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Optimized cerium addition for microstructure and mechanical properties of SAC305

Riaz Muhammad (Mechanical Engineering Department, College of Engineering, University of Bahrain, Sakheer, Bahrain)
Umair Ali (Mechanical Engineering Department, CECOS University of IT and Emerging Sciences, Peshawar, Pakistan)

Soldering & Surface Mount Technology

ISSN: 0954-0911

Article publication date: 16 November 2020

Issue publication date: 12 July 2021




This paper aims to analyze the effect of cerium addition on the microstructure and the mechanical properties of Tin-Silver-Copper (SAC) alloy. The mechanical properties and refined microstructure of a solder joint are vital for the reliability and performance of electronics. SAC305 alloys are potential choices to use as lead-free solders because of their good properties as compared to the conventional Tin-Lead solder alloys. However, the presence of bulk intermetallic compounds (IMCs) in the microstructure of SAC305 alloys affects their overall performance. Therefore, addition of cerium restrains the growth of IMCs and refines the microstructure, hence improving the mechanical performance.


SAC305 alloy is doped with various composition of xCerium (x = 0.15, 0.35, 0.55, 0.75, 0.95) % by weight. Pure elements in powdered form were melted in the presence of argon with periodic stirring to ensure a uniform melted alloy. The molten alloy is then poured into a pre-heated die to obtain a tensile specimen. The yield strength and universal tensile strength were determined using a fixed strain rate of 10 mm per minute or 0.1667 mm s^(−1). The IMCs are identified using X-ray diffraction, whereas the elemental phase composition and microstructure evolution are, respectively, examined by using electron dispersive spectroscopy and scanning electron microscopy.


Improvement in the microstructure and mechanical properties is observed with 0.15% of cerium additions. The tensile test also showed that SAC305-0.15% cerium exhibits more stress-bearing capacity than other compositions. The 0.75% cerium doped alloy indicated some improvement because of a decrease in fracture dislocation regions, but microstructure refinement and the arrangement of IMCs are not those of 0.15% Ce. Different phases of Cu_6 Sn_5, Ag_3 Sn and CeSn_3 and ß-Sn are identified. Therefore, the addition of cerium in lower concentrations and presence of Ce-Sn IMCs improved the grain boundary structure and resulted refinement in the microstructure of the alloy, as well as an enhancement in the mechanical properties.


Characterization of microstructure and evaluation of mechanical properties are carried out to investigate the different composition of SAC305-xCerium alloys. Finally, an optimized cerium composition is selected for solder joint in electronics.



Muhammad, R. and Ali, U. (2021), "Optimized cerium addition for microstructure and mechanical properties of SAC305", Soldering & Surface Mount Technology, Vol. 33 No. 4, pp. 197-205.



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