A better understanding of the mechanism and the interplay between phase separation and damage processes in elastically stressed solids is of big interest in material sciences. Various technological applications concerning the manufacturing and lifetime prediction of microelectronic devices are directly related to these phenomena. For example, solder joints in microelectronic packages connect the microchips to the circuit-boards and are, consequently, very critical components for the reliability engineering (see [LSC+04]). Solder materials usually consist of two or three component alloys whose aging process is influenced by temperature cycling. At high temperatures, solder alloys energetically favor one homogeneous phase consisting of a specific mixture of their chemical components. However, as soon as alloys are quenched sufficiently, phase separation or spinodal decomposition leads to fine-grained structures of different chemical compositions on a short time-scale.
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