Conductive Anodic Filament (CAF) Failure

Conductive Anodic Filament (CAF) formation is a well-studied phenomenon that is driven by chemical, humidity, voltage, and mechanical means. It is characterized by a sudden loss of insulation resistance that happens internally in the PCB. CAF dendrites can form between adjacent plated through holes (PTH), or between a plated through hole and a line on the PCB. Plating chemistry, material consistency, damage from multiple soldering steps, and excessive voltages (beyond designed voltages) accelerate the onset of CAF. The mechanism of CAF is an electro-chemical transport of ions across an electrical potential between anode and cathode.

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