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Anisotropic conductive film (ACF) consists of an adhesive polymer matrix with dispersed conductive particles. In flip-chip technology, ACF has been used in place of solder and underfill for chip attachment to glass or organic substrates. The filler particles establish the electrical contacts between the interconnecting areas. ACF flip-chip bonding provides finer pitch, higher package density, reduced package size and improved lead-free compatibility. Nevertheless, the interconnection is different from traditional solder joints, the integrity and durability of the ACF interconnects have major concerns. Failures in anisotropic conductive film (ACF) parts have been reported after temperature cycling, moisture preconditioning and autoclave. The failures have not been well understood and have been attributed to a wide variety of causes. This paper investigates the failure mechanism of ACF using finite element simulation. From a failure-initiation point of view, the response of ACF packages to environmental (temperature and humidity) exposure is very different from standard underfilled packages. These differences cause the ACF package to fail in different ways from an underfilled package. Simulation results have shown that moisture-induced ACF swelling and delamination is the major cause of ACF failure. With moisture absorption, the loading condition at the interface is tensile-dominant, which corresponds to lower interface toughness (or fracture resistance). This condition is more prone to interface delamination. Therefore, the reliability of ACF packages is highly dependent on the ACF materials. The paper suggests a new approach toward material selection for reliable ACF packages. This approach has very good correlation with experimental results and reliability testing of various ACF materials.