SAC 305 shows faster shear strength degradation than Innolot, while the surface finish has no effect.

When a solder joint is exposed to cyclic stresses, thermally activated diffusion in the bulk solder, metallization and initial intermetallic (IMC) may take place. The growth of the interfacial IMC helps relieve the residual stress induced in the solder joint, and the growth rate corresponds to the magnitude of stress induced.1 Solder joint strength also decreases during exposure to temperature variations. Therefore, shear testing is a useful method to assess solder joint strength degradation caused by thermal cycling.2

In part one3 of this series we showed the voiding, solder spread and thickness of the high-reliability Innolot alloy compared with SAC 305 alloy solder pastes using five different surface finishes. Part two discusses thermal cycling effects on the growth in IMC thickness and solder joint strength. This study included two commonly used solder alloys in paste form:

  1. SAC 305 (96.5%Sn, 3%Ag, 0.5%Cu) powder size distribution (PSD) type 4 with novel “CVP-390” paste flux
  2. Innolot (91.95%Sn, 3.8%Ag, 0.7%Cu, 3.0%Bi, 1.4%Sb, 0.15%Ni) PSD type 4 with the novel paste flux and five variations of surface finishes, including
    • Organic solderability preservative (OSP) (MacDermid Enthone Entek Plus HT) using two thickness levels
    • Immersion tin (Ormecon CSN)
    • Immersion silver (MacDermid Enthone Sterling)
    • Electroless nickel/immersion gold (ENIG) (MacDermid Enthone Affinity).

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