Although the practice of soldering has been around for thousands of years, current soldering processes are often state-of-the-art and require the best materials for consistent, reliable, and void-free solder joints.
Soldering is a process that creates electrical, mechanical, or thermal bonds using heat, filler material, and flux. The heat reflows the filler material and the flux cleans the oxides off the surfaces that will be joined together. Once the heat is removed, the solder solidifies to create a bond. Although this sounds simple, there are many things to consider when choosing the right materials for your process.
Considerations for choosing your solder alloy:
- What is the operating temperature of your end product?
- What temperature constraints do you have in your process (components, substrates, etc.)?
- What are your substrate metallizations?
- Au, Ag, or Ni plating
- Immersion Sn or Immersion Ag
- Molded interconnect device materials (MID)
- What solder form does your current process support (solder paste, solder preforms, solder wire, etc.)?
- What is your reflow process?
- Standard reflow oven
- Hand held soldering iron
- Convection oven
- Do you have any environmental concerns?
Considerations for removing oxides:
Once you have chosen the right solder, you need to consider what method you will use to remove the oxides to encourage the solder to wet to the surface.
These considerations include:
- What process environment will you use?
- Nitrogen or some other reducing environment
- Flux-free process
- Air reflow
- How strong are the oxides you need to remove?
- What other environmental factors should you consider?
- Are you using a water-wash or no-clean process?
- Do you have to be concerned with the halide-content of your soldering materials?
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