Sn-15Bi solid solution solder provides a potential replacement for Sn-40Pb solder due to lower cost and similar melting point. Sn-15Bi solder was compared with Sn-40Pb solder to assess the microstructure, wettability, bulk tensile properties, interfacial microstructures in solder joints with a Cu substrate, the interfacial evolution in joints during isothermal aging, and the shear strength on ball solder joints with the effect of aging conditions. The microstructure of Sn-15Bi bulk solder was composed of the primary β-Sn phase with Bi in solid solution and with precipitated Bi phases along the grain boundaries. The wettability of solder alloys was evaluated with wetting balance testing, and the results showed that Sn-15Bi solder had a lower wetting force and longer wetting time than Sn-40Pb solder. The poorer wettability of Sn-15Bi solder was not influenced by different types of soldering flux, but improved with increasing temperature. Tensile tests on bulk solder alloys indicated that Sn-15Bi solder had a higher tensile strength but lower elongation than Sn-40Pb solder. Also, the tensile strength of Sn-Bi solder decreased with decreasing strain rate and with increasing temperature, while the elongation of Sn-Bi solder was independent of the temperature and strain rate. In as-soldered joints, Sn-15Bi solder produced a thicker Cu6Sn5 layer than Sn-40Pb solder. Following isothermal aging, the thickness of the interfacial Cu-Sn intermetallic compound (IMC) increased with the aging time, and the growth rate of the IMC layer in Sn-15Bi solder joints was slightly higher than that in Sn-40Pb solder joints during aging. Ball shear test on solder joints illustrated that Sn-15Bi solder joint had a higher shear strength than Sn-40Pb solder joint, and that with increased aging time, the solder became stronger due to precipitation of Bi, leading to a change in the fracture mode from ductile failure in the solder to brittle fracture at the IMC interface.
The authors would like to acknowledge the support provided by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 51875269) and the Postgraduate Research & Practice Innovation Program of Jiangsu Province (Grant No. SJCX18_0760).
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.