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Everything you need to know about zinc whiskers


Do you know about zinc whiskers? If you go by the name, you may feel that zinc whiskers are harmless, but that is not so. These tiny particles may create havoc in the data center or server room. They make their way into the micro components of the system by creating server breakdowns. Moreover, these are responsible for short circuits and uncontrolled system reset. Do you know what the tricky aspect of these whiskers is? They do not leave any evidence, and thus identifying these is not easy. People experiencing server malfunctioning may go for disassembling the equipment to understand the underlying cause but rarely discover the real problem. It is because zinc whiskers vaporize by the short circuit they create. The phenomenon leaves the IT technicians wondering what may be the reason behind the problem.


  • Where do zinc whiskers emerge?

Since these whiskers develop on the metal object surface, you may think that these whiskers relate to rust or other categories of oxidation. However, it is not so. They have no relation to corrosion. They grow on a steel surface that is galvanized with Zinc and thus prevents rust. Although it is a way to avoid corruption, It is within compressive stress and comes with a tendency to relieve stress by spreading outward. In doing this, it forms the whiskers. Since zinc whiskers do not relate to rust, it also does not have any relation with oxygen and moisture. Irrespective of the environmental conditions, zinc whiskers emerged. You will see zinc whiskers cropping up if you keep the galvanized steel in a dry, calm, controlled, damp, or moist environment sooner or later.


  • Where does the problem start?

Zinc whiskers do not create any problem unless they break and start circulating in the air, and that is why managing electroplate fixtures may be risky. Even with a light touch, zinc whiskers expand from the growing surface and circulate inside the air conditioning system or sensitive computer equipment. Even if the electronics have dust filters, these whiskers slip through high-quality filters and catch them. Once they enter the computer equipment, these electrically conductive whiskers settle in the circuit cards and cause a short circuit. Frustratingly, these short circuits may be intermittent and ongoing; thus, diagnosing the reason for equipment malfunction may range from impossible to challenge. Other elements commonly affected by these whiskers are power supplies and drives. You may refer to the Alterum Technologies data center blog to learn about zinc whiskers.


  • How can you prevent zinc whiskers?

The best means of preventing zinc whiskers from affecting the system is by eliminating or reducing the quantity of whisker-producing galvanized steel in the server room. For this, you need the help of professionals who are well versed in adequately using zinc whiskers and how they affect the entire system. These individuals with experience in this field can use their strategies to protect your system and provide you with the best results.


But, when you do not allow the formation of zinc whiskers, you take a positive step towards securing your system. Although you may feel that a hot-dipped galvanized tool may protect the system, what you must know is that it comes with a steel coating. It creates Zinc under less pressure than the one produced through the electroplating procedure. Since Zinc deposited on the surface through the hot dipping procedure is not under compressive stress, it does not allow zinc filaments to move outside through weak spots.


Powder coat finish prevents corrosion and thus extends the life span of your system. If you want to create a zinc-free tool, you must be aware of the different professionals who are working in this field. The experts who know how to handle zinc whiskers know how to control their spread through various means. Remember that data management is significant for every enterprise. Since zinc whiskers affect the data center, every entrepreneur must create skilled teams to monitor the maintenance and risk in data management. From layout design to temperature monitoring, multiple factors contribute to the failure. Disruption may result in lost data and time. Hence, if you are serious and want to reduce the likelihood of data failure, you must take the help of professionals who know how to manage and secure data.


  • Zinc whiskers and data center

You’re mistaken if you feel that the tiny filaments may not cause problems to the data center. The data center is secure from zinc whiskers because they are challenging to diagnose. So, to understand the underlying cause of structural failure, you must look at zinc whiskers. They start to cause issues once they break off from zinc coating, which happens anytime. They initiate as microscopic crystals and extend to arrange them over time and thereby can be a cause of trouble. Outside forces are vital in zinc whisker expansion like air pressure, temperature, etc.

It is thereby essential to work with professional teams who understand the cycle and regulate the process of managing and reducing zinc whiskers.

Get rid of zinc whiskers to continue IT operations uninterrupted!




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