Three satellites have gone dead because of whiskers. Last spring, a whisker shut down a Connecticut nuclear power plant. The culprits aren't errant facial hairs: They're metal filaments that spontaneously sprout from electroplated metal films in electronic devices, where they can short out circuits. By tracking properties of such films for up to a year, researchers have now learned more about the films' internal stresses, which are suspected of causing whisker growth.
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