PurposeAn investigation has been performed on the improved solder wettability of oxidized aluminum (Al) with lead-free solder (96.5Sn-3.5Ag) using Ar-H2 plasmas. The lead-free solder wettability was raised from 62.2 per cent wetting for Al oxidized in air at 250 C for 4 h to 98.4 per cent wetting of oxidized Al modified by Ar-H2 plasmas at a certain H2 flow rate. This study aims to gain insight on the surface characteristics of Al affecting the solder wettability with a liquid lead-free solder.Design/methodology/approachAr-H2 plasmas at certain H2 flow rates are intended to reduce Al oxides on the surfaces of oxidized Al substrates both by physical bombardments via Ar plasmas and chemical reductions with H2 plasmas, while Al substrates are exposed in Ar-H2 plasmas to improve the solder wettability with a liquid lead-free solder.FindingsSurface characteristics of oxidized Al substrates have been identified to play key roles for enhanced lead-free solder wettability using Ar-H2 plasmas. A decrease in polar surface free energy and an increase in dispersive surface free energy on the surfaces of oxidized Al substrates are exploited to advance the lead-free solder wettability. Decreased composition ratios of O to Al, detected by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) for oxidized Al substrates, are crucial for improved lead-free solder wettability.Originality/valueXPS is typically used to analyze the surface compositions of Al oxides. To provide a rapid and non-expansive method to identify the surfaces of Al substrates prior to soldering to assure lead-free solder wettability, this study proposes a measurable skill, a so-called sessile drop test method, to investigate surface free energies such as total, polar and dispersive surface free energy on the surfaces of Al substrates, to illuminate how the lead-free solder wettability of oxidized Al is improved by Ar-H2 plasmas.
Soldering & Surface Mount Technology – Emerald Publishing
Published: Feb 5, 2018
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