Zestron, a precision cleaning company, will present “Benchmark Study: pH-Neutral vs. Alkaline Cleaning Agents,” at the SMTAI 2010 later this month.
Zestron notes that during the past few years, significant changes in solder paste formulations and assembly processes have occurred, making reflow residues of tin-lead and newer lead-free soldering materials more difficult to remove due to increases in component density, larger component packages, higher lead counts, finer lead spacing and lower standoffs.
While modern aqueous alkaline cleaning agents effectively remove these flux residues, achieving satisfactory results often requires an increase in temperature, exposure time, chemical concentration, and mechanical energy. This often presents a new set of challenges in the area of material compatibility.
This collaborative study was prompted by recent industry trends and conducted to compare the cleaning effectiveness of pH-neutral and alkaline technologies at low operating concentrations as well as their effects on material compatibility.