Three-dimensional (3D) visualization of reflow porosity and modeling of deformation in Pb-free solder joints

M. A. Dudek, L. Hunter, S. Kranz, J. J. Williams, S. H. Lau, Nikhilesh Chawla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


The volume, size, and dispersion of porosity in solder joints are known to affect mechanical performance and reliability. Most of the techniques used to characterize the three-dimensional (3D) nature of these defects are destructive. With the enhancements in high resolution computed tomography (CT), the detection limits of intrinsic microstructures have been significantly improved. Furthermore, the 3D microstructure of the material can be used in finite element models to understand their effect on microscopic deformation. In this paper we describe a technique utilizing high resolution (< 1 μm) X-ray tomography for the three-dimensional (3D) visualization of pores in Sn-3.9Ag-0.7Cu/Cu joints. The characteristics of reflow porosity, including volume fraction and distribution, were investigated for two reflow profiles. The size and distribution of porosity size were visualized in 3D for four different solder joints. In addition, the 3D virtual microstructure was incorporated into a finite element model to quantify the effect of voids on the lap shear behavior of a solder joint. The presence, size, and location of voids significantly increased the severity of strain localization at the solder/copper interface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)433-439
Number of pages7
JournalMaterials Characterization
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2010


  • 3D materials science
  • Finite element method (FEM)
  • Porosity
  • X-ray tomography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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