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Water Soluble Fluxes, their Reliability and their Usefulness as a Means of Eliminating CFC‐113 Usage

B.N. Ellis (Protonique SA, Romanel‐sur‐Lausanne, Switzerland)

Soldering & Surface Mount Technology

ISSN: 0954-0911

Article publication date: 1 February 1991


This paper outlines the composition of water soluble fluxes for the electronics industry and their methods of use when wave soldering and reflowing tinned coatings and solder pastes. Process optimisation is facilitated by the Taguchi method. Three types of cleaning machinery are evoked, with varying results. It is shown that the energy/time relationship is important to ensure adequate cleaning quality. A number of fallacious arguments are debunked. Methods of water purification and the problems of effluent treatment for all sizes of installation are addressed. Doubt is expressed as to the viability of closed‐circuit water recycling except for the largest installations or where exceptional conditions prevail. It is shown that water soluble fluxes and their subsequent aqueous removal are unlikely to make any significant contribution to the Greenhouse Effect. The overall cost of their use is substantially similar to that of rosin fluxes with CFC‐113 azeotropes at 1986 prices. Cleanliness control under production and laboratory conditions is discussed with reference to both ionic contamination testing, including its use for SMDs, and SIR analysis, especially at low voltages, including non‐destructive production SIR testing. Reliability of the assembled circuits is shown to be at least as good as that with more traditional soldering and cleaning methods, frequently better, and this is the case even for military and aerospace applications. The paper concludes that, now that quality water soluble solder pastes are available, this method is most likely to become the workhorse for the majority of electronics applications.


Ellis, B.N. (1991), "Water Soluble Fluxes, their Reliability and their Usefulness as a Means of Eliminating CFC‐113 Usage", Soldering & Surface Mount Technology, Vol. 3 No. 2, pp. 16-23.




Copyright © 1991, MCB UP Limited