National Physical Laboratory

Solder properties

The current increase in interest in lead-free soldering technologies is being driven by both legislation in the EC and commercial activities in Japan. In response to proposed EC legislation to ban the use of lead in electronics an industry survey was undertaken to produce a report on the Current Status of Lead-Free Soldering.

Solder joint creep test
Microstructure of SnAgCu after creep test. Bright areas are Sn-dentritic arms.
During the creeep test dendrites had been oriented in parallel bands (grains).

Lead-free soldering driven by strong environmental, legislative and technological pressures. UK electronics manufacturing companies, and in particular the 3500 plus small and medium enterprises (SME) within that sector, have an urgent need for data and guidance on how to implement and assess lead-free soldering technology.

NPL research aims to address these issues by providing UK industry with:

  • Widely available up to date information on the state-of-the-art
  • New test methods to aid development of lead-free microelectronics products
  • Best practice guides for the assembly of lead-free microelectronics products
Solder joint
SnAgCu and SnAg solder joint under creep test

This will be achieved by a combination of in-house testing and data generation utilising NPL's extensive track-proven experience and facilities in the area of testing of microelectronics assembly technologies. Due to the potential impact of any proposed legislation on the UK economy, widespread dissemination is a key objective of this research. Therefore the research will build upon and utilise NPL's established links with the UK microelectronics assembly industry, in particular through the 250 plus membership of the Soldering Science and Technology Club (SSTC), the 3000 plus circulation of Microelectronics News, and the Electronic Manufacturing Industry Forum (EMIF).

For more information: Chris Hunt

See also: Reliability and Cleanliness

Last Updated: 17 Apr 2014
Created: 17 Oct 2007