The Effect of Micro-Alloying of Sn Plating on Mitigation of Sn Whisker Growth
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Tin (Sn) is a key industrial material in coatings on various components in the electronics industry. However, Sn is prone to the development of filament-like whiskers, which is the leading cause of many types of damage to electronics reported in the last several decades. Due to its properties, a tin-lead (Sn-Pb) alloy coating can mitigate Sn whisker growth. However, the demand for Pb-free surface finishes has rekindled interest in the Sn whisker phenomenon. In order to achieve properties similar to those naturally developed in a Sn-Pb alloy coating, we carried out a study on deposited films with other Sn alloys, such as tin-bismuth (Sn-Bi), tin-zinc (Sn-Zn), and tin-copper (Sn-Cu), electrodeposited onto a brass substrate by utilizing a pulse plating technique. The results indicated that the Sn alloy films modified the columnar grain structure of pure Sn into an equiaxed grain structure and increased the incubation period of Sn whisker growth. The primary conclusions were based on analysis of the topography and microstructural characteristics in each case, as well as the stress distribution in the plated films computed by x-ray diffraction, and the␣amount of Sn whisker growth in each case, over 6 months under various environmental influences.
KeywordsSn whisker XRD stress analysis micro-alloying of Sn Sn plating Pb-free equiaxed grain structure
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