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The University of Southampton
Engineering

Research project: Graphene reinforced lead-free solder composites

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Tin whisker growth on lead-free solder of copper-based conductors is a serious reliability problem in electrical and electronic devices. The growth of tin whisker can be spontaneous and an irreversible process. Some whiskers can grow to several hundred microns in length, which are long enough to cause electrical-shorting leading to the failure of electrical and electronic devices. Examples of failures have been seen in commercial satellite, electronics in aeroplanes, reactors, heart pacemaker, consumer electronics, etc.

Project Overview

The work focuses on obtaining an optimum weight percentage of grapheme in a composite that would stop tin whiskers growth when electroplated. Electroplating process parameters may include current density, temperature of the electrolyte, composition of tin salt, flow condition, surfactants and additives technologies.

The new composite will be subjected to a simulated environment to grow whiskers. Tests will be carried out to compare a plain tin, tin-graphite and tin-carbon nanotubes composites.

Associated research themes

Materials and surface engineering

Publications

Key Publication

Staff

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