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The Effect of Phase Composition on the Mechanical Properties of LTCC Material



For the fabrication of complex, micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) devices based on low-temperature co-fired ceramic (LTCC), higher firing temperatures and longer times than those proposed by the LTCC producer are needed. These changes to the thermal budget may influence the material properties and consequently its functional properties. The effect of the firing conditions on the LTCC DuPont 951 and thus on the phase composition, that is, the alumina/anorthite ratio and porosity, on the mechanical properties is presented. The samples fired at low temperatures (800°C) had a high porosity (7%), which significantly contributed to the low elastic modulus (100 GPa) and the low mechanical strength of the LTCC (140 MPa). The samples fired at 850°C, which had only 1% of porosity, resulted in an elastic modulus of 122 GPa and a flexural strength of 224 MPa. A further increase in the temperature contributed to a slight decrease in the elastic modulus, while no significant difference in the flexural strength could be observed. The enhancement of the flexural strength with an increasing firing temperature was mainly related to a decrease in the porosity and to a lesser extent to the different ratio of the alumina/anorthite phases. The effect of firing time on the phase composition at selected temperatures (i.e., 100 h at 700 and 800°C) is also discussed.