Impact of Thermal Aging on the Microstructure Evolution and Mechanical Properties of Lanthanum-Doped Tin-Silver-Copper Lead-Free Solders
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An extensive study is made to analyze the impact of pure lanthanum on the microstructure and mechanical properties of Sn-Ag-Cu (SAC) alloys at high temperatures. Different compositions are tested; the temperature applied for the isothermal aging is 150 C, and aging times of 10 h, 25 h, 50 h, 100 h, and 200 h are studied. Optical microscopy with cross-polarized light is used to follow the grain size, which is refined from 8 mm to 1 mm for as-cast samples and is maintained during thermal aging. Intermetallic compounds (IMCs) present inside the bulk Sn matrix affect the mechanical properties of the SAC alloys. Due to high-temperature exposure, these IMCs grow and hence their impact on mechanical properties becomes more significant. This growth is followed by scanning electron microscopy, and energy-dispersive spectroscopy is used for elemental mapping of each phase. A significant refinement in the average size of IMCs of up to 40% is identified for the as-cast samples, and the coarsening rate of these IMCs is slowed by up to 70% with no change in the interparticle spacing. Yield stress and tensile strength are determined through tensile testing at 20 C for as-cast samples and after thermal aging at 150 C for 100 h and 200h. Both yield stress and tensile strength are increased by up to 20% by minute lanthanum doping.
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