What is Aqueous Cleaning

By Bester PCBA

Last Updated: 2023-08-20

What is Aqueous Cleaning

Aqueous cleaning is a comprehensive cleaning process that utilizes water-based cleaning media to remove residue from electronic assemblies. This multi-stage process involves cleaning and drying to ensure the cleanliness and reliability of the printed circuit boards.

The success of the aqueous cleaning process relies on various variables and parameters. During the cleaning stage, factors such as the chemical composition of the residue, the solvency of the cleaning media, the mechanical energy of the water used to dislodge and rinse away the residue, the exposure time of the cleaning media to the residue, and the elevated temperature of the cleaning media to accelerate the breakdown of the residues all play crucial roles.

The choice of cleaning media and machine configuration depends on the specific type of residue to be removed. For water-soluble residues, a water-only cleaning process may be sufficient. However, if a cleaning chemical is required to aid in the cleaning process, a machine utilizing a cleaning chemical would be necessary.

Different equipment configurations are available for aqueous cleaning, including batch processes for low-volume and high-mix applications, as well as in-line processes, particularly spray-in-air in-line processes, which are versatile and commonly used for delivering clean and dry electronic assemblies. Other less-common techniques such as ultrasonic batch, vapor degreasing, semi-aqueous, and centrifugal systems may also be suitable for specific applications.

The pre-wash stage is a critical component of the aqueous cleaning process. It involves pre-wetting the assembly and initiating the cleaning process. The pre-wash module typically consists of upper and lower spray manifolds with flooding-style nozzles. In a water-soluble process, the pre-wash module is designed to remove most of the exposed surface flux, with the effluent being routed out of the machine rather than being returned to the wash tank.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Aqueous vs Solvent Cleaning

Solvent-based cleaning systems, such as Vapor Degreasers, are employed for the purpose of removing genuine oils from manufactured parts. On the other hand, Aqueous Cleaning Systems are utilized to cleanse water-based substances from the parts.

What Are Aqueous Cleaners Based

Aqueous cleaning primarily relies on water as its solvent, but it may also incorporate additional components such as surfactants, detergents, emulsifiers, inhibitors, anti-foaming agents, PH buffers, builders, deflocculants, and chelating agents.

What Are Aqueous Cleaners Made Of

Aqueous cleaners primarily consist of water. To enhance the cleaning efficiency of the solution, various chemical compounds like wetting agents, alkaline salts, and sequestering agents are incorporated.

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