Original Date: 11/03/1996
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Ultrasonic Cleaning
Over the past 13 years, the Oak Ridge Y-12 Plant investigated and developed environmentally-safe replacements for chlorinated solvents (degreasers and cleaners) and strippers (paint and adhesive). By using analytical instruments to study materials and contaminants, researchers determined the baseline cleanliness levels needed for specific applications.
Y-12 has been able to change most of its cleaning operations from chlorinated solvents to aqueous cleaners. The most common aqueous cleaning methods include agitation, high pressure spray, and ultrasonic. Agitation, an immersion cleaning technique, works well for gross contamination removal. High pressure spray also works well for gross contamination removal and is frequently used for lines with high production rates. Ultrasonic, another immersion cleaning technique, determines its effectiveness by cavitational intensity factors. Most industrial users who have switched to aqueous cleaners rely on the agitated or high pressure spray methods. Y-12, instead, pursued ultrasonic methods with aqueous cleaning solvents.
Y-12's research indicated that critical cavitational intensity factors influence the effectiveness of ultrasonic cleaning. These factors include the ultrasonic frequency; the surfactant type; bath temperature; and coupling between the cleaning equipment and the surfactant. Variations in these factors will determine the degree of cleanliness for the material being cleaned.
Y-12's ultrasonic cleaning demonstrations have brought about technology transfer with the U.S. Army and a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) project with an automotive company. In addition, Y- 12 provides direct assistance on ultrasonic cleaning to over 30 businesses in the electronics, medical, and metal fabrication industries.
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Point of Contact for this survey.