This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Mechanical Properties and Microstructure Investigation of Sn-Ag-Cu Lead Free Solder for Electronic Package Applications




Wang, Qing

Type of Degree



Electrical and Computer Engineering


While the electronics industry appears to be focusing on Sn-Ag-Cu as the alloy of choice for lead free electronics assembly, the exact Composition varies by geographic region, supplier and user. Add to that dissolved copper and silver from the printed circuit board traces and surface finish, and there can be significant variation in the final solder joint composition. A systematic study of the mechanical and microstructural properties of Sn-Ag-Cu alloys with Ag varying from 2wt% to 4wt% and Cu varying from 0.5wt% to 1.5wt%, was investigated in this research study. Different sample preparation techniques (water quenched, oil quenched and water quenched followed by reflow) were explored and the resulting microstructure compared to that of a typical reflowed lead free chip scale package (CSP) solder joint. Tensile properties such as tensile strength, 0.2% yield strength and the ultimate tensile strength and creep behavior of selected alloy compositions (Sn-4Ag-1.5Cu, Sn-4Ag-0.5Cu, Sn-2Ag-1.5Cu, Sn-2Ag-0.5Cu, Sn-3.5Ag-0.8Cu) were performed for three conditions: as-cast; aged for 100 hours at 125 C; and aged for 250 hours at 125 C. The microstructures of these alloys were examined using light and scanning electron microscopy (LM and SEM) respectively and SEM based energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (EDS). Fracture surface and cross-section analysis were performed on the specimens after creep testing. The creep testing results and the effect of high temperature aging on mechanical properties will also be presented for the oil quenched samples. A hyperbolic-sine creep model was adopted and used to fit the creep experiment data. The effect of adding the quaternary element bismuth to the Sn-3.5Ag-0.8Cu alloy on the mechanical properties was measured and compared with the mechanical properties of the ternary alloys. The results of this research study provide necessary data for the modeling of solder joint reliability for a range of Sn-Ag-Cu compositions and a baseline for evaluating the effects of subsequent quaternary additions.