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Characterisation of lead-free solder pastes and their correlation with the stencil printing process performance

Characterisation of lead-free solder pastes and their correlation with the stencil printing process performance

Marks, Antony Edward (2012) Characterisation of lead-free solder pastes and their correlation with the stencil printing process performance. PhD thesis, University of Greenwich.

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Solder pastes are complex materials whose properties are governed by many factors. Variations exhibited in solder paste characteristics make it increasingly difficult to understand the correlations between solder paste properties and their printing process performance. The recent EU directives on RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances – enacted by UK regulations) and WEEE (Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment) has led to the use of lead-free soldering in the SMA (surface mount assembly) process, and an urgent need for better understanding of the characteristics and printing performance of new solder paste formulations. Equally, as the miniaturisation of hand-held and consumer electronic products continues apace, the solder paste printing process remains a real challenge to the electronics assembly industry. This is because the successful assembly of electronic devices at the ultra-fine pitch and flip-chip geometry requires the deposition of small and consistent paste deposits from pad to pad and from board to board. The paste printing process at this chip-scale geometry depends on conditions such as good paste roll, complete aperture filling and paste release from the apertures onto the substrate pads. This means that the paste flow and deformation behaviour, i.e. the paste rheology, is very important in defining the printing performance of any solder paste. Rheological measurements can be used as a tool to study the deformation or flow experienced by the pastes during the stencil printing process. In addition, the rheological measurements can also be used as a quality control tool in the paste production process for identifying batch-to-batch variation, and to reduce the associated printing defects in the paste printing process.

The work reported here on the characterisation of lead-free solder pastes and their correlation with the stencil printing process is divided into five main parts. The first part concerns the study of the effect of variations in flux and particle size distribution (PSD) on the creep recovery performance of lead-free solder pastes used for flip-chip assembly.

For this study, a novel technique was calculating the extent of paste recovery and hence characterising the slumping tendency in solder pastes. The second part of the study concerns the influence of long-term ageing on the rheology and print quality of lead-free solder pastes used for flip-chip assembly, and the main focus of the work was to develop methodologies for benchmarking new formulations in terms of shelf life, rheological deterioration and print performance. The third part of the work deals with a rheological simulation study of the effect of variation in applied temperature on the slumping behaviour of lead-free solder pastes, and the fourth part considers the rheological correlation between print performance and abandon time for lead-free solder paste used for flip-chip assembly.
The final part of the study concerns the influence of applied stress, application time and recurrence on the rheological creep recovery behaviour of lead-free solder pastes.

The research work was funded through the PRIME Faraday EPSRC CASE Studentship grant, and was carried out in collaboration with Henkel Technologies, Hemel Hempstead, UK. The extensive set of results from the experimental programme, in particular relating to the aspect of key paste performance indicators, has been adapted by the industrial partner for implementation as part of a quality assurance (QA) tool in its production plant, and the results have also been disseminated widely through journal publications and presentations at international conferences.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information:
Uncontrolled Keywords: solder pastes, restriction of hazardous substances, WEEE, surface mount assembly, rheological properties, flip-chip assembly,
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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