In development of surface mount technology for Ball Grid Array (BGA) or flip-chip assemblies, it is important to reduce stress concentration in solder joints as it is immediately effective in improving the fatigue life of the assembly. Thus, the ability to predict and control the joint geometries is critical to obtaining robust and reliable designs of interconnects. Other than the issue of the bump shape, there are many problems concerning soldering such as bridging or self-alignment in which surface tension is definitely involved. This paper attempts to apply the FEM approach in solving these problems. Rigid-plastic FEM which is based on iteration for the velocity field in an incompressible viscous fluid is an approach to large deformation analysis. The flow stress is described by the viscosity of the fluid and the strain rate. By introducing an automatic mesh updating procedure, transient problems with free boundary can be treated. We applied this concept to the prediction of solder joint shapes. In this kind of problem, effects of surface tension dominate. Since surface tension is a distributed load that depends on surface curvature, we employed 2D and 3D methods in which the load is updated based on instantaneous state of surface. To verify the accuracy of this method, we analyzed some shape and stability problems of liquid drops for which theoretical solutions were given. Practical applications of the method were also performed for the 2D and 3D solder joint problems, and the results showed a good agreement with experimental ones.

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