The out-of-plane displacement field around two plated holes with different pad diameters in an FR-4 printed wiring board was measured for a single 30°C–210°C–30°C temperature cycle using electro-optic holographic interferometry. At the end of the temperature cycle, the outside edge of the pad was raised above the level of the laminate and the inside edge was depressed below the level of the laminate. This indicates that the barrel is plastically deformed in compression to a total strain of approximately 0.58–0.66 percent which is well above typical yield strains of 0.2 percent. The smaller diameter pad was inclined more than the large diameter pad, but the residual compressive strain in the barrel was roughly the same. Both the residual compressive strain and the inward inclination of the pad are in conflict with the predictions of most finite element models of plated hole deformation. However, there were cracks at the pad-barrel interface which are not included in finite element models. The residual compressive deformation of the barrel is attributed to inelastic deformation of the FR-4 matrix at the high end of the thermal cycle. The stress in the barrel was estimated using an approximate elastic analysis of pad deflections. The estimated stress for different hole diameters for the same pad diameter was roughly proportional to the ratio of their barrel plating cross-sectional areas for a 30–150°C temperature change. The elastic analysis is shown to predict (unrealistic) tensile barrel stresses at the end of the full temperature cycle.

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