Lead Free Hand Soldering – Material Issues
•Most lead free alloys have a higher melting point than SnPb. The melting point of eutectic SnPb solder is183°C. Other than tin bismuth (SnBi), most of the popular lead free solder alloys have a meltingtemperature between 215°C and 227°C.•The components and board will be more sensitive to heat-related soldering damage with lead free soldersthan with SnPb solders.•It has been shown that components will increase their moisture resistance sensitivity by two levels, basedon IPC-J-STD-020 testing specifications.•The higher lead free soldering temperatures can result in an increase in board delamination, measling, andblistering. For example, measling bridging over 50% of the span between conductors is a defect, inaccordance to IPC J-STD-001.•OSP board finishes are prone to developing a halo around the solder joint. Because lead free solders donot wet as well, this halo effect is more prominent with lead free than with SnPb solders.•The following are various alternative finishes provided by component manufacturers: Sn, SnAg, SnCu,SnAgCu, Ni, NiPd and Pd.•According to EMPF, there are no process incompatibilities and no reliability issues between the variouslead free solders and the above lead free board finishes.•There are possible incompatibilities between lead free component finishes and SnPb solders. This isknown as “backwards compatibility”. This is especially true when Sn-Ag-Cu finish is used in the componentmetallization as is the case in BGAs. The use of Sn-Pb solder paste could render the solder jointsunreliable.•Tin-finished components pose a major reliability risk because they are susceptible to tin whiskers, whichcan cause electrical system failures.