There have been serious debates about whether Pb should be removed from solder joints, in view of environmental problems. These debates have now developed to the extent that a remarkable movement to establish regulations for the removal of Pb has emerged, especially in European countries and Japan. Therefore, many studies are aggressively being undertaken to develop technologies for replacing Sn-Pb solder with a lead-free alternative. From the results obtained so far, it has been proven that the fatigue strength in lead-free solder joints is almost equivalent to the fatigue strength of Sn-Pb eutectic solder joints. However, the other problem is that voids are easily formed in lead-free solder joints during the reflow process, and the effects of void formation on the fatigue strength of solder joints has attracted attention. In this study, the relationship between formation of voids and fatigue fracture mode and fatigue strength of solder joints was examined using FEM (finite element method) analysis and mechanical shear fatigue test. From the results of FEM analysis, it has been found that the equivalent plastic strain and shear strain of solder joints with voids are not always larger than those of solder joints without voids and the magnitude of the strains relate to the position and size of voids in solder joints. However, the difference of the strains is not so great as to affect the fatigue strength of solder joints. It has also been proven from the mechanical shear fatigue test that the fatigue fracture mode of solder joints with voids is similar to that of solder joints without voids and fatigue strength in both cases is also almost equivalent.

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