Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Electronics, April 2013, Volume 24, Issue 4, pp 1369-1374, DOI:10.1007/s10854-012-0936-x

The effect of joint size on the creep properties of micro-scale lead-free solder joints at elevated temperatures

Limeng Yin, Song Wei, Zhangliang Xu, Yanfei Geng , Diganta Das and Michael Pecht

Center for Advanced Life Cycle Engineering (CALCE), University of Maryland


Solder joints in electronic packaging systems are becoming smaller and smaller to meet the miniaturization requirements of electronic products and high density interconnect technology. Furthermore, many properties of the real solder joints at the micro-scale level are obviously different from that of bulk solder materials. Creep, as one of the key mechanical properties at elevated temperatures, can impair the reliability of miniature solder joints in electronic devices. However, there is a lack of knowledge about the comparative creep properties of micro-scale solder joints of different sizes. Most previous studies have focused on the creep properties of bulk solder materials or solder joints of the same size. In this research, to determine whether a size effect exists for creep properties of solder joints or not, we characterized the creep behaviours of Sn.3.0Ag.0.5Cu lead-free solder joints under tensile loading modes using micro-scale butt-joint specimens with a copper-wire/solder/copper-wire sandwich structure with two different sizes. Also, the creep failure mechanisms were investigated. Experimental results show that the creep activation energy and creep stress exponent are very similar for both sizes of solder joint. However, under the same testing conditions, the joints with a larger size exhibit a much higher steady-state creep rate and a shorter creep lifetime than the smaller joints.

Complete article is available from the publisher and to the CALCE Consortium Members.

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