Defect Description

Accumulation of dust at contacting surfaces that can lead to 1) reduction or separation of contact surfaces, 2) abrasion of contact surfaces, 3) unstable contact resistance for pressure contacts, or 4) formation of ionic crystal due to that can lead to electrochemical corrosion by attracting moisture [1-2].

Defect Formation Process(s)

Defect formation processes can include the following:

1. Wipe is not exercised on the contact surfaces
2. Cards or components are plugged into unprotected slots or sockets that have accumulated dust over time. 
3. Connector housing does not keep dust from entering the contact area

List of Tests to Precipitate this Defect

Failure Acceleration

Likelihood to Precipitate this Defect (condition)

Failure Mechanism(s)

Temperature, Humdity, Bias

• Humidity increases moisture absorption in hygroscopic dusts and promote corrosion especially when water soluble salt is present at the dust[2-3].

(Presence of hygroscopic dust or water soluble salt)


Hot Step Stress

• High temperature can incresase corrosion rate for contact materials such as Copper [4].

(Presence of electrolyte and for certain materials)


Thermal Shock

• Same as hot step stress.

Random Vibration (RS/ED)

• Random Vibration can increase micromovement of dust particules and contacts which accumulates contaminants and increases contact resistance of the connector [2].

(Dust particles should be hard enough to cause wearing of contact surface)

Abrasion of Contact Surface

Combined Environment

• Same as Thermal Shock and Random Vibration



[1] Viswanadham P., Singh P., Failure Modes and Mechanisms in Electronic Packages. New York: Chapman & Hall, 1998.

[2] Zhang J. G., “ Effect of Dust Contamination on Electrical Contact Failure”, Proceedings of the 53rd IEEE Holm Conference on Electrical Contacts, 2007.

[3] Schweitizer P. E., Encyclopedia of Corrosion Technology. New York: Marcel Dekker, 2004.

[4] Song J., Wang L., Zibart A., Koch C., “Corrosion Protection of Electrically Conductive Surfaces”, International Journal of Electrochemical Science, vol. 7, pp. 7902-7914, 2012.