A thermo-mechanical loading system, which can superimpose a temperature and location dependent strain on solder joints, is proposed in order to conduct highly accelerated thermal-mechanical cycling (HATC) tests to assess thermal fatigue reliability of Ball Grid Array (BGA) solder joints in microelectronics packages. The application of this temperature and position dependent strain produces generally similar loading modes (shear and tension) encountered by BGA solder joints during service, but substantially enhances the inelastic strain accumulated during thermal cycling over the same temperature range as conventional ATC (accelerated thermal cycling) tests, thereby leading to a substantial acceleration of low-cycle fatigue damage. Finite element analysis was conducted to aid the design of experimental apparatus and to predict the fatigue life of solder joints in HATC testing. Detailed analysis of the loading locations required to produce failure at the appropriate joint (next to the die-edge ball) under the appropriate tension/shear stress partition are presented. The simulations showed that the proposed HATC test constitutes a valid methodology for further accelerating conventional ATC tests. An experimental apparatus, capable of applying the requisite loads to a BGA package was constructed, and experiments were conducted under both HATC and ATC conditions. It is shown that HATC proffers much reduced cycling times compared to ATC.

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