A Taguchi design of experiment approach was applied to thermostructural analyses of a gull-wing solder joint assembly. This approach uses a minimum number of finite element analyses to evaluate the impact of solder joint assembly parameters on fatigue life of the assembly. To avoid costly complex modeling efforts for each parametric case study, a commercially available program, MSC/PATRAN’s PATRAN Command Language, was used to automatically create finite element models of a two-dimensional gull-wing solder joint assembly based on nine parameters. Modeling time was dramatically reduced from days to a few minutes for each detailed lead/solder model. Two sets of parametric studies were conducted to evaluate the impact of variation of the six parameters. The analysis results indicate that lead ankle radius is the most critical parameter affecting solder joint total fatigue life, and lead and minimum solder thicknesses are the next most critical ones. Therefore, to effectively improve the solder joint fatigue life margin, it is recommended to: (1) increase the minimum solder thickness; (2) use thinner lead; and (3) use a larger lead ankle radius, even though this may require reducing lead shin length. By implementing only the last recommendation to modify the current solder joint assembly, the fatigue life margin in this design could, in general, be improved by 27 percent or more.

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