The durability of solder joints under thermo-mechanical loading; application to Sn-37Pb and Sn-3.8Ag-0.7Cu lead-free replacement alloy
MetadataShow full item record
Solder joints in electronic packages provide mechanical, electrical and thermal connections. Hence, their reliability is also a major concern to the electronic packaging industry. Ball Grid Arrays (BGAs) are a very common type of surface mount technology for electronic packaging. This work primarily addresses the thermo-mechanical durability of BGAs and is applied to the exemplar alloys; traditional leaded solder and a popular lead-free solder. Isothermal mechanical fatigue tests were carried out on 4-ball test specimens of the lead-free (Sn-3.8Ag-0.7Cu) and leaded (Sn-37Pb) solder under load control at room temperature, 35°C and 75°C. As well as this, a set of combined thermal and mechanical cycling tests were carried out, again under load control with the thermal cycles either at a different frequency from the mechanical cycles (not-in-phase) or at the same frequency (both in phase and out-of-phase). The microstructural evaluation of both alloys was investigated by carrying out a series of simulated ageing tests, coupled with detailed metallurgical analysis and hardness testing. The results were treated to produce stress-life, cyclic behaviour and creep curves for each of the test conditions. Careful calibration allowed the effects of substrate and grips to be accounted for and so a set of strain-life curves to be produced. These results were compared with other results from the literature taking into account the observations on microstructure made in the ageing tests. It is generally concluded that the TMF performance is better for the Sn-Ag-Cu alloy than for the Sn-Pb alloy, when expressed as stress-life curves. There is also a significant effect on temperature and phase for each of the alloys, the Sn-Ag-Cu being less susceptible to these effects. When expressed as strain life, the effects of temperature, phase and alloy type are much diminished. Many of these conclusions coincided with only parts of the literature and reasons for the remaining differences are advanced.