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Abstract

The article presents the study results of Sn-Zn lead-free solders with the various Zn content. The results concern the hypoeutectic, eutectic and hypereutectic alloys containing respectively 4.5% Zn, 9% Zn and 13.5% Zn. Moreover, these alloys contain the constant Ag (1%) addition. The aim of the study was to determine the microstructural conditionings of their fatigue life. In particular it was focused on answer the question what meaning can be assigned to the Ag addition in the chemical composition of binary Sn-Zn alloys. The research includes a qualitative and quantitative assessments of the alloy microstructures, that have been carried out in the field of light microscopy (LM). In order to determine some geometrical parameters of the microstructure of alloys the combinatorial method based on the phase quanta theory was applied. Moreover, for the identification necessities the chemical analyses in the micro-areas by SEM/EDS technics were also performed. Based on the SEM/EDS results the phases and intermetallic compounds existing in the examined lead-free solders were identified. The mechanical characteristics were determined by means of the modified low cycle test (MLCF). Based on this method and on the results obtained every time from only one sample the dozen of essential mechanical parameters were evaluated. The research results were the basis of analyzes concerning the effects of microstructural geometrical parameters of lead-free alloys studied on their fatigue life at ambient temperature.
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Abstract

The study includes the results of research conducted on selected lead-free binary solder alloys designed for operation at high temperatures. The results of qualitative and quantitative metallographic examinations of SnZn alloys with various Zn content are presented. The quantitative microstructure analysis was carried out using a combinatorial method based on phase quanta theory, per which any microstructure can be treated as an array of elements disposed in the matrix material. Fatigue tests were also performed using the capabilities of a modified version of the LCF method hereinafter referred to in short as MLCF, which is particularly useful in the estimation of mechanical parameters when there are difficulties in obtaining many samples normally required for the LCF test. The fatigue life of alloys was analyzed in the context of their microstructure. It has been shown that the mechanical properties are improved with the Zn content increasing in the alloy. However, the best properties were obtained in the alloy with a chemical composition close to the eutectic system, when the Zn-rich precipitates showed the most preferred morphological characteristics. At higher content of Zn, a strong structural notch was formed in the alloy because of the formation in the microstructure of a large amount of the needle-like Zn-rich precipitates deteriorating the mechanical characteristics. Thus, the results obtained during previous own studies, which in the field of mechanical testing were based on static tensile test only, have been confirmed. It is interesting to note that during fatigue testing, both significant strengthening and weakening of the examined material can be expected. The results of fatigue tests performed on SnZn alloys have proved that in this case the material was softened.
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