Episode 6
Zinc whiskers and the risk to data centres

The topic of zinc whiskers has been discussed within the mechanical and electrical sector for quite a long time. Almost all products that support M&E services have zinc present in their surface layer to protect the base material from erosion. Zinc whiskers typically grow out of stress from the manufacturing process, cutting/bending cable management on-site. 

Traditionally those that specify cable management systems (ladder, basket, tray) for data centre environments outline the risks of zinc whiskers and how they can be mitigated. If zinc whiskers break free from the base material they can easily get into hardware through the air conditioning and cause data centre downtime. 

In our latest podcast, Steve Grknic sits down with Tim Brown from Zip-Clip to discuss the impact zinc whiskers have on M&E supports within a data centre. Tim provides answers to the following questions:

  1. What are zinc whiskers?
  2. When were zinc whiskers discovered?
  3. How do zinc whiskers grow?
  4. How do they cause damage within a data centre environment?
  5. What are the best ways to reduce the risk of zinc whiskers?

There are currently over 6,041 data centres running across the world (Statista, 2021). This number will continue to grow with our insatiable demand for data. Tim has researched zinc whiskers for over twenty years and still, to this day, are often regarded as a myth. In this blog, we take you through the main findings from our podcast.

Back to top