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In early 1989 the original version of the Reliability Figures of Merit (FM) for the solder attachments of surface mount (SM) assemblies was published. That version of the…
In early 1989 the original version of the Reliability Figures of Merit (FM) for the solder attachments of surface mount (SM) assemblies was published. That version of the FM was specifically tailored for telecommunications environments. Misapplications of FMs to use environments, such as military applications and accelerated tests, pointed to a real need for generally applicable FMs. Adequate reliability of SM solder connections can only be assured with a ‘Design for Reliability’ based on solder joint behaviour and the underlying fatigue damage mechanisms. Perceived difficulties with a ‘Design for Reliability’ stem from the very complex and only partially understood nature of the interacting mechanisms underlying thermally induced solder joint fatigue, combined with the highly temperature, time, and stress‐dependent behaviour of some of the materials involved, especially solder. In this paper generic FMs are presented. These are simple design tools, easily applied by users unfamiliar with the underlying complexities of solder fatigue and the reliability assessment results are in Go/No‐go format. The oversimplifications contained in Version 1 of the FMs (originally thought necessary for simple design tools and limiting their applicability) are omitted, making these generic FMs more readily understood.
Alloy 42 and, similarly, Kovar were developed to provide metallic feed‐throughs from the interior of ceramic components to the exterior. The low coefficient of thermal…
Alloy 42 and, similarly, Kovar were developed to provide metallic feed‐throughs from the interior of ceramic components to the exterior. The low coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) of ceramic needs to be almost matched by the feed‐through metal to allow reliable hermetically sealed connections. For this purpose these alloys have served very well. However, because of its wide‐spread use for military applications, for which component hermeticity has been required, as well as because of the easier attachment of low‐CTE die to low‐CTE lead frames, Alloy 42 has found its way into plastic components with often disastrous results. When surface mount solder joints connect materials with different CTEs, global thermal expansion mismatches result. Also, if the materials to which the solder bonds have CTEs that differ from the CTE of solder, local thermal expansion mismatches result. These thermal expansion mismatches are the cause of most SM solder joint failures. Alloy 42 and Kovar not only cause significant global and local thermal expansion mismatches, but are inherently more difficult to solder because of the low solubility of nickel and iron, the main constituents of these alloys, in tin. Pull tests of solder joints show that under the best of circumstances a solder joint that includes an Alloy 42 or Kovar surface is only half as strong as one made to copper surfaces.
In this paper an overview of the issues underlying surface mount solder joint long‐term reliability is presented. The paper gives state‐of‐the‐art solutions for ‘Design…
In this paper an overview of the issues underlying surface mount solder joint long‐term reliability is presented. The paper gives state‐of‐the‐art solutions for ‘Design for Reliability’ in simple design tool form, discusses the important accelerated reliability test issues, and provides the equations to estimate the reliability of SM product in use as well as the expected cyclic life in accelerated tests.
One concern that has slowed the progress of surface mounted technology, in particular leadless chip carriers, has been the question of the reliability of the surface mount…
One concern that has slowed the progress of surface mounted technology, in particular leadless chip carriers, has been the question of the reliability of the surface mount attachment technology. This concern follows from the realisation that the functional reliability of surface mount technology is a very complex issue involving many not very well understood components. What is needed is a relatively simple, useful, predictive model. The model reported here sidesteps the numerous complex underlying issues, which, if considered separately, make a predictive reliability model all but impossible, by taking a purely phenomenological approach and relegating second‐order effects to a lumped empirical figure of merit.
Highly accelerated tests, while capable of producing failures in short test durations, cancause significant damage and failure as a result of damage mechanisms and/or…
Highly accelerated tests, while capable of producing failures in short test durations, can cause significant damage and failure as a result of damage mechanisms and/or material behaviour not present in the actual use of electronic product. This is particularly true for surface mount solder attachments. The results of low‐acceleration reliability tests for the solder attachments of ball grid arrays (BGAs) and column grid arrays (CGAs) are reported in this paper. The tests were designed to mimic the thermal conditions of the use environment of the product, including internal power dissipation within the grid array components, as closely as practically possible. The test acceleration comes from two measures taken: (1) controlled reduced dwell times at the cyclic temperature extremes, thus allowing a higher cyclic frequency, and (2) a controlled increased CTE‐mismatch between the components and the test circuit board by an increase in the coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) of the test circuit boards relative to the product cirucit boards. Control test vehicles with product‐like circuit board construction were also utilised. The results from the different test vehicle configurations are correlated and utilised to estimate the reliability of the product in the field.
