Reliability of electronic assemblies at board level and solder joint integrity depend upon the stress applied to the assembly. The stress is often of thermomechanical or of vibrational nature. In both cases, the behavior of the assembly is strongly influenced by the mechanical boundary conditions created by the printed circuit board (PCB) to casing fasteners. In many previously published papers, the conditions imposed to the fasteners are mostly aiming at an increase of the fundamental frequency and a decrease of static or dynamic displacement values characterizing the deformation. These conditions aim at reducing the fatigue in different parts of these assemblies. In the photomechanics laboratory of INSA Rouen, the origins of solder joint failure have been investigated by means of full-field measurements of the flexure deformation induced by vibrations or by forced thermal convection. The measurements were done both at a global level for the whole printed circuit board assembly (PCBA) and at a local level at the solder joints where failure was reported. The experimental technique used was phase-stepped laser speckle interferometry. This technique has a submicrometer sensitivity with respect to out-of-plane deformations induced by bending and its use is completely nonintrusive. Some of the results were comforted by comparison with a numerical finite elements model. The experimental results are presented either as time-average holographic fringe patterns, as in the case of vibrations, or as wrapped phase patterns, as in the case of deformation under thermomechanical stress. Both types of fringe patterns may be processed so as to obtain the explicit out-of-plane static deformation (or vibration amplitude) maps. Experimental results show that the direct cause of solder joint failure may be a high local PCB curvature produced by a supplementary fastening screw intended to reduce displacements and increase fundamental frequency. The curvature is directly responsible for tensile stress appearing in the leads of a large quad flat pack (QFP) component and for shear in the corresponding solder joints. The general principle of increasing the fundamental frequency and decreasing the static or dynamic displacement values has to be checked against the consequences on the PCB curvature near large electronic devices having high stiffness.

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