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The combined effects of mechanical stress and surface electromigration on the dynamics of transgranular voids in passivated metallic thin films are analyzed based on self-consistent dynamical simulations. Depending on the strength of the electric and stress fields, void morphological instabilities can lead to film failure by propagation from the void surface of either faceted slits or finer-scale crack-like features. Most importantly, there exists a narrow range of applied stress for given strength of electric field over which slit formation can be inhibited completely. © 1998 American Institute of Physics.