The degree to which the gold alloys are formed is dependent upon soldering 
temperature, thermal mass of the surrounding metallic structure, and 
thickness of the gold plating.  It cannot be said that all of the gold is 
alloyed with the tin and lead when the plating thickness of the gold is high.

Too many variables to make the absolute statement that all of the gold is 
alloyed with the solder metals.

At 08:22 AM 4/23/02 -0700, you wrote:
>Harry,
>         your explanation was almost 100% bang on, however your one comment
>below could use some clarification. When soldered with Tin-Lead solder, the
>gold is completely and almost instantly dissolved into the solder leaving
>only nickel for the solder joint to adhere to. Therefore there is no "soft
>all-gold underlying".
>
>Sincerely,
>Brad Velander.
>
>Lead PCB Designer
>Norsat International Inc.
>Microwave Products
>Tel   (604) 292-9089 (direct line)
>Fax  (604) 292-9010
>email: [EMAIL PROTECTED]
>http://www.norsat.com
snip

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