What is a Desoldering Braid?

Solder Soldering 
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Editorial Team - PCB Directory

May 22, 2021

A Desoldering Braid or solder wick is a pre-fluxed finely braided copper wire that is used to remove excess solder during the hand soldering, rework and repair process. These are usually copper wires with an 18 to 42 AWG and are available strips that are rolled up.

To remove solder from the PCB board, the solder wick is placed on top the unwanted solder and heated using a soldering iron. Once the temperature of the soldering iron reaches the melting temperature of the solder, the flux gets activated and the solder starts to melt. As the solder melts, it is drawn into the solder wick by the capillary action. You can move the tip of the braid around to absorb all the excess solder until the desoldering wick is fully saturated with solder. Once all unwanted solder is removed, that used portion of solder wick is cut.

A desoldering pump or solder vacuum can also be used to remove solder, however, it is easier to use a solder wick in most cases. It is also more economical.

There are different types of desoldering braids available:

No-clean desoldering braid: These are coated with a no-clean solder flux and leave very little residue and as the name suggests, does not require much cleaning up once used.

Rosin Coated desoldering braid: These are coated with rosin flux for fast solder removal. Isopropyl alcohol is usually used to clean the residues of rosin flux. They are ideal for high volume PCB production and repair. They can be used for both lead and lead-free solders.

Unfluxed desoldering braid: These braids do not have any flux. When using this, the user needs to add their own flux. This is ideal for consumers who need to use aqueous flux.

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