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Article
Publication date: 5 June 2017

Kamila Piotrowska, Morten Stendahl Jellesen and Rajan Ambat

The aim of this work is to investigate the decomposition behaviour of the activator species commonly used in the wave solder no-clean flux systems and to estimate the residue…

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this work is to investigate the decomposition behaviour of the activator species commonly used in the wave solder no-clean flux systems and to estimate the residue amount left after subjecting the samples to simulated wave soldering conditions.

Design/methodology/approach

Changes in the chemical structure of the activators were studied using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy technique and were correlated to the exposure temperatures within the range of wave soldering process. The amount of residue left on the surface was estimated using standardized acid-base titration method as a function of temperature, time of exposure and the substrate material used.

Findings

The study shows that there is a possibility of anhydride-like species formation during the thermal treatment of fluxes containing weak organic acids (WOAs) as activators (succinic and DL-malic). The decomposition patterns of solder flux activators depend on their chemical nature, time of heat exposure and substrate materials. Evaporation of the residue from the surface of different materials (laminate with solder mask, copper surface or glass surface) was found to be more pronounced for succinic-based solutions at highest test temperatures than for adipic acid. Less left residue was found on the laminate surface with solder mask (∼5-20 per cent of initial amount at 350°C) and poorest acid evaporation was noted for glass substrates (∼15-90 per cent).

Practical implications

The findings are attributed to the chemistry of WOAs typically used as solder flux activators. The results show the importance WOA type in relation to its melting/boiling points and the impact on the residual amount of contamination left after soldering process.

Originality/value

The results show that the evaporation of the flux residues takes place only at significantly high temperatures and longer exposure times are needed compared to the temperature range used for the wave soldering process. The extended time of thermal treatment and careful choice of fluxing technology would ensure obtaining more climatically reliable product.

Details

Soldering & Surface Mount Technology, vol. 29 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0954-0911

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 2 September 2019

Kamila Piotrowska, Feng Li and Rajan Ambat

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the decomposition behavior of binary mixtures of organic activators commonly used in the no-clean wave flux systems upon their exposure…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the decomposition behavior of binary mixtures of organic activators commonly used in the no-clean wave flux systems upon their exposure to thermal treatments simulating wave soldering temperatures. The binary blends of activators were studied at varying ratios between the components.

Design/methodology/approach

Differential scanning calorimetry and thermogravimetric analysis were used to study the characteristics of weak organic acid (WOA) mixtures degradation as a function of temperature. The amount of residue left on the surface after the heat treatments was estimated by gravimetric measurements as a function of binary mixture type, temperature and exposure time. Ion chromatography analysis was used for understanding the relative difference between decomposition of activators in binary blends. The aggressivity of the left residue was assessed using the acidity indication gel test, and effect on reliability was investigated by DC leakage current measurement performed under varying humidity and potential bias conditions.

Findings

The results show that the typical range of temperatures experienced by electronics during the wave soldering process is not sufficient for the removal of significant activator amounts. If the residues contain binary mixture of WOAs, the final ratio between the components, the residue level and the corrosive effects depend on the relative decomposition behavior of individual components. Among the WOA investigated under the conventional wave soldering temperature, the evaporation and removal of succinic acid is more dominant compared to adipic and glutaric acids.

Practical implications

The findings are attributed to the chemistry of WOAs typically used as flux activators for wave soldering purposes. The results show the importance of controlling the WOA content and ratio between activating components in a flux formulation in relation to its tendencies for evaporation during soldering and the impact of its residues on electronics reliability.

Originality/value

The results show that the significant levels of flux residues can only be removed at significantly higher temperatures and longer exposure times compared to the conventional temperature range used for the wave soldering process. The potential corrosion issues related to insufficient flux residues removal will be determined by the residue amount, its composition and ratio between organic components. The proper time of thermal treatment and careful choice of fluxing formulation could ensure more climatically reliable product.

Details

Soldering & Surface Mount Technology, vol. 32 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0954-0911

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 2 May 2017

Vadimas Verdingovas, Salil Joshy, Morten Stendahl Jellesen and Rajan Ambat

The purpose of this study is to show that the humidity levels for surface insulation resistance (SIR)-related failures are dependent on the type of activators used in no-clean…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to show that the humidity levels for surface insulation resistance (SIR)-related failures are dependent on the type of activators used in no-clean flux systems and to demonstrate the possibility of simulating the effects of humidity and contamination on printed circuit board components and sensitive parts if typical SIR data connected to a particular climatic condition are available. This is shown on representative components and typical circuits.

Design/methodology/approach

A range of SIR values obtained on SIR patterns with 1,476 squares was used as input data for the circuit analysis. The SIR data were compared to the surface resistance values observable on a real device printed circuit board assembly. SIR issues at the component and circuit levels were analysed on the basis of parasitic circuit effects owing to the formation of a water layer as an electrical conduction medium.

Findings

This paper provides a summary of the effects of contamination with various weak organic acids representing the active components in no-clean solder flux residue, and demonstrates the effect of humidity and contamination on the possible malfunctions and errors in electronic circuits. The effect of contamination and humidity is expressed as drift from the nominal resistance values of the resistors, self-discharge of the capacitors and the errors in the circuits due to parasitic leakage currents (reduction of SIR).

