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Project Title:  Structure, Properties, and Performance of Solder Joints in Terrestrial vs. Reduced-Gravity Environments Reduce
Images: icon  Fiscal Year: FY 2023 
Division: Physical Sciences 
Research Discipline/Element:
Physical Sciences: MATERIALS SCIENCE--Materials science 
Start Date: 01/01/2023  
End Date: 12/31/2024  
Task Last Updated: 01/10/2023 
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Principal Investigator/Affiliation:   Pathak, Siddhartha  Ph.D. / Iowa State University 
Address:  Department of Materials Science and Engineering 
2220BP Hoover Hall, 528 Bissell Rd 
Ames , IA 50011 
Phone: 515-294-9280  
Congressional District:
Organization Type: UNIVERSITY 
Organization Name: Iowa State University 
Joint Agency:  
Comments: NOTE: PI moved in fall 2020 to Iowa State University from University of Nevada, Reno.  
Napolitano, Ralph  Ph.D. Iowa State University, Ames 
Project Information: Grant/Contract No. 80NSSC23K0279 
Responsible Center: NASA MSFC 
Grant Monitor: Panda, Binayak  
Center Contact: 
Unique ID: 15302 
Solicitation / Funding Source: 2021 Physical Sciences NNH21ZDA014N-PSI: Use of the NASA Physical Sciences Informatics System – Appendix G 
Grant/Contract No.: 80NSSC23K0279 
Project Type: Physical Sciences Informatics (PSI) 
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Program--Element: MATERIALS SCIENCE--Materials science 
Task Description: The investigation proposed here combines experiments and modeling to elucidate the fundamental mechanisms, phenomenology, and process conditions that govern the integrity and performance of solder joints produced in terrestrial vs. reduced gravity environments, such as the microgravity conditions on board the International Space Station (ISS). The technical research program plans to utilize solder samples from the In-Space Soldering Investigation (ISSI) experiments from the Physical Sciences Informatics (PSI) repository, as well as expand into other non-ISSI solder compositions, and combine space- and ground-based experiments with advanced 3D materials characterization, micromechanical testing, and mesoscale modeling. In particular, the project addresses the formation and persistence of porosity through the reflow/filling/freezing processes and the deleterious effects on microstructure and mechanical properties of the solder joint. It has been established that porosity arising from flux volatilization, which is dispersed and expelled from the solder joint under terrestrial gravity, may become entrapped within the freezing solder material under microgravity conditions, given the absence of buoyancy-driven convection. Our overall goals are (i) to advance the current qualitative understanding of this phenomenon into the realm of alloy/process-specific quantitative description and prediction, and (ii) to examine the effects of mechanically and acoustically stimulated flow patterns while assessing their potential effectiveness as porosity mitigation strategies for solder-based fabrication processes in space. Considering a range of potential applications and materials, 3 solder alloys will be investigated, including the ISSI lead-based (Pb-Sn) solders, as well as lead-free (Sn-Ag-Cu and Sn-Au) solders, which have recently shown promise for high-performance joint applications due to their thermal/electrical conductivities and excellent corrosion/fatigue resistance.

Research Impact/Earth Benefits:

Task Progress & Bibliography Information FY2023 
Task Progress: New project for FY2023.

Bibliography: Description: (Last Updated: 11/20/2020) 

Show Cumulative Bibliography
 None in FY 2023