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Creep Corrosion of PWB Final Finishes: Its Cause and Prevention

Apr 08, 2021 | C. Xu, J. Smetana, J. Franey, G. Guerra, D. Fleming, W. Reents,

As the electronic industry moves to lead-free assembly and finer-pitch circuits, widely used printed wiring board (PWB) finish, SnPb HASL, has been replaced with lead-free and coplanar PWB finishes such as OSP, ImAg, ENIG, and ImSn. While SnPb HASL offers excellent corrosion protection of the underlying copper due to its thick coating and inherent corrosion resistance, the lead-free board finishes provide reduced corrosion protection to the underlying copper due to their very thin coating. For ImAg, the coating material itself can also corrode in more aggressive environments. This is an issue for products deployed in environments with high levels of sulfur containing pollutants encountered in the current global market. In those corrosive environments, creep corrosion has been observed and led to product failures in very short service life (1-5 years). Creep corrosion failures within one year of product deployment have also been reported. This has prompted an industry-wide effort to understand creep corrosion...

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