Cleaning Chemistries

There are three key ingredients to effective ultrasonic cleaning.

  • The ultrasonics: at the appropriate frequency,or in some cases – range of   frequencies.
  • Cleaning Chemistry
  • Temperature

Choice of frequency or frequencies will depend in part on the type of substrate, or by the size of the opening or crevice from which the contaminants are to be removed.  The smooth surfaces of hard metal bodies of say diesel engine cylinder heads requiring removal of carbon deposits can quite easily be cleaned using ultrasonic frequency of around 25 kHz.  On the other hand, the removal of process oils from double cannula, or the removal of printing inks from a 1300 l.p.i. printing roller may require frequencies in the range of 110 kHz to 170 kHz.

All precision cleaning is achieved with either aqueous or solvent based chemistries. Cleaning chemistry must firstly be compatible with the substrate to be cleaned whilst at the same time having an affinity for the contaminant to be removed.  If there is no such affinity even the addition of ultrasonics, which usually enhances cleaning effectiveness while reducing chemical concentration and process time, will not achieve sufficient cleaning. 

The third key ingredient in effective ultrasonic cleaning is Temperature.  Temperature reduces the cleaning solution’s viscosity, which in turn maximises cavitation.  Temperature may also be an aid in softening the contaminant, thusly improving ultrasonic effectiveness. (Read more about the importance of temperature in F. John Fuchs’ paper entitled Ultrasonic Cleaning:Fundamental Theory and Application”)

Over the years, having designed and built ultrasonic cleaners for numerous industries and applications, we have come across a handful of outstanding cleaning chemistries which have given our customers excellent results.

Brulin Formula 815 GD – is being widely used by the aeronautical and automotive industries; by prosthetic implant manufacturers and surgical equipment manufacturers.

Brulin Formula 815 QR – Aggressive cleaning for the most tenacious soils, and broad compatibility with steel, aluminium, and most common substrates — 815QR is the ideal detergent for automotive rebuild and other heavy-duty immersion cleaning processes.

Australian distributor for Brulin products: http://www.safetyfloor.com.au

ARDROX® 1618Paint, carbon,rust, lead deposit remover, concentrated, immersion.

Used widely by the diesel engine servicing industries and by the printing industry for removal of inks from printing rollers.

Available from: http://www.chemetall.com.au

It should be remembered that just the removal of the soil or contaminant from your component is not the end of the cleaning process.  Depending on the level of cleanliness that is required, the component needs to be rinsed to remove all traces of soil and cleaning solution residue.  (Read "Ten Minutes to Better Rinsing")