Controlling Moisture in Printed Circuit Boards

Published:

May 1, 2019

Author:

Bhanu Sood, Michael Pecht

Abstract:

Moisture can accelerate various failure mechanisms in printed circuit board assemblies. Moisture can be initially present in the epoxy glass prepreg, absorbed during the wet processes in printed circuit board manufacturing, or diffuse into the printed circuit board during storage. Moisture can reside in the resin, resin/glass interfaces, and micro-cracks or voids due to defects. Higher reflow temperatures associated with lead-free processing increase the vapor pressure, which can lead to higher amounts of moisture uptake compared to eutectic tin-lead reflow processes. In addition to cohesive or adhesive failures within the printed circuit board that lead to cracking and delamination, moisture can also lead to the creation of low impedance paths due to metal migration, interfacial degradation resulting in conductive filament formation, and changes in dimensional stability. Studies have shown that moisture can also reduce the glass-transition temperature and increase the dielectric constant, leading to a reduction in circuit switching speeds and an increase in propagation delay times.

This paper provides an overview of printed circuit board fabrication, followed by a brief discussion of moisture diffusion processes, governing models, and dependent variables. We then present guidelines for printed circuit board handling and storage during various stages of production and fabrication so as to mitigate moisture-induced failures....

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Company Information:

CALCE Center for Advanced Life Cycle Engineering

The largest electronic products research center focused on electronics reliability, is dedicated to providing a knowledge and resource base to support the development of competitive electronic components, products and systems.

College Park, Maryland, USA

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