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Decision Matrix as a Tool for Pb-Free Alloy Selection
Keywords: Pb-free, alloy selection, decision matrix
The use of lead (Pb) has been widely accepted in the electronic industry in the form of the ubiquitous eutectic Sn-Pb solder to attach discrete components to printed circuit boards (PCB’s). These attachments are not only mechanical, but also serve as the electrical interconnection between the device and the PCB. Approximately 5 million tons of Pb are consumed annually on a global basis, of which batteries represent the largest single application in terms of Pb consumption (~81%). Solders for electronic assemblies account for about 0.5% of the consumption. Although storage batteries constitute the largest percentage of consumption, the alleged near 100% recycling practice have exempt them from the ban. There has been a European Union (EU) mandate to eliminate Pb from electronic products starting July 1, 2006. As a result of these legislations, the electronic industry in general is actively searching for Pb-free solder alternatives for the microelectronics assembly process. However, because no single Pb-free solder is likely to qualify for all defense applications, it is critical to assess and validate alternative solders for the particular applications. The primary goal of this study is to evaluate relevant data in order to provide a documented Pb-free solder assessment and to present the Decision Matrix as a suitable selection tool. The rating methodology will follow the “criteria rating and weighted ranking” procedure also known as Decision Matrix, in which each solder alternative is evaluated based on a set of critical characteristics. Selection of critical parameters along with weighting factors will be presented in this article. The methodology will be demonstrated for a particular aerospace application and it will be shown that it could serve as an agile tool capable to adapt to multiple requirements.
Pedro O. Quintero, Assistant Professor
University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez
Mayaguez, PR


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