The most frequent cause of failure for wireless, handheld, and portable consumer electronic products is an accidental drop to the ground. The impact may cause interfacial fracture of ball-grid-array solder joints. Existing metrology, such as ball shear and ball pull tests, cannot characterize the impact-induced high speed fracture failure. In this study, a mini-impact tester was utilized to measure the impact toughness and to characterize the impact reliability of both eutectic SnPb and SnAgCu solder joints. The annealing effect at 150 °C on the impact toughness was investigated, and the fractured surfaces were examined. The impact toughness of SnAgCu solder joints with the plating of electroless Ni/immersion Au (ENIG) became worse after annealing, decreasing from 10 or 11 mJ to 7 mJ. On the other hand, an improvement of the impact toughness of eutectic SnPb solder joints with ENIG was recorded after annealing, increasing from 6 or 10 to 15 mJ. Annealing has softened the bulk SnPb solder so that more plastic deformation can occur to absorb the impact energy.
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This study was supported by cooperation between Texas Instruments, Inc. and University of California at Los Angeles, and by a UC-Discovery Grant (Project No. ELE 03-10185). Special thanks go to the paper reviewers for their kind, helpful comments.
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Xu, Y., Ou, S., Tu, K. et al. Measurement of impact toughness of eutectic SnPb and SnAgCu solder joints in ball grid array by mini-impact tester. Journal of Materials Research 23, 1482–1487 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1557/JMR.2008.0186