NASA had Tin Whiskers Before There was Tin Whiskers

Thanks to NASA, part of Tin Whiskers has been to space.

On January 2, 2014, Jeff received an email from a Mr. Jay Brusse, Senior Components Engineer with NASA,

one of the world’s leading experts on the tin whiskers phenomenon. His email started with, “Greetings from

NASA's "tin whisker" website ( dude!” As one of the experts maintaining

NASA’s tin and metal whisker site, Mr. Brusse ran across our Tin Whiskers page and was thrilled to find other

engineers who were fascinated with whiskers (and beer!).


While corresponding, Mr. Brusse shared that he wanted to stop by and check out the beer version of a tin

whisker. Not only did he stop by for some beer, but he gifted us with a printed circuit board card guide which

had been installed aboard the space shuttle Endeavor, flying 19 missions into space between 1992 and

2005. This piece of endeavor displays all kinds of real­life­tin­whiskers!


The Tin Whiskers taproom now proudly displays a piece of the space shuttle Endeavor.

A letter accompanied the display from NASA, reading:

This card guide is made of a beryllium copper alloy that is Tin­Plated. Just like many millions of other tin-

plated objects here on Earth and beyond, over time periods typically taking months to years, the tin­-plated

surface of this card guide developed a forest of many thousands of elongated metallic filaments known as

Tin Whiskers. Many of the tin whiskers on this specimen have grown in excess of several millimeters long,

while some are even longer than 1 centimeter.


The LED illumination and angle of lighting chosen for this display help to make many of the tin whiskers on

this card guide visible to the naked eye. However, most of the tin whiskers are not visible, in part, due to their

extremely narrow thickness which is typically 1/10th to 1/100th the diameter of a human hair.


For more than 70 years metal whiskers from tin, zinc, and cadmium coatings have been known to cause

electrical shorting failures in all kinds of electronic systems including, but not limited to, automobiles,

consumer electronics, medical devices, computer data centers, power plants, military weapons, and

aerospace systems.


Let this shadowbox be a salute to each of you three electrical engineers who now endeavor to pursue your

passions as brewers of fantastic beers at Tin Whiskers Brewing Company.


So next time you join us at Tin Whiskers, be sure to take a look at the real tin whiskers from Nasa.