On July 3rd, the second day of the 2014 SSEP Conference, we made a trip down to the Center for Advanced Life Cycle Engineering (CALCE) at the University of Maryland, College Park to meet with tin whisker royalty Dr. Michael Osterman, who conducts testing and simulation based failure assessment and has authored over fifteen articles about tin whiskers. (He was also the faculty advisor for Lyudmyla Panashchenko, an engineer at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center who has been advising the Tin Whiskies since Mission 4 and is equally a queen.)
We skipped the morning of the second day of the conference to caravan down to College Park. It took quite a bit of persistence on Mrs. Voigt’s part to get this audience with Osterman-- she must have called half a dozen times before she was able to communicate with him.
Once we arrived, Dr. Osterman sat down with us and went over our experiment design, which was very exciting. He’s the Lord of Tin Whiskers, and even hosts an International Tin Whisker Symposium every few years.
He was also gracious enough to show us around his lab– you wouldn’t believe all the neat toys they have– and offered to let us use his Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) for our data analysis. We had intended to use a SEM from NOAA, but using that particular type would require coating our samples in gold, rendering them useless in the long-run. We would like to analyze our samples for years to come, so using the SEM at UMD is preferable.