Corrosion of Gold Bridgewire in Electronic Components
Accelerated aging tests on detonator assemblies, to verify the compatibility of gold bridgewire and Pd-In-Sn solder with the intended explosives, revealed an unusual form of corrosion. The tests, conducted at 74 deg C (165 deg F) and 54 deg C (130 deg F), indicated a preferential attack of the gold. To investigate the problem, a matrix of test units was produced and analyzed. Scanning electron microscopy, EDX analysis, and x-ray diffraction techniques were used to determine the extent of the corrosion and identify the corrosion products. The results indicated that the preferential attack of the gold was due to HCN formed by decomposition of the explosive powder at high temperatures. Other associated reactions were also observed including the subsequent attack of the solder by the gold corrosion product and degradation of the plastic header.