With the fatigue ductility test the ductility of metallic foils and flexible metal foil/dielectric laminates can be determined. Ductility together with tensile strength…
With the fatigue ductility test the ductility of metallic foils and flexible metal foil/dielectric laminates can be determined. Ductility together with tensile strength allows prediction of the fatigue behaviour of flexible printed wiring (FPW) in both the low‐cycle/high‐strain (ductility dependent) and the high‐cycle/low‐strain (strength dependent) ranges. However, for laminates and FPW with Kapton as the dielectric the standard fatigue ductility test method does not produce the expected results and flex life predictions deviate from experimental results. The results of a study to determine the cause of this anomalous behaviour of Kapton FPW and to find correlative correction procedures are reported. Corrections to account for both the cyclic strain‐hardening of rolled annealed copper foil and the Kapton/adhesive/copper interactions for asymmetric single‐sided FPW are presented. With these corrections the ductility determination for copper foil laminated to a Kapton substrate using the fatigue ductility test produces good results, and the fatigue life of symmetric Kapton FPW can be predicted from the copper foil properties. The underlying mechanisms for the strong deviational flex behaviour of asymmetric single‐sided FPW could not be identified. The recommendation is made that for high‐cycle flex applications the FPW construction be precisely symmetrical. FPW made from copper‐clad Kapton with rolled annealed copper foil is the overwhelming choice and it is important that one has proper acceptance criteria at incoming inspection and that a valid prediction methodology for FPW flexural resistance and fatigue behaviour is available.
Telecom equipment is subject to thermal cycles caused by both variations in temperature between day and night and variations in the telephone traffic. To simulate such…
Telecom equipment is subject to thermal cycles caused by both variations in temperature between day and night and variations in the telephone traffic. To simulate such thermal excursions, accelerated thermal cycle testing between — 10°C and 100°C has been established as a standard method within Ericsson Telecom. Thermal cycle tests have been carried out for frequencies ranging from one cycle per day to 30 cycles per hour in order to cover the different thermal excursions that occur in telecom equipment. It has been found that the life of a surface mounted PWB assembly can be predicted from the accelerated testing results using a frequency modified Coffin‐Manson relation. Factors which influence the fatigue life of solder joints such as solder material, compliant leads, compliant surface layers and mismatch between package and board are discussed. Based on results from accelerated testing it is suggested that the optimal PWB design for leadless ceramic chip carriers should be a moderate TCE matching combined with a compliant surface layer.
The purpose of this paper is to describe the effect of indium alloying on the thermal fatigue endurance of Sn3.8Ag0.7Cu solder in low‐temperature co‐fired ceramic (LTCC…
The purpose of this paper is to describe the effect of indium alloying on the thermal fatigue endurance of Sn3.8Ag0.7Cu solder in low‐temperature co‐fired ceramic (LTCC) modules with land grid array (LGA) joints and the feasibility of using a recalibrated Engelmaier model to predict the lifetime of LGA joints as determined with a test assembly.
Test assemblies were fabricated and exposed to a temperature cycling test over a temperature range of −40‐125°C. Organic printed wiring board (PWB) material with a low coefficient of thermal expansion was used to reduce the global thermal mismatch of the assembly. The characteristic lifetime, θ, of the test assemblies was determined using direct current resistance measurements. The metallurgy and failure mechanisms of the interconnections were verified using scanning acoustic microscopy, an optical microscope with polarized light, and scanning electron microscopy/energy dispersive spectrometry (SEM/EDS) investigations. Lifetime predictions of the test assemblies were calculated using the recalibrated Engelmaier model.
This work showed that indium alloying increased the characteristic lifetime of LGA joints by 15 percent compared with Sn3.8Ag0.7Cu joints. SEM/EDS analysis showed that alloying changed the composition, size, and distribution of intermetallic compounds within the solder matrix. It was also observed that a solid‐state phase transformation (Cu,Ni)6Sn5(→ (Ni,Cu)3Sn4 occurred at the Ni/(Cu,Ni)6Sn5 interface. Moreover, the results pointed out that individual recalibration curves for ceramic package/PWB assemblies with high (≥ 10 ppm/°C) and low (≈ 3‐4 ppm/°C) global thermal mismatches and different package thicknesses should be determined before the lifetime of LGA‐type assemblies can be predicted accurately using the recalibrated Engelmaier model.
