Industrial-scale ultrasonic cleaning involving flammable solvents with low flash points* requires special equipment as well as special procedures. The American Chemical Society publishes a table of common organic solvents that includes flash points. In terms of equipment specifications, you will need ultrasonic cleaners with remote generators to comply with NEC and NFPA as well as local codes to minimize dangers of fire or explosions.
Ultrasonic Cleaner Generators – What they Do
Benchtop ultrasonic cleaners and most floor-mounted industrial-sized units used with non-flammable aqueous cleaning chemicals have self-contained ultrasonic generators mounted in the unit casing along with the ultrasonic bath tank, transducers, control panel and, if so equipped, heaters.
These generators power the ultrasonic transducers that create billions of microscopic bubbles that implode on contact with items being cleaned to blast and carry away contaminants. For more on this see our post on how ultrasonic … Read the rest
Acetone, a solvent and thinner available in paint and hardware stores, carries on its container a warning that it is extremely flammable and quickly evaporates. These two characteristics are always important to users but particularly important when acetone solvent is used as a degreaser in ultrasonic bath for residue-free removal of contaminants. This post provides information on the safe use of acetone solvent as an ultrasonic bath.
But first, some background.
Why Caution is Critical with Acetone
Acetone and similar solvents such as toluene and IPA are characterized by relatively low flash points.
A flash point is the temperature at which a particular organic compound such as an acetone cleaner gives off sufficient vapor to ignite in air when given an ignition source. And as noted above, acetone evaporates quickly.
Explosion-proof ultrasonic cleaners must be used when cleaning tasks call for the use of volatile solvents to achieve the desired results. See examples below. When low flash point flammable solvents are involved in an ultrasonic cleaning operation, a number of precautions are called for in addition to using an explosion-proof ultrasonic cleaner. This is because using these solvents creates what the NEC and NFPA term a hazardous location.
A flash point is the temperature at which a particular organic compound gives off sufficient vapor to ignite in air when given an ignition source. In view of this, selection of an ultrasonic cleaner must take into account that not only do volatile solvents evaporate, but the heat generated by the ultrasonic cleaning process accelerates solvent evaporation and vapor generation.… Read the rest
As described in Chapter 3 of the Adhesives Technology Handbook*, “solvent cleaning is the process of removing soil from a surface with an organic solvent without physically or chemically altering the material being cleaned. This includes methods such as vapor degreasing, spraying, immersion, and mechanical or ultrasonic scrubbing.” This post describes how to safely use a volatile solvent cleaner with a low flash point.
Solvent Cleaner Flash Points
Solvent cleaners have different flashpoints. In chemistry, the flash point of a volatile material is the lowest temperature at which its vapors ignite if given an ignition source. In brief, the lower the flashpoint the more flammable they are. This is important when using a solvent cleaner.
The American Chemical Society publishes a table of common organic solvents that includes flash points. Examples of low flash point volatile solvents are 1-propanol at 59⁰F (15⁰C), acetone at -4⁰F (-20⁰C) and toluene at 39⁰F (4⁰C). … Read the rest
An explosion-proof ultrasonic cleaning system satisfies customers’ preferences for flammable solvents employed during initial cleaning processes for new and reconditioned stainless-steel filters, reports Jeff Bernier, Quality Manager at Porvair Filtration Group in Caribou, ME.
“Solvent ultrasonic cleaning falls into our passivation cycle as a means of improving the corrosion resistance of our 316L stainless steel filters by removing ferrous contaminants like free iron from surfaces, and restoring them to their original corrosion specifications,” Mr. Bernier explains, adding “many of our chromatography customers expect it.”
Solvent Ultrasonic Cleaning Replaces Aqueous Solutions
… Read the rest
“Our explosion-proof ultrasonic cleaner allows us to safely use flammable solvents versus previously employed non-flammable aqueous solutions for initial cleaning,” Mr. Bernier says.
“Grade A isopropanol alcohol and pharmaceutical grade acetone are the preferred solvents. However, they require specially designed ultrasonic cleaners as well as compliance with strict safety standards.
“These include the National Electric
How Can I Use Flammable Solvents in an Ultrasonic Cleaner?
Examples of a widely used flammable solvents are IPA (Isopropyl alcohol), Acetone, and IMS (Industrial Methylated Spirits). Any time flammable solvents are used for cleaning purposes there is risk of fire or explosion due to ignition of volatile vapors by a flash source. Ignition can occur from any source due to spills or as flammable solvent vapors spread. This guide will explain how you can safely use flammable solvents in an ultrasonic cleaner.
You may not have to use a flammable solvent as your cleaning solution. Watch the video below for details on selection a cleaning solution for your ultrasonic cleaner.
Cleaning with flammable solvents requires extreme caution in any case but ultrasonic cleaning with … Read the rest
Cleaning with flammable solvents requires extreme caution in any case but ultrasonic cleaning with flammable solvents requires specially designed equipment and procedures. That’s because of the real danger of a fire or explosion if spilled solvent or vapors are ignited by sparks from internal electronics or external sources. This post describes equipment to use and precautions to observe for ultrasonic cleaning with low flash point flammable solvents.
But first, some explanations and relevant regulations.
What is a Flash Point?
Flammable solvents have different flashpoints. In brief, the lower the flashpoint the more flammable they are. This is important when cleaning with flammable solvents.
Fortunately there is help.
The American Chemical Society publishes a table of common organic solvents that includes flash points. Examples of low flash point volatile solvents are 1-propanol at 59⁰F (15⁰C), acetone at -4⁰F (-20⁰C) and toluene at 39⁰F (4⁰C).
Cleaning with Flammable Solvent Regulations
As a … Read the rest
Strict guidelines apply to the cleanliness of surgical implants to assure there are no residual contaminants that can cause infection or other issues after patients are discharged. A very effective cleaning solvent for surgical implants is isopropyl alcohol (IPA). This is because it evaporates quickly, is relatively non-toxic and, importantly, dries residue free.
Ultrasonic cleaners are widely used for cleaning surgical implants after manufacturing because of their speed and effectiveness in removing contaminants. But using IPA in an ultrasonic cleaner requires special precautions and equipment because IPA is a flammable liquid.
This post describes how to safely clean surgical implants with IPA.
- A quick definition of flammable liquids
- Special considerations to safely clean surgical implants
- Defining a hazardous location
- Equipment selection suggestions
- Workplace precautions
Flammable Liquids Defined
Flammable liquids, also termed volatile solvents, are ranked by what is called their flash points. In brief, the lower the flashpoint … Read the rest