Structural integrity in electronics

Plumbridge, W.J. and Kariya, Y. (2004). Structural integrity in electronics. Fatigue and Fracture of Engineering Materials and Structures, 27(8) pp. 723–734.



With continuing miniaturisation, increased performance demands and the requirement to remove lead from solder alloys, the challenges to structural integrity and reliability of electronic equipment are substantial and increasing. This paper outlines typical features in electronic equipment of which the structural integrity community may be generally unaware. Potential failure modes in service are described, and the problems of scale and material characteristics are considered. Progress in the application of fracture mechanics to the life prediction of interconnections is reviewed. The limited evidence available suggests that the crack growth resistance of silver-containing lead-free solders is superior to that of the traditional Sn-37Pb under cycle-controlled conditions but there is no difference when time-dependent conditions prevail. In several respects, it is contended that the electronics sector is faced with challenges at least equivalent to those encountered in gas turbines and nuclear power generation.

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