How Has Soldering Technology Evolved?

Like virtually every other piece of technology out there, soldering equipments and tools have continually evolved over time into more effective, cheaper and durable ones. These include the laser soldering iron, the fiber-focus soldering iron, resistance soldering iron and the ultrasonic soldering iron. These are further explained below:

Laser soldering: Laser soldering is a relatively new technique that has the potential to replace regular soldering. In the laser technique, a laser beam is used to illuminate leads which then emits heat and raises the temperature of the material to melting point. At this stage, solder is applied, melts and seals joints, crack and holes within or along the leads.

Fiber-focus soldering: This is perhaps the most advanced and the most complicated soldering technique. Basically, it involves passing infrared rays from various sources through a fiber elements and then focusing all these rays onto a single spot where the solder is applied and the materials bond. Infrared waves are used in heating in many industries such as aviation, kitchen appliances and spas.

Resistance soldering: This involves passing a high-amperage current safely through an element of high resistance that provides very high but controllable heat used in soldering. The necessary conditions to using resistance soldering include an inbuilt step-down transformer, a resistive material which will produce the required heat and a complete electrical circuit.

Ultrasonic soldering: 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.

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First Aid Tips in Soldering: Minor Burns

Sometimes soldering goes wrong for a variety of reasons. These range from faulty equipment, faulty power supply sources, wrong usage or carelessness. For whichever reason that you may encounter injury while soldering, knowledge of basic first aid procedures would really help, especially for minor hazards. However, it is always advisable to contact emergency services for serious injuries that may be sustained. In this article, we will go over basic procedures for dealing with minor burns, the most common in soldering activities.

Sooth the burn

This is the first step in dealing with minor burns and often involves the use of a dampened cloth or cool running water. It is advised that you do not use cold water to deal with burns. The water or damp cloth is placed on the burn for approximately fifteen minutes or until the pain in the burn eases.

Clean any broken blisters

Breaking blisters should be avoided. However, if it does happen, clean the blisters with an antibiotic, water and soap. When complete, cover it in a bandage. It may be necessary to apply a moisturizer.

Use pain-killers (over the counter)

These are very many and your choice will depend largely on personal preferences. However, this may not be necessary depending on the extent of the burn. Ensure to stick to the prescribed usage of the painkiller medicines as overdosing may result in further problems.

See a doctor for persistent symptoms

Normally, burns will heal on their own especially if they are minor. However, if any of the pain or discomfort persists, it is always advisable to contact a qualified physician for further care and treatment. That rarely happens though.

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Correct heat application: During the soldering process, heat should be applied evenly to the lead and pad and solder then fed to the contact point. Failure to apply heat to the pad causes the solder to melt unevenly on the tab and thus cause better bonding with the lead than the pad. This too has a simple solution that involves mastering the basics of soldering especially in reference to heat application. Solder should always be fed on evenly and correctly heated surfaces.

Dealing with cold joints: Cold joints are those joints that occur as a result of the solder not melting completely within the soldering process. This often results to three problems; excess solder, weak joints and potential future breakages or cracks in the solder. Cold joints are only caused by a single factor, under-heating. During soldering, insufficient application of heat would lead to the solder attaching to a joint without being fully molten. This weakens its interaction with the flux, pad and the leads. After drying, the solder, having not melted maintains some of its characteristics and thus forms a very weak joint. Cold joints can be prevented and repaired through reheating, scrapping off excess solder and ensuring sufficient heating during soldering.

Stabilizing the work-piece

This may involve employing a variety of techniques and tools while soldering. The most common of these is using a small clamp tool often used in soldering to hold the work-piece in place. The clamp usually has a mechanism of attaching to a stable point such as a desk or table. This minimizes the movement within the work-piece until the solder dries off and the work-piece is unclamped. This solves the defect of disturbed joints in soldering.

Resoldering: This is the process of reapplying solder on a joint that had been previously soldered either incorrectly or insufficiently. Resoldering a starved joint will involve reheating the joint to melt the solder, feeding additional solder and then allowing cooling once it has formed a nice and smooth concave solder joint.