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Revision E, July 1, 2015

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Accelerated Moisture Resistance - Unbiased Autoclave

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Description / Abstract:

This test method applies primarily to moisture resistance evaluations and robustness testing. Samples are subjected to a condensing, highly humid atmosphere under pressure to force moisture into the package to uncover weaknesses such as delamination and metallization corrosion. This test is used to evaluate new packages or packages that have undergone changes in materials (e.g., mold compound, die passivation) or design (e.g., die/paddle sizes). However, this test should not be applied on laminate or tape based packages, i.e., FR4 material, polyimide tape or equivalent.

Some cautions should be considered when performing this test and evaluating test results. Failure mechanisms, both internal (e.g., due to plastic package swelling from saturation) and external (e.g., dendritic growth of conducting material between leads), may be produced which are not applicable to the intended application use conditions. Most semiconductor components are not rated for field applications conditions exceeding 95% RH, including condensing moisture such as rain or fog. The combination of high humidity, high temperature (>Tg) and high pressure may produce unrealistic material failures because absorbed moisture typically decreases the glass transition temperature for most polymeric materials. Extrapolation of autoclave test results to arrive at an application life should be accomplished with care.

The purpose of the "Unbiased Autoclave Test" is performed to evaluate the moisture resistance integrity of non-hermetic packaged solid state devices using moisture condensing or moisture saturated steam environments. It is a highly accelerated test that employs conditions of pressure, humidity and temperature under condensing conditions to accelerate moisture penetration through the external protective material (encapsulant or seal) or along the interface between the external protective material and the metallic conductors passing through it. This test is used to identify failure mechanisms internal to the package and is destructive.