The primary objective of the research presented in this paper is to qualify the reliability of mixed assemblies by comparing them to the conventional Sn–Pb assembly and completely Pb-free assembly. The research investigates both forward and backward compatibility in electronic assemblies using a design of experiments (DOE) approach. The investigation utilized a test vehicle containing an area array component (BGA169) and chip components (0603 resistors). Hot air solder leveling (HASL) and organic solderability preservative (OSP) surface finishes were used on the test vehicles to represent Sn–Pb and Pb-free alternatives, respectively. The assembled test vehicles were cut into two panels—one containing a resistor section for isothermal aging and the other containing a BGA and another resistor section for thermal shock. The assemblies were subjected to isothermal aging and thermal shock tests as per Interconnecting and Packaging Electronic Circuits/Joint Electronic Device Engineering Council (IPC/JEDEC) standards. The resistors were sheared in the “as-soldered” condition, and at various isothermal aging intervals and thermal shock cycles. In order to simulate an intermetallic failure in isothermal aging, a reduced shear height (20 m) was used for the shear test. The performance of the resistor solder joints were quantified in terms of the shear force. The performance of the ball grid array (BGA) solder joint during thermal shock testing was quantified in terms of the number of cycles to failure. Experimental results from shear analysis of resistor solder joints show that Pb-free alloy assemblies’ performance is superior to those assembled using Sn–Pb alloy. Also, the ductile nature of the Sn–Ag–Cu (SAC) alloy provides the joints a better fatigue life. With the area array components, Pb-free assembly joints outlived the traditional Sn–Pb joints when subjected to thermal shock loading. Among the mixed assemblies, backward-compatible assemblies (Pb-free bumps and Sn–Pb solder alloy) showed superior performance. The microstructural analysis of the solder joints indicate a uniform distribution of lead in the solder joint matrix

Publication Date



©2007 IEEE. Personal use of this material is permitted. However, permission to reprint/republish this material for advertising or promotional purposes or for creating new collective works for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or to reuse any copyrighted component of this work in other works must be obtained from the IEEE.Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works in February 2014.

Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering Technology (CAST)


RIT – Main Campus