Lead free solders are renowned as interconnects in electronic packaging due to their relatively high melting point, attractive mechanical properties, thermal cycling reliability, and environment friendly chemical properties. The mechanical behavior of lead free solders is highly dependent on the operating temperature. Previous investigations on mechanical characterization of lead free solders have mainly emphasized stress-strain and creep testing at temperatures up to 125 °C. However, electronic devices, sometimes, experience harsh environment applications including well drilling, geothermal energy, automotive power electronics, and aerospace engines where solders are exposed to very high temperatures from 125–200 °C. Mechanical properties of lead free solders at elevated temperatures are limited.
In this work, we have investigated the mechanical behavior SAC305 (96.5Sn-3.0Ag-0.5Cu) and SAC_Q (SAC+Bi) lead free solders at extreme high temperatures up to 200 °C. Stress-strain tests were performed on reflowed uniaxial specimens at four elevated temperatures (T = 125, 150, 175, and 200 °C). In addition, changes of the mechanical behavior of these alloys due to isothermal aging at T = 125 °C have been studied. Extreme care has been taken during specimen preparation so that the fabricated solder uniaxial test specimens accurately reflect the solder material microstructures present in actual lead free solder joints.
High temperature tensile properties of the solders including initial modulus, yield stress, and ultimate tensile strength have been compared. As expected, our results show substantial degradations of the mechanical properties of lead-free solders at higher temperatures. With prior aging, these degradations become even more significant. Comparison of the results has shown that the addition of Bi to traditional SAC alloys improves their high temperature properties and significantly reduces their aging induced degradations.