The results proved that indium alloying of LGA joints can be done using In‐containing solder on pre‐tinned pads of an LTCC module, despite the different liquidus temperatures of the In‐containing and Sn3.8Ag0.7Cu solders. The characteristic metallurgical features and enhanced thermal fatigue endurance of the In‐alloyed SnAgCu joints were also determined. Finally, this work demonstrated the problems that exist in predicting the lifetime of ceramic packages with LGA joints using analytical modeling, and proposals for developing the recalibrated Engelmaier model to achieve more accurate results with different ceramic packages/PWB assemblies are given.
The purpose of this paper is to describe the behavior of different lead-free solders (95.5Sn3.8Ag0.7Cu, i.e. SAC387 and Sn7In4.1Ag0.5Cu, i.e. SAC-In) in thermomechanically…
The purpose of this paper is to describe the behavior of different lead-free solders (95.5Sn3.8Ag0.7Cu, i.e. SAC387 and Sn7In4.1Ag0.5Cu, i.e. SAC-In) in thermomechanically loaded non-collapsible ball grid array (BGA) joints of a low-temperature co-fired ceramic (LTCC) module. The validity of a modified Engelmaier’s model was tested to verify its capability to predict the characteristic lifetime of an LTCC module assembly implementable in field applications.
Five printed wiring board (PWB) assemblies, each carrying eight LTCC modules, were fabricated and exposed to a temperature cycling test over a −40 to 125°C temperature range to determine the characteristic lifetimes of interconnections in the LTCC module/PWB assemblies. The failure mechanisms of the test assemblies were verified using scanning acoustic microscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and field emission SEM investigation. A stress-dependent Engelmaier’s model, adjusted for plastic-core solder ball (PCSB) BGA structures, was used to predict the characteristic lifetimes of the assemblies.
Depending on the joint configuration, characteristic lifetimes of up to 1,920 cycles were achieved in the thermal cycling testing. The results showed that intergranular (creep) failures occurred primarily only in the joints containing Sn7In4.1Ag0.5Cu solder. Other primary failure mechanisms (mixed transgranular/intergranular, separation of the intermetallic compound/solder interface and cracking in the interface between the ceramic and metallization) were observed in the other joint configurations. The modified Engelmaier’s model was found to predict the lifetime of interconnections with good accuracy. The results confirmed the superiority of SAC-In solder over SAC in terms of reliability, and also proved that an air cavity structure of the module, which enhances its radio frequency (RF) performance, did not degrade the reliability of the second-level interconnections of the test assemblies.
This paper shows the superiority of SAC-In solder over SAC387 solder in terms of reliability and verifies the applicability of the modified Engelmaier’s model as an accurate lifetime prediction method for PCSB BGA structures for the presented LTCC packages for RF/microwave telecommunication applications.
A method for the prediction of solder joint cycle life in surface‐mount assemblies is presented, based on the conversion of plastic solder shear strain into cycle life by…
A method for the prediction of solder joint cycle life in surface‐mount assemblies is presented, based on the conversion of plastic solder shear strain into cycle life by means of an equation derived by Engelmaier. The paper introduces a different analytical procedure for the determination of solder joint shear strain. Shear strain is normally calculated from temperature and TCE differentials between package and interconnect board without consideration of elastic deformations. The suggested method derives average plastic shear strain of the solder joint at maximum temperature excursion from finite‐element analysis of a simple model consisting of an interconnect board, a solder joint and a package. All materials in the model have linear (elastic) properties, except solder which has non‐linear (elastic/plastic) characteristics. The solder stress/strain curve is described to the finite‐element programme with temperature‐dependent bilinear approximations. The solder joint is modelled as a single finite element so that only one value is computed for the plastic shear strain in the solder joint. This value represents the average shear strain which is converted into solder joint cycle life. The cycle life predictions with the finite‐element method are confirmed by cycling results obtained on actual hardware. The described method can serve as a design tool in the optimisation of surface‐mount assemblies. The procedure can help to define accelerated temperature cycling conditions.