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Several surface-mount chip resistor assemblies failed during monthly thermal shock testing and in the field. The resistor exhibited a failure mode characterized by a rise in resistance out of tolerance for the system. Representative samples from each step in the manufacturing process were selected for analysis, along with additional samples representing the various resistor failures. Visual examination revealed two different types of termination failures: total delamination and partial delamination. Electron probe microanalysis confirmed that the fracture occurred at the end of the termination. Transverse sections from each of the groups were examined metallographically. Consistent interfacial separation was noted. Fourier transform infrared and EDS analyses were also performed. It was concluded that low wraparound termination strength of the resistors had caused unacceptable increases in the resistance values, resulting in circuit nonperformance at inappropriate times. The low termination strength was attributed to deficient chip design for the intended materials and manufacturing process and exacerbated by the presence of polymeric contamination at the termination interface.

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