The compatibility of epoxy‐based printed circuit boards with lead‐free assembly

Sylvia Ehrler (Multilayer Technology GmbH & Co. KG, Boeblingen, Germany)

Circuit World

ISSN: 0305-6120

Publication date: 1 December 2005



Aims to explain the main requirements for printed circuit boards (PCBs) and to determine the survival rate of boards in lead‐free assembly.


The first two main requirements are the survival of 5‐6 cycles lead free reflow with peak temperatures of up to 260°C and an identical or even better board reliability of such boards compared to todays eutectic soldered ones. In a first series of tests the influence of base materials, reflow temperature gradient and peak temperature on PCB survival rate are investigated. Thermo‐mechanical data of different epoxy‐based materials are compared to survival rate investigations using repeated reflow tests. The impact of PCB manufacturing and design on the lead free performance is discussed. A second series of investigations is air‐to‐air life cycle tests of daisy chain boards out of different epoxy‐based materials with varying preconditioning were done.


The tests showed that dicy cured epoxy base materials are not able to withstand the thermal stress of the mentioned soldering steps. Board design and the heating gradient in reflow also influence the assembly performance. Thermal cycling tests (air‐to‐air), showed clearly the effect of reflow temperature and number of reflow cycles on through‐hole reliability. There was no significant impact of z‐axis‐expansion on the through‐hole failure rate in air‐to‐air cycling.


Provides further information on the lead‐free assembly of PCBs.



Ehrler, S. (2005), "The compatibility of epoxy‐based printed circuit boards with lead‐free assembly", Circuit World, Vol. 31 No. 4, pp. 3-13.

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Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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