The automotive environment with its wide range of temperatures and corrosive liquids and gases provides a harsh environment for electronic systems. This situation is further compounded by the fact that these systems are composed of a wide variety of dissimilar materials. It should be no surprise, therefore, that corrosion can be a significant problem in electronic systems.
This paper will discuss corrosion problems related to the following: open circuits in connector contacts, leakage and shorts on printed circuit boards, metal migration problems, and corrosion problems in plastic encapsulated semiconductor devices.
In many of these corrosion situations, the initial mechanism involved in the corrosion process will often cause an electronic system to malfunction. It is, therefore, of utmost importance that these corrosion mechanisms be carefully evaluated during the development of electronic systems so that necessary steps can be taken to prevent their occurrence.