The thermal cyclic shear stress/strain hysteresis response and associated steady-state creep parameters of 97Sn-3Cu solder joints have been determined using a beam specimen previously developed by Pao et al. (1992a). The solder joint was subjected to a 40-minute thermal cycling from 40°C to 140°C. A constitutive equation based on elastic and steady-state creep deformation for the solder has been formulated and implemented in a finite element program, ABAQUS, to model the experiment. The results show that the constitutive equation based on one single creep mechanism cannot fully account for the deformation during cooling, as opposed to the case of 90Pb-10Sn where the entire cyclic deformation can be well modeled by a similar constitutive equation (Pao et al., 1992c). This suggests that another creep mechanism is dominant for lower stresses and higher temperature. The thermal fatigue results show that the failure mechanism of 97Sn-3Cu joints is similar to that of 90Pb-10Sn joints, but the number of cycles to failure of 97Sn-Cu solder joints is at least 5 times longer than 90Pb-10Sn solder joints. This indicates the potential application of 97Sn-3Cu in place of 90Pb-10Sn solder.

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