Development of Pb-Free Nanocomposite Solder Alloys
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As an alternative to conventional Pb-containing solder material, Sn–Ag–Cu (SAC) based alloys are at the forefront despite limitations associated with relatively poor strength and coarsening of grains/intermetallic compounds (IMCs) during aging/reflow. Accordingly, this study examines the improvement of properties of SAC alloys by incorporating nanoparticles in it. Two different types of nanoparticles were added in monolithic SAC alloy: (1) Al2O3 or (2) Fe and their effect on microstructure and thermal properties were investigated. Addition of Fe nanoparticles leads to the formation of FeSn2 IMCs alongside Ag3Sn and Cu6Sn5 from monolithic SAC alloy. Addition of Al2O3 nano-particles do not contribute to phase formation, however, remains dispersed along primary β-Sn grain boundaries and act as a grain refiner. As the addition of either Fe or Al2O3 nano-particles do not make any significant effect on thermal behavior, these reinforced nanocomposites are foreseen to provide better mechanical characteristics with respect to conventional monolithic SAC solder alloys.
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