The format of the data will be in two charts in
which two different types of information will be stored. The first chart will
have the four different cubes and the number of tin whiskers in each
square millimeter. The other chart will record how many tin whiskers are
over ten millimeters and how long the latter tin whiskers were. These
charts and fractions of the circuit boards will be given to Cubes in Space.
H. Leidecker, and J.S. Kadesch, "Effects of Uralane
Conformal Coating on Tin Whisker Growth", Proceedings of IMAPS
Nordic, The 37th IMAPS Nordic Annual Conference, pp. 108-116,
September, 10-13, 2000.
J. Brusse, G. Ewell, and J. Siplon, "Tin Whiskers:
Attributes and Mitigation", Capacitor and Resistor Technology
Symposium (CARTS), March 25-29, 2002, pp. 68-80.
Sampson, Michael, and Henning Leidecker, Dr.
"Basic Info Regarding Tin Whiskers." NASA. NASA, 16 June 2009. Web.
3 Mar. 2016.
"Spotlight: Solving the Tin Whiskers Dilemma" Spotlight: Solving the Tin Whiskers Dilemma.
HDIAC, 31 Aug. 2015. Web. 10 Mar. 2016.
Drawing/Diagram of Cube