Zinc whiskers (Tin whiskers) are minute filaments, which occur on galvanised (electroplated) metal surfaces and pose serious threat to server room equipment, and will inevitably cause permanent damage to hardware if left untreated. Zinc whiskers often form on the underside of raised zinc electroplated tiles, used in the flooring of computer and server room environments.
Zinc whisker contamination is a common problem that has plagued computer and server room environments since their inception. One of the reasons for this is due to the internal stresses induced when walking on the tiles; causing the whiskers below to become dislodged and airborne within the floor plenum. After becoming dislodged, the zinc whiskers can disseminate into the server room environment through crevices in between the floor tiles.
Once the zinc whiskers have dispersed into the server room, they can infiltrate through vents, fans, filters and settle inside the equipment. Upon contact with sensitive data communications hardware, zinc whiskers can cause severe circuitry damage which can lead to permanent short circuits and system failure.
It’s imperative for businesses with server and computer rooms, to enlist a routine professional zinc whiskers remediation service, as to prevent zinc whiskers breakouts and to maintain optimal operation of data communications hardware.
There are several contributing factors, which make zinc whiskers remediation more important than ever before. Below is a list of reasons why it’s imperative that any business with server rooms, should appoint a professional zinc whiskers remediation.
- Perpetual miniaturisation of electronic parts due to technological progression, has led to more compressed circuitry and less space between conductors. Therefore even the smallest of filaments are now capable of causing short circuit faults.
- Descent in the required voltages to run newer systems is lower than before, consequently making hardware more energy efficient. The drawback to this technological advancement is that it allows even the smallest of filaments to be able to cause permanent shorts.
- Longevity of existing floor structures is an important factor when determining the risk of zinc whiskers; many facilities have floor tiles that are over ten years old. Many whiskers grow long enough to be able to bridge across between exposed conductors.
- Frequent maintenance and upkeep of the raised flooring in server rooms, can dislodge zinc whiskers and enable them to cause infestation. Due to the ever-evolving world of technology, there is a definite requirement to be able to access the floor facilities in order to upgrade new hardware, reconfigure and reposition equipment.