Role of Electrode Potential Difference between Lead-Free Solder and Copper Base Metal in Wetting
Tadashi Takemoto, Tatsuya Funaki
The role of the electrochemical reaction between solder and copper base metal in soldering flux was investigated in relation to wetting. The research includes the contact polarization between solder and base metal in soldering flux of RA type. The difference of electrode potential between solder and base metal in soldering flux plays an important role in removing the oxide film by contact polarization. It is concluded that the electrode potential of Sn-based lead-free solders should be significantly lower than copper to obtain good wettability, because the accelerated anodic dissolution of tin by contacting with the copper base metal enhances the wettability by the removal of tin oxide which is one of the stable oxide on base metal and solder. Sn–Pb has the adequate electrode potential to be effectively dissolved when contacted by copper. On the other hand, the electrode potential of Sn–3.5Ag is very close to copper: the condition gives extremely small contact current. The addition of less noble elements that can lower the electrode potential is effective to enhance the wettability of Sn–3.5Ag. Sn–Zn solder has extremely low electrode potential than a copper base metal; the situation excessively accelerates the preferential anodic dissolution of zinc resulting in the no dissolution of tin. The addition of lead to Sn–3.5Ag solder lowered the electrode potential, which increased the potential difference between solder and copper base metal, as a result the contact current between them was increased. The improved wettability is confirmed by adding lead to Sn–3.5Ag; all lead added solders showed a larger spread area, i.e., a smaller contact angle than Sn–3.5Ag after the spreading test. This work proposed the role of electrochemistry in wetting based on the potential difference between base metal and solder including the degree of contact corrosion current between them.