Moisture material fault mechanisms power electronics

Moisture and Material-Induced Failure Mechanisms in Power Electronics

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[Dr. Helmut Schweigart; Dr. Markus Meier]

The whitepaper discusses the impact of moisture on the reliability of power modules in renewable energy systems and electric vehicles. It explores how moisture can alter the typical failure mechanism from electrochemical migration (ECM) to anodic-cathodic migration (AMP) and provides specific case examples.

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Article number: EN-2309-06

Electrochemical Migration

Moisture and Material-Induced Failure Mechanisms in Power Electronics

Corrosion on electronic and power electronic devices is one of the major effects, which nega- tively affect the reliability of the respective device. The ZESTRON experience from over many years of failure analysis and risk assessment in this area clearly reveal that in power electrics especially the anodic migration phenomenon (AMP) is the corrosion mechanism most often found under high voltage condi- tions in combination with high humidity load.

This study shows that the AMP is a deviation from the “basic mechanism” electrochemical migration, which is commonly known from low voltage applica- tions. When occurring in power electronic devices, this failure mechanism changes from a cathodic-anodic migration pheno- menon to an anodic-cathodic one especially in and under polymer materials used e.g. for isolation purposes. Based on actual failure cases, it will be explained in detail why this change in growing direction of the optically visible dendritic structures happens.

Surface cleanliness Zestron Schweigart | © @The Sour Cherry Fotografie - Michaela Curtis

Dr. Helmut Schweigart

Head of Reliability & Surfaces, ZESTRON Europe

Dr. Helmut Schweigart obtained his doctorate for research into the reliability of electronic sub-assemblies, and he has been employed at ZESTRON Europe since the early days of the company. He is now Head of Reliability & Surfaces Team. He is also a member of the Board of Management at GfKORR (Gesellschaft für Korrosionsschutz - a company specialising in corrosion inhibitors) as well as an active member of GUS (Gesellschaft für Umweltsimulation - an environmental simulation company) and of the IPC. He has already published numerous technical articles.

Surface cleanliness Zestron Meier | © @The Sour Cherry Fotografie - Michaela Curtis

Dr. Markus Meier

Group Leader Reliability & Surfaces, ZESTRON Europe

After his study of chemistry at the Technical University Munich, Markus Meier worked among others on the ageing of cement and earned a PhD on the topic crystallization of cement-hydrate-phases under microgravity conditions. He is experienced in the areas interfacial chemistry and surface analytics. He is part of the Reliability & Surfaces Team in which he is responsible for the coordination of research projects as well as the organization of technology coachings.