On the surface, significant benefits to customer and manufacturer can be accrued if Environmental Stress Screening (ESS) and Reliability Growth Testing (RGT) can be combined entirely or, more realistically, in part. This article examines the purposes, fundamental program elements, methodologies, and ground rules of both reliability improvement tools for the purposes of evaluating the advisability and effects of combining RGT and ESS programs. This examination shows that although these programs have much in common, there are some key differences. Although some of these differences are not of practical importance, others make their combination counterproductive. In other words, these key differences show that ESS cannot contribute significantly to reliability growth.

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