Thermal cycling of lead-free Sn-3.8Ag-0.7Cu 388PBGA packages
Journal article, 2009

Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to assess the effect of different temperature cycling profiles on the reliability of lead-free 388 plastic ball grid array (PBGA) packages and to deeply understand crack initiation and propagation. Design/methodology/approach - Temperature cycling of Sn-3.8Ag-0.7Cu PBGA packages was carried out at two temperature profiles, the first ranging between - 55 degrees C and 100 degrees C (TC1) and the second between 0 degrees C and 100 degrees C (TC2). Crack initiation and propagation was analyzed periodically and totally 7,000 cycles were run for TO and 14,500 for TC2. Finite element modeling (FEM), for the analysis of strain and stress, was used to corroborate the experimental results. Findings - The paper finds that TC1 had a characteristic life of 5,415 cycles and TC2 of 14,094 cycles, resulting in an acceleration factor of 2.6 between both profiles. Cracks were first visible for TC1, after 2,500 cycles, and only after 4,000 cycles for TC2. The crack propagation rate was faster for TC1 compared to TC2, and faster at the package side compared to the substrate side. The difference in crack propagation rate between the package side and substrate side was much larger for TC1 compared to TC2. Cracks developed first at the package side, and were also larger compared to the substrate side. The Cu tracks on the substrate side affected the crack propagation sites and behaved as SMD. All cracks propagated through the solder and crack propagation was mainly intergranular. Crack propagation was very random and did not follow the distance to neutral point (DNP) theory. FEM corroborated the experimental results, showing both the same critical location of highest creep strain and the independence of DNP. Originality/value - Such extensive work on the reliability assessment of Pb-free 388 PBGA packages has never been performed. This work also corroborates the results from other studies showing the difference in behavior between Pb-free and Pb-containing alloys.


Stress (materials)



Thermal testing

Finite element analysis


Cristina Andersson

Chalmers, Applied Physics, Electronics Material and Systems

B. Vandevelde

Interuniversity Micro-Electronics Center at Leuven

C. Noritake

Interuniversity Micro-Electronics Center at Leuven

Peng Sun

Shanghai University


Per-Erik Tegehall


Dag R. Andersson


G. Wetter


Johan Liu

Chalmers, Applied Physics, Electronics Material and Systems

Soldering and Surface Mount Technology

0954-0911 (ISSN) 17586836 (eISSN)

Vol. 21 2 28-38

Subject Categories

Materials Engineering



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