In electronics, desoldering is the removal of solder and components from a circuit for troubleshooting, for repair purposes, component replacement, and to salvage components. Electronic components are often mounted on a circuit board, and it is usually desirable to avoid damaging the circuit board, surrounding components, and the component being removed.
Specialized tools, materials, and techniques have been devised to aid in the desoldering process. A solder wick, also known as a desoldering wick or desoldering braid, is a roll of fine, braided 18 to 42 AWG wire typically made from oxygen free copper that has been treated with a rosin solder flux.
The processes of removing solder with a wick starts by placing the wick over the solder to be removed and then heating the portion of the wick in contact with the joint with a soldering iron. As the solder wick is heated and the solder reaches its melting point the solder is sucked into the solder wick via capillary action. The solder wick is then removed along with the heat and the solder is allowed to solidify within the wick, apart from the workpiece. Finally, the used section of wick is discarded.