Focusing on Fluxes

The drive to improve the long-term reliability of printed boards forces researchers to look at several different factors. Many of those factors are quite subtle, like the corrosion fostered by fluxes.

For years, countless engineers have used surface insulation resistance (SIR), electrochemical migration (ECM) and corrosion-specific tests to determine the impact of fluxes, which are associated with both chemical corrosion and electrolytic corrosion. IPC has written specifications that can be used as guidelines for selecting fluxes that have minimal impact.

As General Manager at Trace Laboratories, Renee Michalkiewicz spends a lot of time running these and other tests that help determine if chemical reactions with fluxes will cause corrosion and impact reliability.

She’ll be sharing her experiences and detailing some new test techniques at the upcoming IPC Conference on Solder and Reliability, Materials, Processes and Tests, which runs November 13–14 in Costa Mesa, Calif. It’s a conference loaded with information from many perspectives, with presenters from OEMs, suppliers, universities and national research labs.

Michalkiewicz will be augmenting her discussion with a number of case studies that look at field failures and focus on techniques that can prevent failures or minimize corrosion. The Solder and Reliability Conference is being held in conjunction with the 7th Annual International Symposium on Tin Whiskers, Nov. 12–13.

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