U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) Awards ENIG STTR Phase I Program to Support THAAD / ABM with GB-eVAL Technology

U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA)ENIG has been selected by the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and awarded an Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I award for the company’s gold-embrittlement assessment toolkit approach, GB-eVALTM.

MDA seeks to develop a risk-forecasting tool for quantifying the risks associated with gold-embrittled solder joints in electronic assemblies. Specifically, MDA is looking for models that accurately assess the likelihood of solder joint failure, given specific environmental stress conditions (e.g., vibrational and thermal shock). “The U.S. Government has identified potential weaknesses in its Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) and other anti-ballistic missile (ABM) systems, specifically in the form of gold-embrittled solder joints”, noted Enig Associates, Inc. (“ENIG”) President, Eric N. Enig, who added that circuit card assemblies (CCAs) are common components within anti-ballistic systems, and the reliability of these CCAs is strongly dependent on the solder joints that join components and connectors to the printed circuit boards (PCBs). “MDA has concerns that some percentage of the electronics in existing systems may fail the standard that has been designed to ensure solder joint reliability [i.e., J-STD-001]. MDA’s objective is to avoid, or at least mitigate, the risks associated with gold-embrittled solder joints, and it seeks to develop methods and protocols to achieve an acceptable reliability within its systems”, said Enig.

ENIG, together with interconnect reliability experts at Sandia National Laboratories (“Sandia”), proposed to develop a risk-forecasting tool for quantifying the risks associated with gold-embrittled solder joints in electronic assemblies. These include assemblies associated with THAAD and other ABM systems. “Our physics-based, mechanistic modeling approach will (i) provide estimates on initial post-fabrication gold concentrations based on connection geometry, (ii) predict microstructure evolution based on post-fabrication stress and environmental conditions, (iii) use microstructure to estimate mechanical properties of embrittled solder, and (iv) use material properties to assess mechanical vulnerability of solder joints subjected to flexure and thermally induced stresses”, noted Enig, adding “our toolkit, GB-eVALTM, will provide an end-to-end modeling capability, grounded in the microstructural response of the constituent materials, to address the impulsive loading of solder joint structures.”

Sandia National Laboratories is a government-owned, contractor-operated facility operated by Sandia Corporation for the U.S Department of Energy (DOE)/National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) under Management and Operating (M&O) Contract DE-AC04-94AL85000.

(For more information, contact media@enig.com.)