The effects of aging, strain range, hold time at maximum strain and temperature on the isothermal fatigue life of bulk 63Sn-37Pn solder samples over the total strain range (Δ εT) from 0.3 to 3.0 percent (tension-tension) and within the temperature range of 25° C to 100° C were studied. The cycles to failure (Nf) were defined as the number of cycles at which the ratio of the maximum tensile stress to the maximum compressive stress starts to drop appreciably. Fatigue life increases rapidly after a day or two of aging after heat treatment at 150° C for 2 hours followed by air cooling but levels off after a week. The log of fatigue life decreases linearly with increasing log of plastic strain range above Δ εT = 0.6 percent. Hold time at maximum strain dramatically decreases the cycles to failure, however, an increase of hold time more than a few minutes eventually leads to a constant Nf. Temperature variation from 25°C to 100° C was found to have little effect on the fatigue life of the solder in tests with and without hold time. Separation of Pb-rich and Sn-rich phases and cracking of the Sn-rich phases are the main modes of fracture under all conditions used. Damage is concentrated along crisscrossing shear bands oriented approximately 45 deg to the load direction.

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