Anisotropic spreading of liquid metal on a rough intermetallic surface

Wen Liu, Dušan P. Sekulić

An anisotropic wicking of molten Sn-Pb solder over an intermetallic rough surface has been studied. The phenomenon features preferential spreading and forming of an elliptical spread domain. A theoretically formulated model was established to predict the ratio of the wicking distance along the long axis (rx) to that along the short axis (ry) of the final wicking pattern. The phenomenon was simultaneously experimentally observed and recorded with a hotstage microscopy technique. The anisotropic wicking is established to be caused by a non-uniform topography of surface micro structures as opposed to an isotropic wicking on an intermetallic surface with uniformly distributed surface micro features. The relative deviation between the theoretically predicted rx=ry ratio and the corresponding average experimental value is 5%. Hence, the small margin of error confirms the validity of the proposed theoretical model of anisotropic wicking.