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Industry Standard Test for Pb-Free Alloys
Industry Standard Test for Pb-Free Alloys
This paper describes the progress of recent efforts by several groups to standardize lead-free solder alloy testing requirements.
Analysis Lab

Authored By:
Gregory Henshall, Aileen Allen, Elizabeth Benedetto
Helen Holder, Jian Miremadi, Kris Troxel
Hewlett-Packard Co.
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Recently, the industry has seen the development of a wide range of new Pb-free alloys. A significant element of uncertainty within the industry regarding these new alloys is the lack of defined data requirements for alloy acceptance.

This paper describes the progress of recent efforts to standardize Pb-free solder alloy testing requirements. Hewlett-Packard, the iNEMI consortium, the Solder Products Value Council, and the IPC are working together to create such standards. To facilitate the standardization of alloy testing, the required tests are divided into three major areas, each of which may be covered by a separate standard.
  • Material properties
  • Solder joint reliability
  • Impact to manufacturing processes

This paper presents the status of standardization efforts in each of these three areas.
The need has been seen by HP, iNEMI, the SPVC and IPC for standardized methods for testing new Pb-free alloys. These groups agree that input from all segments of industry are needed: solder suppliers, CMs, BGA component manufacturers, OEMs. A consensus is starting to build for the following.
  • Standards are needed in three areas: (1) basic material physical and mechanical properties, (2) solder joint reliability, and (3) impact of alloy composition on manufacturing processes.

  • Tests are needed that minimize the effects of materials other than the alloys themselves (fluxes, laminates, etc.) or processing equipment, such that the resulting data are portable and useful to OEMs in making acceptability decisions for their products.
HP has taken the lead in driving standardization of alloy testing methods. To date, HP has released test requirements specifications for wave/miniwave solders and BGA ball alloys. Release of a specification for reflow solder paste alloys is expected in February 2010. These specifications are being used as a starting point for the iNEMI Pb-Free Alloy Characterization team in the development of guidelines for the broader industry.

In parallel with iNEMI, the SPVC is helping to lead the development of industry-wide standards. This group has met with the iNEMI Pb-Free Alloy Characterization team and others, has drafted standards for basic material properties and reliability testing, and has submitted a draft of the former document to the IPC. The IPC is considering creation of formal industry standards based on input from the SPVC, iNEMI, and individual companies, such as HP.
Initially Published in the IPC Proceedings
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