The ultimate life of a microelectronics component is often limited by failure of a solder joint due to crack growth through the laminate under a contact pad (cratering), through the intermetallic bond to the pad, or through the solder itself. Whatever the failure mode proper assessments or even relative comparisons of life in service are not possible based on accelerated testing with fixed amplitudes, or random vibration testing, alone. Effects of thermal cycling enhanced precipitate coarsening on the deformation properties can be accounted for by microstructurally adaptive constitutive relations, but separate effects on the rate of recrystallization lead to a break-down in common damage accumulation laws such as Miner's rule. Isothermal cycling of individual solder joints revealed additional effects of amplitude variations on the deformation properties that cannot currently be accounted for directly.
We propose a practical modification to Miner's rule for solder failure to circumvent this problem. Testing of individual solder pads, eliminating effects of the solder properties, still showed variations in cycling amplitude to systematically reduce subsequent acceleration factors for solder pad cratering. General trends, anticipated consequences and remaining research needs are discussed.
SMTA - Surface Mount Technology Association is a non-profit international association of companies and individuals (totalling 4,000) involved in all aspects of advanced electronics assembly, surface mount and related technologies.
IPC - Association Connecting Electronics Industries is a US-based trade association dedicated to the competitive excellence and financial success of its nearly 2,600 member companies which represent all facets of the electronic interconnection industry, including design, printed wiring board manufacturing and electronics assembly.