Autoclave Testing

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Autoclave testing evaluates the moisture resistance for non-hermetic packaging of solid-state devices.  Also referred to as “steam-bomb,” the IC autoclave test is a highly accelerated test performed in a moisture-condensing or moisture-saturated environment and the moisture sensitivity levels are measured.   During autoclave testing, the conditions of high temperature, pressure, and 100% humidity accelerate moisture penetration into the encapsulation of active device packages.

Moisture generally penetrates in two areas:  

1) directly through the encapsulant material  

 2) at the sealing interfaces where the conductors (lead-frame parts) pass through the encapsulant material into the active device region.

IC Autoclave testing should be performed for new non-hermetic package introduction or whenever a package is redesigned (requiring modifications such as a change in molding compound, lead frame, die-attach adhesive, or die passivation).   Autoclave testing is a special form of temperature humidity testing; it differs primarily in the fact that the IC autoclave test has a condensing ambient while
HAST (Highly Accelerated Stress Test) and typical temperature-humidity testing are non-condensing.  The autoclave test is typically run at 121°C for 96-hours in a pressure vessel containing a small quantity of DI or distilled water; this produces 100% humidity at a pressure of two atmospheres.  

For more information about Autoclave Testing, contact the engineering expertise at Silicon Cert Laboratories.

Test Specifications / Standards