The future of soldering irons: Ultrasonic soldering

post details top
post details top
The future of soldering irons: Ultrasonic soldering

Things are moving away from plain old iron soldering – http://www.amazon.com/iCooker-Soldering-Iron-Watt-Solder/dp/B01774KARE. Ultrasonic soldering is gaining popularity die to its ability to solder onto materials that were previously very hard to solder such as aluminum and steel and those that were totally unsolderable such as glass. Materials such as steel have strong oxide layers thus making the conventional iron tip method inefficient for soldering. To overcome this, people have been using strongly acidic flux components to reduce the oxide layer. This is however facing a challenge from environmental conservationists. This is where ultrasonic soldering comes in.

Ultrasonic soldering relies on an effect known as cavitation. This arises when ultrasonic waves are applied to liquids. This effect releases a lot of energy within a very short time. This energy is used to remove the oxide layer from these elements that have very low solderability such as magnesium. Once the oxide layer is removed, there is no further need of flux application since the metal becomes fully solderable.

The tip of an ultrasonic soldering iron solders and applies the waves simultaneously. Once the cavitation gets rid of dirt, the oxide later and other impurities, the solder is applied and a layer of alloy is formed through an action spreading of molten solder. In soldering on glass, the cavitation causes the metal in solder to use the oxygen molecules in glass as a bonding mechanism. Glass in itself is not solderable since it’s formed in an oxidation process. By incorporating the oxygen molecules, the metal creates a bond that is only possible through the process. However, the method still hasn’t achieved widespread use probably due to the technicalities and equipment involved. In future however, and with the current environmental trends, it may very well represent the future of soldering.

THE FUTURE OF SOLDERING IRONS: LASER SOLDERING

post details top
post details top
THE FUTURE OF SOLDERING IRONS: LASER SOLDERING

Laser soldering is a relatively where a laser illuminates the point to be soldered causing it to emit heat. This heat then moves to the surrounding places and in the process raises to melting point of the solder and work piece. After this, the solder is applied. This is totally different from tip soldering where the tip is heated, placed onto the point to be soldered and the solder is applied. Unlike tip soldering however, if the laser beam is focused in a point for a very long time, the temperature of the point will continue to rise without limit. This makes the method relatively less safe than conventional soldering where the tip’s temperature is usually the heat limit. There are various differences between the two methods that may just shape the future of soldering. These are:

Heating

Regular soldering uses soldering irons, torches or guns to heat the surface and the tips. However, laser soldering makes uses of laser beams to illuminate the leads. The illuminated section of the lead heat up and transfer the heat to the rest of the component. This is carried on until the leads reach melting point.

Equipment

While the regular soldering process makes use of soldering irons and torches, a laser soldering device is required for laser soldering. This is a high precision device that blasts the laser ray required to illuminate the leads. These are still relatively uncommon but may become the mainstream soldering equipment in the near future.

Heat transfer and heat emission

In regular soldering, heat is transferred to the leads using tools such as a soldering iron. However, in laser soldering, a single point is illuminated and emits heat that is then transferred to the rest of the lead.

THE GOOD AND BAD OF SOLDERING

post details top
post details top
THE GOOD AND BAD OF SOLDERING

Metals and other items can be joined using soldering techniques, brazing, welding or using adhesives. All these have their advantages and disadvantages. For soldering however, the up and downsides include:

  • Maintaining electrical conductivity- This implies that even after drying, solder conducts electricity thus making the method suitable for bonding electrical items. Adhesive bonding however, as one of the options is limited in that most of the commonly-used adhesives act as insulators. Soldering also ensures precision and neatness. Soldering is the most effective bonding method when it comes to operations in small workspaces. The sharp soldering iron tips are able to precisely apply solder in very small quantities and surface areas unlike any of the available alternatives. This makes it the best, probably the only viable option when it comes to joining parts on circuit boards. Other advantages include low heat requirements as compared to brazing and welding and the general ease of operation.

However, soldering also has various disadvantages including:

  • Lead poisoning hazards: This is a significant health hazard present in the use of solder. When lead is heated, it turns to lead oxide and through naturally occurring can cause serious health problems.
  • Resin and fume hazards: The elements contained in solder and flux coating in solder cause dangerous fumes once exposed to temperatures above a certain level. Resin for example turns to a wide range of toxic gases that have been known to cause respiratory problems especially if one is exposed consistently to the fumes for a significant period of time.
  • Limited strength: As compared to methods such as wielding and brazing, soldered joint are probably the joint weakest with those of adhesive bonding. This is evident in plumbing joints that are soldered and require carrying much weight. Soldering can therefore not be used to join heavy items together or those that require high tensile strength.

Recent Comments