Al and Si Alloying Effect on Solder Joint Reliability in Sn-0.5Cu for Automotive Electronics
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To suppress the bonding strength degradation of solder joints in automotive electronics, we proposed a mid-temperature quaternary Pb-free Sn-0.5Cu solder alloy with minor Pd, Al, Si and Ge alloying elements. We manufactured powders and solder pastes of Sn-0.5Cu-(0.01,0.03)Al-0.005Si-(0.006–0.007)Ge alloys (T m = 230°C), and vehicle electronic control units used for a flame-retardant-4 printed circuit board with an organic solderability preservative finish were assembled by a reflow soldering process. To investigate the degradation properties of solder joints used in engine compartments, thermal cycling tests were conducted from −40°C to 125°C (10 min dwell) for 1500 cycles. We also measured the shear strength of the solder joints in various components and observed the microstructural evolution of the solder joints. Based on these results, intermetallic compound (IMC) growth at the solder joints was suppressed by minor Pd, Al and Si additions to the Sn-0.5Cu alloy. After 1500 thermal cycles, IMC layers thicknesses for 100 parts per million (ppm) and 300 ppm Al alloy additions were 6.7 μm and 10 μm, compared to the as-reflowed bonding thicknesses of 6 μm and 7 μm, respectively. Furthermore, shear strength degradation rates for 100 ppm and 300 ppm Al(Si) alloy additions were at least 19.5%–26.2%. The cause of the improvement in thermal cycling reliability was analyzed using the (Al,Cu)-Sn, Si-Sn and Al-Sn phases dispersed around the Cu6Sn5 intermetallic at the solder matrix and bonding interfaces. From these results, we propose the possibility of a mid-temperature Sn-0.5Cu(Pd)-Al(Si)-Ge Pb-free solder for automotive engine compartment electronics.
KeywordsAutomotive electronics Pb-free solder joint degradation end-of-life vehicles (ELV)
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