The composition of solder paste depends upon its application. Lead-bearing solder paste is used in a wide range of applications, such as soldering plastic components to an FR-4 glass epoxy circuit board. For such applications, the solders used are SAC alloys (Sn/Ag/Cu or tin/silver/copper) or eutectic Sn-Pb, which is 64% tin and 37% lead. Most solder pastes are made of tin-lead alloys, but depending upon application, sometimes a third metal may be needed.
Due to the safe environmental laws, lead-free solder paste is required for some applications. However, the alternative to lead-bearing solder paste is not ideal for certain high-reliability applications, such as for aerospace and military equipment, as well as for some medical devices. Hence, lead-bearing solder paste is still widely required and used. Lead-bearing solder paste is also preferred for increased productivity in manufacturing handheld electronic devices like tablets and smartphones, consumer electronic products, and computer motherboards. Lead-bearing solder paste is also used in the manufacture of automotive systems and network servers.
Tin-lead solder paste is formulated to meet the demands of Sn/Pb soldering. Manufacturers and suppliers of lead-bearing solder paste guarantee excellent print volume repeatability to enhance productivity and the aesthetics of the board, while ensuring an easy to clean product. Some lead-bearing solder pastes are formulated to withstand lengthy and hot soak reflow profiles to boost the wetting of a lead-free surface with a tin-lead paste alloy.
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