In multi-layer printed wiring boards (PWBs), electrical connections between different layers are accomplished with plated through holes (PTHs). The reliability of the PTH barrel and the PTH-inner plane (IP) connection depends not only on the design but also on the conditions of manufacturing and assembly processes of the board. The concerns associated with manufacturing arise from drilling which heats up and smears the surrounding epoxy onto the copper inner plane surfaces and also from subsequent chemical hole-clean operations which desmear the drilled holes. Good adhesion of the PTH copper to the desmeared PTH wall and to the copper inner planes is important for the reliability of the PTHs during assembly and field service. PWB coupons consisting of resin-glass bundle areas as well as resin filled clearance areas surrounding the PTH have been considered for a series of experiments and tests. On these coupons, accelerated stress tests and failure analysis of the PTHs at the end of these tests have been conducted. An elasto-plastic finite element analysis of the PTH strains for a temperature excursion of 102°C has been carried out for signal PTHs without and with IP connections. A peel test, using a micro-mechanical tester, has also been carried out to assess the adhesion of PTH copper to different regions along the drilled hole. All of the testing techniques have been supplemented by suitable analytical techniques for studying the distribution of smear on the copper inner planes. A birefringence technique to estimate the temperature of the hole wall during drilling has been described. All of the fails observed during stress testing are in the form of cracks in the PTH barrel, the plane of the crack being perpendicular to the barrel axis. The cracks are localized near the glass bundle-resin rich interface. It has also been observed in the failure analysis that the PTH/IP connections are not susceptible to failure during the accelerated stress testing conditions considered. These observations are also supported by the results of stress analysis. The results of stress analysis show that the interior clearance holes show higher strains than those closer to board surfaces, suggesting that the PTH barrel failure is likely to occur at the clearance hole and that the likelihood of failure at the interior clearance holes is higher than those closer to the PWB surfaces. The results of the peel test reveal that in the glass bundle-resin regions, the adhesion along the PTH wall is determined by the mechanical interlocking between the plated copper and the glass bundles and is relatively insensitive to desmear operations. However, adhesion in the resin-rich areas is a strong function of the desmear operation, which enhances the adhesion of the PTH to the resin. Finally, it is shown that the birefringence technique may be used effectively to estimate the drilling temperature and, hence, the degree of smearing and PTH quality. It is concluded that while smear may play an important role in the failure of PTHs in PWBs, for thick packaging boards with high aspect ratio PTHs, the predominant failure mechanism is less likely to be smear related. Such a failure mechanism would be preceded by failure in the PTH barrels as a result of the large strain concentrations imposed at specific locations within the cross-section.
Evaluation of Smear and Its Effect on the Mechanical Integrity of Plated Through Hole-Inner Plane Interface in Thick Printed Wiring Boards
Contributed by the Electrical and Electronic Packaging Division for publication in the JOURNAL OF ELECTRONIC PACKAGING. Manuscript received by the EEPD July 1, 2000. Associate Editor: A. Dasgupta.
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Venkatraman, R., Ramakrishna, K., Knadle , K., Chen, W. T., and Haddon, G. C. (July 1, 2000). "Evaluation of Smear and Its Effect on the Mechanical Integrity of Plated Through Hole-Inner Plane Interface in Thick Printed Wiring Boards ." ASME. J. Electron. Packag. March 2001; 123(1): 6–15. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.1326437
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