Underfilling will almost certainly improve the performance of an area array assembly in drop, vibration, etc. However, depending on the selection of materials, the thermal fatigue life may easily end up worse than without an underfill. This is even more true for lead free than for eutectic SnPb soldered assemblies. If reworkability is required, the bonding of the corners or a larger part of the component edges to the printed circuit board (PCB), without making contact with the solder joints, may offer a more attractive materials selection. A 30 mm flip chip ball grid array (FCBGA) component with SAC305 solder balls was attached to a PCB and tested in thermal cycling with underfills and corner/edge bonding reinforcements. Two corner bond materials and six reworkable and nonreworkable underfills with a variety of mechanical properties were considered. All of the present underfills reduced the thermal cycling performance, while edge bonding improved it by up to 50%. One set of the FCBGAs was assembled with a SnPb paste and underfilled with a soft reworkable underfill. Surprisingly, this improved the thermal cycling performance slightly beyond that of the nonunderfilled assemblies, providing up to three times better life than for those assembled with a SAC305 paste.

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