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Study of intermetallic compound layer formation, growth and evaluation of shear strength of lead-free solder joints

Study of intermetallic compound layer formation, growth and evaluation of shear strength of lead-free solder joints

Bernasko, Peter Kojo (2012) Study of intermetallic compound layer formation, growth and evaluation of shear strength of lead-free solder joints. PhD thesis, University of Greenwich.

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Solder joints play a very important role in electronic products as the integrity of electronics packaging and assembly rests on the quality of these connections. The increasing demands for higher performance, lower cost, and miniaturisation in hand-held and consumer electronic products have led to the use of dense interconnections. This miniaturization trend means that solder joint reliability remains an important challenge with surface mount electronics assembly, especially those used in hostile environments, and applications such as automobile, aerospace and other safety critical operations.

One of the most important factors which are known to affect solder joint reliability is the thickness of intermetallic compound (IMC) layer formed between the solder and the substrate. Although the formation of an IMC layer signifies good bonding between the solder and substrate, its main disadvantage is that it is also known to be the most brittle part of the solder joint. Thus as the miniaturisation trend continues, and solder joints become even smaller in size, the nature and impact of IMC layer thickness on solder joint reliability becomes even more of a concern with the introduction of new lead-free soldering. Other factors which are known to affect solder joint reliability include the bonding strength, the voiding percentage in joints, the size of the voids and their location within the joint.

The work reported in this thesis on formation and growth of intermetallic compound layer, and evaluation of the shear strength of lead-free solder joints is divided into four main parts. The first part of the study is concerned with understanding of the effect of pad sizes on Inter-metallic compound layer formation and growth for lead-free solder joints. The second part concerns the study of the effect of temperature cycling and reflow profiles on intermetallic growth between Sn-Ag-Cu alloy and Cu substrate. The third part of the study concerns the investigation of the effect of reflow soldering profile optimization on solder volumes using design of experiment technique. The focus of the final part of the study is the investigation of the effect of Inter-metallic Compound thickness on shear strength of 1206 surface mount chip resistor.
The results from the experimental work showed that the pad size has very little influence on the growth of the IMC. The result also shows that the growth of IMC depends on diffusion rate, temperature and time according to the power-law model; and that the IMC layer thickness is independent of pad size. The significance of this result is that with further reductions in joint size (with IMC layer thickness remaining the same), the ratio of the IMC layer thickness to solder joint size will increase and adversely impact the joint reliability. The work carried out on ageing temperatures and reflow profiles of Sn-Ag-Cu alloy and Cu substrate also showed the reaction-diffusion mechanism of intermetallic compound formation and growth in solder joints. The study also showed that the most significant factor in achieving lower IMC layer thickness and fine microstructures is the time to peak temperature of the reflow soldering process. The effect of IMC layer thickness on the shear strength of Sn-Ag-Cu solder joints was investigated. The relationship of shear strength, interfacial microstructures and fracture surfaces was considered. It is clear that formation of continuous Cu-Sn and SnNiCu layers are the reason for the weak interface strength. The results show that the shear strength of solder joints decreases with increasing ageing time. The results of this study have been disseminated through journal and conference publications and will be of interest to R&D personnel working in the area of high temperature electronics and in particular those working in the field of automotive electronics.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information:
Uncontrolled Keywords: solder joints, solder joint reliability, intermetallic compound (IMC),
Subjects: T Technology > TK Electrical engineering. Electronics Nuclear engineering
Pre-2014 Departments: School of Engineering
School of Engineering > Manufacturing Engineering Research Group
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2016 09:23

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