Ultrasonic Cleaning

Ultrasonic energy can be used in conjunction with several types of cleaners, but it is most commonly applied to chlorinated hydrocarbon solvents, water, and water with surfactants. Ultrasonic cleaning, however, is more expensive than other methods, because of higher initial cost of equipment and higher maintenance cost, and consequently the use of this process is largely restricted to applications in which other methods have proved inadequate. Areas of application in which ultrasonic methods have proved advantageous are:

• Removal of tightly adhering or embedded particles from solid surfaces

• Removal of fine particles from powder-metallurgy parts

• Cleaning of small precision parts, such as those for cameras, watches, or microscopes

• Cleaning of parts made of precious metals

• Cleaning of parts with complex configurations, when extreme cleanness is required

• Cleaning of parts for hermetically sealed units

• Cleaning of printed circuit cards and electronic assemblies

Despite the high cost of ultrasonic cleaning, it has proved economical for applications that would otherwise require hand operations.

Part size is a limitation, although no definite limits have been established. The commercial use of ultrasonic cleaning has been limited principally to small parts. The process is used as a final cleaner only, after most of the soil is removed by another method. Ultrasonic cleaning, in some cases, has resulted in fatigue failure of parts. Proper racking and isolation from tank wall will often solve this problem.

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