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Thixotropic studies of lead-based solder, lead-free solder and conductive adhesive pastes

Thixotropic studies of lead-based solder, lead-free solder and conductive adhesive pastes

Durairaj, Rajkumar, Man, Lam Wai, Mallik, Sabuj and Ekere, Ndy (2009) Thixotropic studies of lead-based solder, lead-free solder and conductive adhesive pastes. In: 11th Electronic Material and Packaging Conference (EMAP), 1-3 Dec 2009, Penang, Malaysia. (Unpublished)

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The stencil printing process is an important process in the assembly of Surface Mount Technology (SMT)devices. There is a wide agreement in the industry that the paste printing process accounts for the majority of assembly defects. Experience with this process has shown that typically over 60% of all soldering defects are due to problems associated with the flow properties of solder pastes. Therefore, the rheological measurements can be used as a tool to study the deformation or flow experienced by the pastes during the stencil printing process. This paper presents results on the thixotropic behaviour of three pastes; lead-based solder paste, lead-free solder paste and isotropic conductive adhesive (ICA). These materials are widely used as interconnect medium in the electronics industry. Solder paste are metal alloys suspended in a flux medium while the ICAs consist of silver flakes dispersed in an epoxy resin. The thixotropy behaviour was investigated through two rheological test; (i) hysteresis loop test and (ii) steady shear rate test. In the hysteresis loop test, the shear rate were increased from 0.001 to 100s-1 and then decreased from 100 to 0.001s-1. Meanwhile, in the steady shear rate test, the materials were subjected to a constant shear rate of 0.100, 100 and 0.001s-1 for a period of 240 seconds. All the pastes showed a high degree of shear thinning behaviour with time. This might be due to the agglomeration of particles in the flux or epoxy resin that prohibits pastes flow under low shear rate. The action of high shear rate would break the agglomerates into smaller pieces which facilitates the flow of pastes, thus viscosity is reduced at high shear rate. The solder pastes exhibited a higher degree of structural breakdown compared to the ICAs. The area between the up curve and down curve in the hysteresis curve is an indication of the thixotropic behavior of the pastes. Among the three pastes, lead-free solder paste showed the largest area between the down curve and up curve, which indicating a larger structural breakdown in the pastes, followed by lead-based solder paste and ICA. In a steady shear rate test, viscosity of ICA showed the best recovery with the steeper curve to its original viscosity after the removal of shear, which indicating that the dispersion quality in ICA is good because the high shear has little effect on the microstructure of ICA. In contrast, lead-based paste showed the poorest recovery which means this paste undergo larger structural breakdown and dispersion quality in this paste is poor because the microstructure of the paste is easily disrupted by high shear. The structural breakdown during the application of shear and the recovery after removal of shear is an important characteristic in the paste printing process. If the paste’s viscosity can drop low enough, it may contribute to the aperture filling and quick recovery may prevent slumping.

Item Type: Conference or Conference Paper (Paper)
Additional Information: This paper was given at the 11th International Conference on Electronics Materials and Packaging held in Penang, Malaysia December 1-3 2009.
Uncontrolled Keywords: solder pastes, isotropic conductive adhesives, rheology, thixotropy, viscosity
Subjects: T Technology > TK Electrical engineering. Electronics Nuclear engineering
Pre-2014 Departments: School of Engineering
School of Engineering > Department of Engineering Systems
School of Engineering > Manufacturing Engineering Research Group
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Last Modified: 17 Dec 2019 15:35

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