Abstract

High temperature gold/tin eutectic (80 Au/ 20 Sn) solder is used in manufacturing for multiple reasons. These motives may include the ability to post solder a part/device without reflow, high temperature field applications, and allow soldering to thick Au layers without the possibility of precipitating AuSn4 brittle intermetallics. In the following military case, Au/Sn eutectic was employed because of high temperature service and the guarantee of no occurrence of gold embrittlement when soldering to the thick Au outer plating. The Au was plated over an electroplated nickel (Ni) layer on a Kovar (iron/nickel/cobalt) housing. The soldering resulted in an extremely poor bond strength of a duroid circuit to the Kovar housing. The results showed contamination in the supplier’s electroplated Ni bath caused the plating to have poor bond strength. The failure occurred within the Ni plating layer.

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