To identify the driving force for the massive spalling phenomenon, carefully designed experiments were carried out. Cu-doped Sn-rich solder was reacted with Ni to form first the Sn-0.6Cu/(Cu,Ni)6Sn5/Ni structure. The original Sn-0.6Cu solder was then removed and replaced with Sn-0.3Cu or with fresh Sn-0.6Cu. Swapping the solder to Sn-0.3Cu caused massive spalling of (Cu,Ni)6Sn5. The results of this study unequivocally prove that the massive spalling reported in the literature is caused by a driving force that is purely thermodynamic in nature. © 2010 Acta Materialia Inc.
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