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Solder Properties

Values presented in the table below are for some of the most commonly used solders. With the push for lead-free (Pb-free) versions that conform the the RoHS1 initiative that will be in effect in Europe in the summer of 2006, new alloys have been developed that use little or no lead at all. For those application, this resource compiled by NIST2 and the Colorado School of Mines will be very helpful.

RF Cafe - Tin Whiskers to the extreme (2nd picture down on page). Ah...the wonders of Pb-Free!A big problem with lead-free (aka Pb-Free) solder is that the higher the tin content, the more likely the growth of "tin whiskers." This phenomenon where tiny tendrils grow out of the solder is still not fully understood. The problem is that short circuits can be established between adjacent conductors, and within a high density connector or a fine-pitch IC package. Some military and space-based platforms ban the use of Pb-Free solders for that reason.

 See my handy tip for holding solder while manually soldering.

In the chart below, any solder compound that does not have a "Pb" component is lead-free.

Solder Alloy
Melting Point (°C)Melting Point (°F)
5Sn-95Pb
307585
0.5Sn-92.5Pb-2.5Ag280536
Sn/5Sb243469
100Sn3
232450
99.3Sn-0.7Cu227440
96.5Sn-3.5Ag
221430
Sn/3.0Ag/0.5Cu219426
Sn/3.8Ag/1.0Cu217423
Sn/3.5Ag/1.0Cu/3Bi213415
50In-50Pb
209402
45Sn-55Pb
204400
55Sn-45Pb
193379
60Sn-40Pb
186368
63Sn-37Pb
183361
62Sn-36Pb-2Ag
179354
97In-3Ag
143289
Sn/57Bi139282
52In-48Sn118244

   1: Reduction of Hazardous Substances
   2: National Institute of Standards and Technology
   3: Pure tin


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    Kirt Blattenberger,
    BSEE - KB3UON

RF Cafe began life in 1996 as "RF Tools" in an AOL screen name web space totaling 2 MB. Its primary purpose was to provide me with ready access to commonly needed formulas and reference material while performing my work as an RF system and circuit design engineer. The Internet was still largely an unknown entity at the time and not much was available in the form of WYSIWYG ...

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