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The Harmfulness of Blowholes in PTH Soldered Assemblies

C. Lea (National Physical Laboratory, Teddington, Middlesex, England)

Circuit World

ISSN: 0305-6120

Article publication date: 1 March 1990



One family of defects in soldered electronic assemblies that is almost invariably re‐worked is that due to outgassing, manifested as visible blowholes and solder blow‐out. It is known that re‐working can be very detrimental to the service life of an electronic assembly and should be avoided whenever possible. This paper describes work aimed to determine whether outgassing faults such as blowholes are harmful to service performance or whether more harm will be done by re‐working such faults. Standard test plated‐through‐hole (PTH) assemblies with controlled degrees of outgassing faults have been subjected to mechanical testing, thermal shock testing, mechanical fatigue, low cycle thermal fatigue and corrosion testing. Measurements in all these régimes have been carried out quantitatively with baseline controls. No evidence of significant loss of solder joint performance has been found, even for severe cases of solder loss. On the contrary, in cyclic fatigue testing, solder fillets with outgassing faults exhibit statistically significant performance enhancement. The conspicuous nature of blowholing and solder blow‐out undoubtedly over‐emphasises the problem during visual quality control inspection. Provided the copper barrel has been wet by the solder, outgassing faults should not be re‐worked. These faults should be used as process indicators and to draw attention to processes and the need for process control.


Lea, C. (1990), "The Harmfulness of Blowholes in PTH Soldered Assemblies", Circuit World, Vol. 16 No. 4, pp. 23-28.




Copyright © 1990, MCB UP Limited

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