SMTA International Conference Proceedings


Recalling the Lead-Free Manhattan Project

Authors: Anthony J. Rafanelli, Linda Woody
Company: Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems and Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control
Date Published: 9/28/2014   Conference: SMTA International


Abstract: In April and August 0f 2009, seventeen (17) industry subject-matter-experts were assembled in Philadelphia, PA and charged with executing two tasks: 1.) Benchmark the knowledge base of Pb-free technology and its associated impact on performance in aerospace and defense (A&D) products (Phase 1) and 2.) Develop a roadmap that would close the knowledge gaps providing solutions and/or mitigation strategies to confidently address all associated risks (Phase 2). This entire effort was named “The Lead-Free Manhattan Project” (LFMP). The results from both phases were reported in two separate documents with a combined page count of five hundred seventy-nine (579) pages. The page count is reported here not to impress the reader but to emphasize the fact that assessing the impact of any major material change on an industry has far-reaching effects in every aspect of product life cycle, i.e. concept, design, reliability, supply chain, assembly, test, and logistics.

Subsequently, as the cost to execute the project was, understandably high and in response to several industry and government inquiries, a special task team, sponsored by the IPC Pb-free Electronics Risk Mitigation (PERM) Council, was stood up in 2012 with a charter to identify priority research areas to help close the knowledge gaps regarding impact and risks associated with the implementation of Pbfree materials in high-performance, i.e. A&D, electronics. The priorities were based on the output of the LFMP. The white paper was released in February 2014. An applicationbased strategy was employed and, as a result, five platform categories were identified in assessing priorities. Those platforms were avionics, ground-based systems, missiles, space systems, and submarine-sea systems. A panel of platform subject-matter-experts, from within the PERM Council, was stood up and their subsequent review of performance and service conditions disclosed that the following four areas should be given attention based on their significant influence and control by service and environmental conditions (in addition to supply chain practices which are beyond the scope of this paper): - Tin whisker failure modes - Tin whisker risk mitigation - Complex systems logistics - Pb-free interconnections (e.g. solder joints) including reliability models, effects and assembly qualification

Despite this prioritization, some preliminary effort would be required to re-plan the tasks as these were part of an integrated planning approach used in the original LFMP. Subsequently, the impact of performing these as stand-alone tasks would need to be assessed. This paper will briefly re-visit the “mission” of the Lead-Free Manhattan Project and provide some detail on the generation of this prioritized list.

Key Words: 

lead-free electronics, Pb-free electronics.



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