Microstructure, kinetic analysis and hardness of Sn-Ag-Cu-1 wt% nano-ZrO2 composite solder on OSP-Cu pads

Asit Kumar Gain, Tama Fouzder, Y. C. Chan, Kam Chuen Yung

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

87 Citations (Scopus)


Nano-sized, nonreacting, noncoarsening ZrO2particle-reinforced Sn-Ag-Cu composite solders were prepared by mechanically dispersing ZrO2nano-particles into Sn-Ag-Cu solder and the interfacial morphology between the solder and organic solderability preservative (OSP)-Cu pads were characterized metallographically. At their interfaces, island-shaped Cu6Sn5and Cu3Sn intermetallic compound (IMC) layers were found in solder joints with and without the ZrO2particles and the IMC layer thickness was substantially increased with reaction time and temperature. In the solder ball region, needle-shaped Ag3Sn and spherically-shaped Cu6Sn5IMC particles were found to be uniformly distributed in the β-Sn matrix. However, after the addition of ZrO2nano-particles, Ag3Sn and Cu6Sn5IMC particles appeared with a fine microstructure and retarded the growth rate of the IMC layers at their interfaces. From a kinetic analysis, the calculated activation energies for the total (Cu6Sn5+ Cu3Sn) IMC layers for Sn-Ag-Cu and Sn-Ag-Cu-1 wt% ZrO2composite solder joints on OSP-Cu pads were about 53.2 and 59.5 kJ/mol, respectively. In addition, solder joints containing ZrO2nano-particles displayed higher hardness due to the uniform distribution of ZrO2nano-particles as well as the refined IMC particles. The hardness values of the plain Sn-Ag-Cu solder joint and solder joints containing 1 wt% of ZrO2nano-particles after 5 min reaction at 250 °C were about 15.0 Hv and 17.1 Hv, respectively. On the other hand, their hardness values after 30 min reaction were about 13.7 Hv and 15.5 Hv, respectively.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3319-3325
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Alloys and Compounds
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2011


  • Hardness
  • Kinetics analysis
  • Microstructure
  • Nano doping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Materials Chemistry
  • Metals and Alloys


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