The demise of the CFC‐113/alcohol azeotropic solvent for de‐fluxing circuit assemblies after soldering has led, in recent years, to the electronics assembly industry being offered other cleaning technologies, some new and some new to this industry. In terms of uptake, one of the most successful will be semi‐aqueous cleaning involving the use of an organic solvent of low volatility to dissolve the contamination followed by an aqueous rinsing process. Two families of solvent have evolved based on natural products (terpenes) and synthetic hydrocarbon chemicals. This paper reviews the possible semi‐aqueous processes and the development of the solvents that has taken place. The cleaning performance is considered as well as the potential for effluent control and fully closed‐loop systems.
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