Pradeep Lall - Test Protocols Development for the Flexible Substrates

Session 14: Standards & Reliability

Test Protocols Development for the Flexible Substrates in Wearable Applications
Thursday, February 15, 2018
8:25 AM - 8:45 AM

Flexible electronics in wearable applications may be subjected to flexing, bending, stretching in addition to exposure to temperature and humidity. Presently, there is a general lack of test protocols for the reliability assessment and survivability assurance of the flexible substrates. Flexing and bending in operation may be accrued under stresses of daily motion. Flexible substrates often use serpentine patterns to accommodate high stretch in the neighborhood of 25-100 percent. Flexible copper traces subjected to cyclic mechanical bending result in stretching of the outside layers and simultaneously compressing the inner layers. Cyclic bending may also results in formation of wrinkles on the flexible substrate causing delamination. Meaningful accelerated test protocols and acceleration transforms relating test-performance to operational reliability are needed. In this paper, a new test protocol has been developed for replicating the stresses of daily motion for flexible substrates. Two substrate technologies have been studied including conventional-fabricated circuits, and additively printed aerosol-jet printed circuits. Test coupons have been designed to include the common trace geometries encountered in flexible electronics applications. The effect of cyclic mechanical bending, exposure to human body temperature, and exposure to sweat has been studied and analyzed using resistance spectroscopy. Flex-PCBs have been subjected to cyclic bending and the failure modes were analyzed as a function of bend radius, bend angle and number of cycles to failure. Extremely tight bend radius and bend angle larger than 90° have also been studied for. Further, in order to monitor the resistance of copper traces and develop life prediction model, resistance spectroscopy has been used. This prognostic health monitoring technique captures the increase in resistance of copper traces with the growth in fatigue due to cyclic mechanical bending. The study addresses the need for life prediction models of flexible copper traces on flexible polyimide substrate.

Speaker's Biography

Pradeep Lall is the MacFarlane Endowed Professor with the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Director of the NSF-CAVE3 Electronics Research Center at Auburn University. He is author and co-author of 2-books, 14 book chapters, and over 500 journal and conference papers in the field of electronics reliability, safety, energy efficiency, and survivability. Dr. Lall is a fellow of the ASME, fellow of the IEEE, a Fellow of the Alabama Academy of Science. He is recipient of the NSF-IUCRC Association’s Alex Schwarzkopf Prize for Technology Innovation, Alabama Academy of Science’s Wright A. Gardner Award, IEEE Exceptional Technical Achievement Award, ASME-EPPD Applied Mechanics Award, SMTA’s Member of Technical Distinction Award, Auburn University’s Creative Research and Scholarship Award, SEC Faculty Achievement Award, Samuel Ginn College of Engineering Senior Faculty Research Award, Three-Motorola Outstanding Innovation Awards, Five-Motorola Engineering Awards, and Twenty Best-Paper Awards at national and international conferences.


Pradeep Lall
MacFarlane Endowed Professor & Director
Auburn University