Failure of electronic components-Printed
circuit board failures-pcb
Printed circuit board failures
Printed circuit boards (PCBs) are vulnerable to environmental influences; for example, the traces are corrosion-prone and may be improperly etched leaving partial shorts, while the vias may be insufficiently plated through or filled with solder. The traces may crack under mechanical loads, often resulting in unreliable PCB operation. Residues of solder flux may facilitate corrosion; those of other materials on PCBs can cause electrical leaks. Polar covalent compounds can attract moisture like antistatic agents, forming a thin layer of conductive moisture between the traces; ionic compounds like chlorides tend to facilitate corrosion. Alkali metal ions may migrate through plastic packaging and influence the functioning of semiconductors. Chlorinated hydrocarbon residues may hydrolyze and release corrosive chlorides; these are problems that occur after years. Polar molecules may dissipate high-frequency energy, causing parasitic dielectric losses.
Above the glass transition temperature of PCBs, the resin matrix softens and becomes susceptible contaminant diffusion. For example, polyglycols from the solder flux can enter the board and increase its humidity intake, with corresponding deterioration of dielectric and corrosion properties. Multilayer substrates using ceramics suffer from many of the same problems.
Conductive anodic filaments (CAFs) may grow within the boards along the fibers of the composite material. Metal is introduced to a vulnerable surface typically from plating the vias, then migrates in presence of ions, moisture, and electrical potential; drilling damage and poor glass-resin bonding promotes such failures. The formation of CAFs usually begins by poor glass-resin bonding; a layer of adsorbed moisture then provides a channel through which ions and corrosion products migrate. In presence of chloride ions, the precipitated material is atacamite; its semiconductive properties lead to increased current leakage, deteriorated dielectric strength, and short circuits between traces. Absorbed glycols from flux residues aggravate the problem. The difference in thermal expansion of the fibers and the matrix weakens the bond when the board is soldered; the lead-free solders which require higher soldering temperatures increase the occurrence of CAFs. Besides this, CAFs depend on absorbed humidity; below a certain threshold, they do not occur. Delamination may occur to separate the board layers, cracking the vias and conductors to introduce pathways for corrosive contaminants and migration of conductive species.