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Thermal Cycling Reliability of Alternative Low-Silver Tin-based Solders
Keywords: Low silver lead-free solder, Thermal cycling reliability, Alternative solders
Sn-3.0Ag-0.5Cu (SAC305) alloy is the most widely used solder in electronic assemblies after the adoption of lead-free legislations. However, issues due to cost and drop/shock durability have resulted in a continued search for alternative solder alloys. One approach to improve the drop/shock reliability has been to reduce the silver content in SnAgCu alloys. Another approach is microalloy addition, where, 0.1% or lower of other elements are added to SnAgCu alloys. Moreover, conflicting results have been reported in literature on the effects of aging on SnAgCu alloys. In 2010, International Electronics Manufacturing Initiative (iNEMI) started the “Characterization of Pb-Free Alloy Alternatives” project to provide a comprehensive study of fifteen tin-based solder interconnect compositions benchmarked against the eutectic tin-lead solder. For this study, temperature cycle durability was the primary focus and solders were selected to study the effect of varying silver content, microalloy additions, and aging. This paper reports the preliminary findings from one of the test conditions conducted under the iNEMI project. The cycles to failure for a temperature cycling test condition from -15oC to 125oC, with dwell times of 60 minutes at both extremes are presented. The test assembly consisted of sixteen 192 I/O BGAs and sixteen 84 I/O BGAs soldered on to FR4 laminate. Preliminary findings revealed that the reduction of silver resulted in a reduction in cycles to failure. In all cases, the fifteen tin-based solders were more durable than the eutectic tin lead solder. Aging did not affect the cycles to failure in SAC105 solder; however, the cycles to failure decreased with aging in SAC305 solder. In addition, aging resulted in a wider distribution of cycles to failure in 192 I/O BGAs.
Elviz George,
CALCE, University of Maryland, College Park
College Park, MD

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