DfR Solutions Reliability Designed and Delivered

Underfill Applications, Materials & Methods


Underfill is thermoset epoxies traditionally used in flip chip applications to reduce thermal stresses solder bumps experience due to coefficient of thermal expansion mismatch between a die and the organic substrate. Today, underfills are available in a variety of formulations and are widely used for board level reliability of ball grid array components by reducing thermal and mechanical loads under harsh use environments. Careful consideration to the underfill material properties and intended use environments must be made to assess the relative reliability improvements underfills offer.

Topic: Electronics Reliability, Solder Joint Fatigue, solder joint, Mechanical Design, integrated circuits, Reliability Physics

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The movement to Pb-free soldering will result in solder joints that are significantly stiffer than those made of SnPb. This paper presents the results from the first phase of a two-part study to understand and compare the isothermal mechanical fatigue behavior of tin-silver-copper (SnAgCu) solder to that of tin-lead (SnPb) solder. A combination of experiments and finite element analysis was used to compare and predict the durability of SnPb and SnAgCu surface mount solder joints. The experiments were composed of cyclic four-point bend tests of printed wiring board coupons populated with 2512 sized resistors at 5 and 10 Hz. This configuration was chosen so the test would reflect actual electronic products and still be rapidly modeled using finite element analysis (FEA). This frequency should be sufficiently high to minimize solder creep during the testing. The board level strains were verified with strain gauges and the solder joint failures were detected using a high-speed event detector. Tests were conducted at two board level strain values and then modeled in FEA to determine the strains and stresses developed in the solder joint. This information was then used to determine the appropriate cyclic fatigue relationship for both SnAgCu and SnPb solder. The results indicate that at high board level strains SnPb solder out performs SnAgCu solder. However, at lower board level strains the SnAgCu solder out performed SnPb. The second phase of the study involves bend testing at even lower board level strains to characterize the high cycle fatigue behaviors of the solders.

Topic: Solder Joint Fatigue

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How to Accurately Assess PCB Warpage and Solder Joint Fatigue in QFN Packages

Industry interest in producing thinner and smaller integrated circuit (IC) packages to match the performance of chip scale packages has resulted in the wide application of quad flat no-lead (QFN) components. However, the small-form factor of QFN packages can place solder joints at risk of coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) mismatch, which can potentially lead to PCB warping and failure. To help mitigate this risk and accurately assess the fatigue life of solder interconnects in QFN packages, a predictive model incorporating the material and geometric parameters that influence solder joint fatigue should be used.

Topic: Physics of Failure, QFN Packages, Solder Joint Fatigue

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