Reliability of electronic components

A point of concern for engineers when developing a new product is the failure rate figure of components. In most datasheets, such information is not always available. Thus, the designers turn to specialists to estimate the value and get a review of the MTBF before launching the new product.

 

It is appropriate to distinguish two failure conditions into components:

  1. Defective components are faulty from the moment they are born.

  2. Failed components are manufactured according to their rules, but they deteriorate itself over time or by exposure to high stress.

 

Three factors may cause failures:

(1) Hidden internal factors that settled in the piece from the beginning;

(2) External stress caused by the environment, such as temperature and humidity;

(3) Physical degradation over time.

 

Periods of failures

To explain the states of failure of a component, we use a graph named the bathtub curve, which shows three correlation periods of failures over time. They are infant mortality, accidental failure, and wear-out period.

 

Infant mortality: failures occur abruptly after the product start-up and gradually weaken over time. The principal cause is hidden internal defects.


Accidental failure: during this period, failures occur by accident at a constant rate and are not time-related, for example, lightning or electromagnetic forces.

 

Wear-out: at this point, the failure rate increases gradually over time. It is due to the wear of the product when it enters the end of life.

Overview of reliability tests for electronic components

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