Investigations of interfacial reactions of Sn-Zn based and Sn-Ag-Cu lead-free solder alloys as replacement for Sn-Pb solder

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-144
Journal / PublicationJournal of Alloys and Compounds
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2005


The interfacial reactions of Sn-Zn based solders and a Sn-Ag-Cu solder have been compared with a eutectic Sn-Pb solder. During reflow soldering different types of intermetallic compounds (IMCs) are found at the interface. The morphologies of these IMCs are quite different for different solder compositions. As-reflowed, the growth rates of IMCs in the Sn-Zn based solder are higher than in the Sn-Ag-Cu and Sn-Pb solders. Different types of IMCs such as γ-Cu5Zn8, β-CuZn and a thin unknown Cu-Zn layer are formed in the Sn-Zn based solder but in the cases of Cu/Sn-Pb and Cu/Sn-Ag-Cu solder systems Cu6Sn5 IMC layers are formed at the interface. Cu6Sn5 and Cu3Sn interfacial IMCs are formed in the early stages of 10 min reflow due to the limited supply of Sn from the Sn-Pb solder. The spalling of Cu-Sn IMCs is observed only in the Sn-Ag-Cu solder. The size of Zn platelets is increased with an increase of reflow time for the Cu/Sn-Zn solder system. In the case of the Sn-Zn-Bi solder, there is no significant increase in the Zn-rich phases with extended reflow time. Also, Bi offers significant effects on the wetting, the growth rate of IMCs as well as on the size and distribution of Zn-rich phases in the β-Sn matrix. No Cu-Sn IMCs are found in the Sn-Zn based solder during 20 min reflow. The consumption of Cu by the solders are ranked as Sn-Zn-Bi > Sn-Ag-Cu > Sn-Zn > Sn-Pb. Despite the higher Cu-consumption rate, Bi-containing solder may be a promising candidate for a lead-free solder in modern electronic packaging taking into account its lower soldering temperature and material costs. © 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Research Area(s)

  • Dissolution of Cu, Intermetallics, Sn-Ag-Cu solder, Sn-Zn based solders

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