A study was performed to develop a different experimental methodology to assess wettabilities of solders on various printed wiring board (PWB) finishes, based on a modified spreading test in which solder pastes were heated following temperature reflow profiles representative of those used in surface mount technology (SMT) instead of using a fixed rate temperature ramp. Three solder alloys (Sn63‐Pb37, Sn96.5‐Ag3.5, and CASTINTM: Sn96.2‐Ag2.5‐Cu0.8‐Sb0.5), two fluxes (rosin, mildly activated, RMA, and no‐clean, NC), and seven PWB finishes (Pd, Au/Ni, Ni, Ag, Sn, and organic solderability preservatives: OSP), and bare copper were involved in the study. Better wettabilities were observed in the current study than the results reported in the literature for conventional tests on the same combination of solder alloy, flux, and substrate. The different results in measurement of wettabilities obtained in the current study were attributed to the more adequate heating process allowing flux activation, which reduced reoxidation of solder powders and substrates during the reflow process and thus improved wettabilities of solders. Compared to the results obtained from the popular wetting balance test, the current study demonstrated a more realistic simulation of, and approach to, assessing the wettability of solder for SMT.
Tu, C.C. and Natishan, M.E. (2000), "Wettability test method for surface mount technology assessment", Soldering & Surface Mount Technology, Vol. 12 No. 2, pp. 10-15. https://doi.org/10.1108/09540910010331329
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