An Investigation of Microstructure and Microhardness of Sn-Cu and Sn-Ag Solders as Functions of Alloy Composition and Cooling Rate

The microstructure and microhardness of Sn-xAg and Sn-xCu solders were investigated as functions of alloy composition and cooling rate. The Ag compositions examined varied from 0.5 to 3.5 wt %, while Cu varied from 0.5 to 2.0 wt %. Three cooling rates were employed during solidification; 0.02 °C/s (furnace-cooling), about 10 °C/s (air-cooling), and 100 °C/s or higher (rapid-solidification). Sn grain size and orientation were observed by cross polarization light microscopy and Electron Backscattering Diffraction (EBSD) techniques. The microhardness was measured to correlate the mechanical properties with alloy compositions and cooling rates. From this study, it was found that both alloy composition and cooling rate can significantly affect the Sn grain size and hardness in Sn-rich solders. The critical factors that affect the microstructure-property relationships of Sn-rich solders are discussed, which include grain size, crystal orientation, dendrite cells, twin boundaries, intermetallic compounds (IMC), among others.

By: Sun-Kyoung Seo; Sung K. Kang; Da-Yuan Shih; Hyuck Mo Lee

Published in: Journal of Electronic Materials, volume 38, (no 2), pages 257-65 in 2009

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