SMTA International Conference Proceedings


Author: Ana L. Campuzano-Contreras
Company: BAE Systems
Date Published: 9/25/2005   Conference: SMTA International

Abstract: A solder project was created to generate critical reliability data for circuit card assemblies manufactured and reworked with Pb-free and eutectic SnPb (tin-lead) solders for military and aerospace applications. The Joint Council on Aging Aircraft (JCAA) and the Joint Group on Pollution Prevention (JG-PP) Pb-free Solder project began in 2001 and is on-going. This paper provides assembly details for the JCAA/JG-PP test vehicles.

In response to environmental legislation in Europe and Asia banning SnPb solder in most electronic products, the worldwide electronics business is rushing toward a Pb-free assembly deadline. Legislation such as the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2006, bans the use of Pb-containing products due to environmental concerns. Currently, aerospace and military electronics are not included in the legislation but will be impacted by the changing business environment.

This legislation will create obsolescence of components with Pb surface finishes. Any commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) electronics used in military or aerospace product must comply with requirements of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) legislation [1]. Component manufacturers are responding to these regulations and developing alternatives to SnPb finishes on components destined for consumer electronics.

In a business where high reliability electronics amounts to less than 1% of total components consumption, component obsolescence as well as intermixed component finishes will greatly complicate the aerospace and military business. Market pressure and process development may push the entire industry to use Pb-free assembly in the future even though reliability data does not currently support such a change for life critical functions.

In 2001, the Joint Council on Aging Aircraft (JCAA) and the Joint Group on Pollution Prevention (JG-PP) came together under leadership of NASA to pool resources for the generation of critical reliability data. The consortium developed a project test plan that would result in the assembly of circuit cards manufactured and reworked with Pb-free and eutectic SnPb solders. Numerous corporate, academic, military, and supplier groups within the consortium provided direct or in-kind funding to distribute expenses and to speed project implementation and data generation.

A Potential Alternatives Report (PAR) was prepared to document the Pb-free solder down-select process. The Joint Test Protocol J-01-EM-026-P1 for Validation of Alternatives to Eutectic Tin-Lead Solders used in Manufacturing and Rework of Printed Wiring Assemblies was prepared to document the critical technical and performance requirements identified in the PAR. Both the PAR and JTP are available on the JG-PP website at

Key words: Pb-free, aerospace, military, SnPb

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