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RoHS | May 22, 2006

ELFNET and COST 531 Deliver Lead-Free Solder Alloy Properties Database

ELFNET - European Lead-Free Soldering Network - has collaborated with COST 531 to deliver a much-needed database of physical and mechanical properties for the new Tin-Silver-Copper (SnAgCu) lead-free solder alloys.
This data is key to modelling behaviour of lead-free solder joints that from July 2006 will be at the heart of most electrical and electronic equipment in Europe.

"ELFNET has been bringing together communities of research and industry experts to prioritise lead-free technology implementation issues and develop collaborative solutions;" comments Dr Jeremy Pearce, ELFNET Co-ordinator. "This database represents a key achievement in exploiting expertise in the academic research community to the direct benefit of the electronics industry."

Since the introduction of lead-free soldering was first anticipated in the 1990s, collation of the huge amount of property data being generated has been a much-stated goal. This data is required for feeding into joint modelling software and for quantifiable understanding of comparative behaviour of lead-free solder joints in different environments.

Some such databases do already exist, although some are closed to public access. Notable is the online database published in 2002 by National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST) and Colorado School of Mines. All lack key information about the testing methods used to generate the data and contain sometimes widely variant data.

COST 531 is a network of over 60 universities across Europe, coordinated by University of Vienna, Austria. This resource has special expertise in metallurgical research and had already begun to generate data on lead-free solder alloys.

ELFNET had identified the need for a new initiative in this area and in March 2005 it was agreed that this would be undertaken jointly with COST 531, led by Clemens Schmetterer at the University of Vienna.

The SnAgCu alloy family was selected as the first priority based on its use as the predominant lead-free solder in the industry. The team worked to exhaustively review all available published data and some unpublished results, with particular efforts made to link data to accurate descriptions of the test methods used. 30 different compositions of the alloys have been described.

The data is output as a user-friendly downloadable pdf file, with data presented clearly with diagrams, tables and detailed references.

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