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What makes things age?

  1. Apr 16, 2017 #1
    Recently I was thinking about designing products in a modular fashion and I began wondering what is it that makes products age? For example, many people don't bother repairing an old laptop because they know that its more likely to experience more technical issues simply because of it's age.

    Many people say its the wear and tear of the components of the products, but what does that mean? What exactly is wearing and tearing specifically in an IC circuit in a phone or circuitry in a blender and how and why is it wearing and tearing?

    If I were to recycle the raw materials in IC once it becomes dysfunctional and fashion the component anew, the life expectancy would that as any other brand new IC. Yet repairing an old IC would not provide the same life expectancy.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 16, 2017 #2


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    Thermal cycling (thermal fatigue) of microcircuits can damage conductors and insulators, as well as thermal migration of dopants in semiconductors, and that will affect performance. Circuit boards can have problems with 'whiskers', in which the solder grows from a joint.


    Also, oxidation of metals in circuits will gradually change the performance.

    Electrical transients can also damage circuitry.

    Rotating memory/storage devices, e.g., hard drives can mechanically wear out, or the magnetic heads can contact (gouge) the storage surface. Too much vibration can damage hard-drives.
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