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Development of an in-situ, non-destructive ultrasonic monitoring technique for solder pastes

By Anton Seman, Ndy Ekere, Stuart J. Ashenden, Sabuj Mallik, Antony Marks and Rajkumar Durairaj


This paper concerns the use of a non-destructive ultrasonic technique for characterising the rheological properties of solder paste and specifically, the use of through-mode microsecond ultrasonic pulses for evaluation of viscoelastic properties of paste materials at the molecular level. Ultrasonic techniques are a widely used and a reliable form of non-destructive testing of materials. This is because techniques such as ultrasounds while used for testing or monitoring material properties, has offered immense benefits in applications where access to the sample is restricted or when handling the sample for testing could interfere with the monitoring or analysis process. Very often, this would mean that the measurements taken are not a true representation of the behaviour of the material (due to externally incorporated changes into the material's physical state during the removal or testing process). Ultrasonic based techniques are being increasingly used for quality control and production monitoring functions which requires evaluation of the changes in material properties over wide range of industrial applications such as cement paste quality, plastic/polymer extrusion process, dough, and even sugar content in beverage drinks. In addition, ultrasound techniques are of great interest for their capacity to take rapid measurements in systems which are optically opaque. The viscometer and rheometer are two of the most widely used rheological instruments used in industry for monitoring the quality of solder pastes, during the production and packaging stage. One of the potential limitations of viscometer and rheometer based measurements is that the collection and preparation of the solder paste samples can irreversibly alter the structure and flow behaviour of the sample. Hence the measurement may not represent the actual quality of the whole production batch. Secondly, rheological measurements and the interpretation of rheological data is a very technical and time consuming process, which requires professionally trained R&D personnel. It is for these reasons that materials suppliers (who formulate and produce solder pastes) and solder paste consumers (especially, contract electronics manufacturers) are keen to see the development of simple, easy to use and accurate techniques for the theological characterisation of solder pastes. The results from the work show that the technique can be used by R&D personnel involved in paste formulation and manufacture to monitor the batch-to-batch quality and consistency

Topics: T1, TS, TK
Publisher: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Year: 2008
DOI identifier: 10.1109/estc.2008.4684351
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