Practical/implications

The methodology of the analysis of the circuits using a range of empirical leakage resistance values combined with the knowledge of the humidity and contamination profile of the electronics can be used for the robust design of a device, which is also important for electronic products relying on low current consumption for long battery lifetime.

Originality/value

Examples provide a basic link between the combined effect of humidity and contamination and the performance of electronic circuits. The methodology shown provides the possibility of addressing the climatic reliability of an electronic device at the early stage of device design by using typical SIR data representing the possible climate exposure.

Details

Circuit World, vol. 43 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0305-6120

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 26 August 2014

Helene Conseil, Morten Stendahl Jellesen and Rajan Ambat

The purpose of this paper was to analyse typical printed circuit board assemblies (PCBAs) processed by reflow, wave or selective wave soldering for typical levels of…

391

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper was to analyse typical printed circuit board assemblies (PCBAs) processed by reflow, wave or selective wave soldering for typical levels of process-related residues, resulting from a specific or combination of soldering processes. Typical solder flux residue distribution pattern, composition and concentration are profiled and reported. The effect of such contaminants on conformal coating was tested.

Design/methodology/approach

Presence of localized flux residues was visualized using a commercial residue reliability assessment testing gel test and chemical structure was identified by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, while the concentration was measured using ion chromatography, and the electrical properties of the extracts were determined by measuring the leak current using a twin platinum electrode set-up. Localized extraction of residue was carried out using a commercial critical contamination control extraction system.

Findings

Results clearly show that the amount and distribution of flux residues are a function of the soldering process, and the level can be reduced by an appropriate cleaning. Selective soldering process generates significantly higher levels of residues compared to the wave and reflow process. For conformal coated PCBAs, the contamination levels generated from the tested wave and selective soldering process are found to be enough to generate blisters under exposure to high humidity levels.

Originality/value

Although it is generally known that different soldering processes can introduce contamination on the PCBA surface, compromising its cleanliness, no systematic work is reported investigating the relative levels of residue introduced by various soldering processes and its effect on corrosion reliability.

Details

Soldering & Surface Mount Technology, vol. 26 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0954-0911

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 5 January 2015

Martin Aggerbeck, Alexis Herbreteau, Marleen Rombouts, Jo Verwimp and Rajan Ambat

– The purpose of this paper is to study the use of titanium as a protecting element for aluminum in alkaline conditions.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to study the use of titanium as a protecting element for aluminum in alkaline conditions.

Design/methodology/approach

Aluminum coatings containing up to 20 weight per cent Ti6Al4V were produced using laser cladding and were investigated using light optical microscope, scanning electron microscope – energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy and X-Ray Diffraction, together with alkaline exposure tests and potentiodynamic measurements at pH 13.5.

Findings

Cladding resulted in a heterogeneous solidification microstructure containing an aluminum matrix with supersaturated titanium (<1 weight per cent), Al3Ti intermetallics and large partially undissolved Ti6Al4V particles. Heat treatment lowered the titanium concentration in the aluminum matrix, changed the shape of the Al3Ti precipitates and increased the degree of dissolution of the Ti6Al4V particles. Corrosion testing showed significant localized dissolution of the aluminum matrix.

Research limitations/implications

Increased titanium concentration and heat treatment gave improved alkaline corrosion properties. At pH 13.5, the Al3Ti phases were protected, while the aluminum matrix corroded.

Practical implications

For alkaline corrosion-protection of aluminum in the automobile industry, titanium might be useful at pH values below 13.5 or by using other coating techniques.

Originality/value

This is the first study testing the use of titanium as a protective element of aluminum in stringent alkaline conditions.

Details

Anti-Corrosion Methods and Materials, vol. 62 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0003-5599

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 7 September 2015

Vadimas Verdingovas, Morten Stendahl Jellesen and Rajan Ambat

This paper aims to investigate the effect of no-clean flux chemistry with various weak organic acids (WOAs) as activators on the corrosion reliability of electronics with emphasis…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to investigate the effect of no-clean flux chemistry with various weak organic acids (WOAs) as activators on the corrosion reliability of electronics with emphasis on the hygroscopic nature of the residue.

Design/methodology/approach

The hygroscopicity of flux residue was studied by quartz crystal microbalance, while corrosive effects were studied by leakage current and impedance measurements on standard test boards. The measurements were performed as a function of relative humidity (RH) in the range from 60 to ∼99 per cent at 25°C. The corrosiveness of solder flux systems was visualized by the ex situ analysis using a gel with tin ion indicator.

Findings

The results showed that the solder flux residues are characterized by different threshold RH, above which a sudden increase in direct current leakage by 2–4 orders of magnitude and a significant reduction in surface resistance in the impedance measurements were observed.

Practical implications

The findings are attributed to the deliquescence RH of the WOA(s) in the flux and chemistry of water-layer formation. The results show the importance of WOA type in relation to its solubility and deliquescence RH on the corrosion reliability of printed circuit boards under humid conditions.

Originality/value

The classification of solder flux systems according to IPC J-STD-004 standard does not specify the WOAs in the flux; however, ranking of the flux systems based on the hygroscopic property of activators would be useful information when selecting no-clean flux systems for electronics with applications in humid conditions.

Details

Soldering & Surface Mount Technology, vol. 27 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0954-0911

Keywords

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