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Evaluating the Mechanical Reliability of Ball Grid Array (BGA) Flexible Surface-Mount Electronics Packaging under Isothermal Ageing

Feb 12, 2015 | Sabuj Mallik, Ahmed Z El Mehdawi

Electronic systems are known to be affected by the environmental and mechanical conditions, such as humidity, temperature, thermal shocks and vibration. These adverse environmental operating conditions, with time, could degrade the mechanical efficiency of the system and might lead to catastrophic failures.

The aim of this study is to investigate the mechanical integrity of lead-free ball grid array (BGA) solder joints subjected to isothermal ageing at 150°C for up to 1000 hours. Upon ageing at 150°C the Sn-3.5Ag solder alloy initially age-softened for up to 200 hours. This behaviour was linked to the coarsening of grains. When aged beyond 200 hours the shear strength was found to increase up to 400 hours. This age-hardening was correlated with precipitation of hard Ag3Sn particles in Sn matrix. Further ageing resulted in gradual decrease in shear strength. This can be explained as the combined effect of precipitation coarsening and growth of intermetallic layer. The fractured surfaces of the broken solder balls were also investigated under a Scanning Electron Microscope. The shear failures were generally due to ductile fractures in bulk solders irrespective of the ageing time....

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