Strength of soldered joints formed under microgravity conditions

B. Thomas, A. Atkinson, R.J. Dashwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Experiments have been carried out to compare the mechanical strength of joints soldered with Sn-Ag-Cu under different gravitational conditions. Joints soldered under microgravity (produced during a parabolic flight) have lower strength (by 32% in this case) than similar joints formed under normal gravity. Electron microscopy has shown that this is due to a larger volume of residual porosity (14%) in the joints formed in microgravity compared with <1% for joints formed in normal gravity. The residual porosity in joints formed in microgravity is mainly within the bulk of the solder, with some microporosity in the Cu6Sn5 intermetallic layer near the copper interfaces. The porosity not only weakens the joint, but also biases the failure path away from the intermetallic layer and into the bulk of the solder. These observations show that gravitational buoyancy is important for the expulsion of flux and flux residues from soldered joints.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Electronic Materials
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jan 2007


  • Solder
  • strength
  • microgravity


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