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How to Select a Cold Cleaning Solvent -

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Best Practice
How to Select a Cold Cleaning Solvent
There are many different products available when making a decision on a cold
cleaning solvent. Carefully review all aspects of your application when selecting
the most cost effective one to use.
here are many questions you need to ask when deciding
on a cold cleaning solvent. Below are some important
criteria to consider when selecting the best method for
your application.
What is the Flash Point?
There is a wide range of no flash solvents and solvents that have
low flash points or high flash points. The higher the flash point, the
less likely the solvent will ignite. Make sure that you differentiate
Fahrenheit and Celsius when comparing the data. Companies often
want to have the flash point of the solvent above 140В°F, as it is
easier to ship as non-hazardous waste if the solvent qualifies.
What is the Toxicity?
Compare the MSDS (Material Safety
Data Sheet) and review the exposure levels
EVAPORATION of the solvents. If you are looking at a
solvent with a low exposure level, then
SLOW, IT MIGHT consider the area where it will be used. An
enclosed area like a fumed hood will
minimize exposure. Also, consider if
gloves and a respirator are necessary.
Passive badge testing will assist in
or take too
confirming the exact levels of exposure.
much time to
clean your part. Does the Solvent Have a
Strong Odor?
When you change to a new solvent,
workers in the area will often complain about the odor. Make sure
you test the product if it will be used in an open area. Again, a fumed
hood or enclosed area can reduce the amount of odor that is
What is the Evaporation Rate?
This is an important part of the process. If the evaporation rate is
too slow, it might slow down production or take too much time to
clean your part. A solvent supplier will usually have comparison
data to review the evaporation rate of the product they are offering.
Compare that rate to what you are currently using.
For more information circle 25
42 | Process Cleaning Magazine May/June 2008
A high capacity vacuum inlet trap for protecting vacuum
pumps used in highly corrosive deposition processes which
generate large amounts of condensable byproducts is
available from MV Products of No. Billerica, MA.
The MV Multi-TrapВ® 16" Vacuum Inlet Trap features a
knock-down stage, two stages of user-selectable filter
elements, and cooling coils for removing condensable
byproducts and corrosives from deposition process forelines.
Designed to protect vacuum pumps used in ALD, HCD,
Nitride, TEOS, TiN and other demanding processes, this trap
is constructed from 304 stainless steel and is available with
ISO-160 flanges.
Capable of up to 2,500 in3 of solids accumulation,
depending upon material, the MV Multi-Trap 16" Vacuum
Inlet Trap can be customized with the following filter options:
stainless steel gauze, micro-rated polypropylene, activated
alumina or charcoal, SodasorbВ® and other types to remove
residual solvent vapor acids and particulates. Filters offered
are 4.5" and 9" tall.
For more information circle 126
How Strong is the Cleaning Power?
It is important to consider if the solvent you want to use will clean
your parts sufficiently. You can compare the KB (kauri butanol)
value as a guide on the solvency power. The higher the KB value the
stronger the cleaner. Testing the product to see if it meets your needs
is recommended.
What is the
Cost of the
Decide on how much
solvent you will use per
month and calculate the
cost. You may find a
solvent that works for you
will be too costly if a
large amount of solvent is
needed. Again, there are
ways to reduce your
usage like cleaning in a An enclosed cold cleaning bath which
vapor degreaser or using minimizes worker exposure and solvent
a small still to reuse the dragout.
Photo courtesy of Tech Chem.
solvent to help you justify
the cost. Also, the disposal cost of the solvent must be considered—
is it hazardous or non-hazardous, and what is the cost?
How is the Product Classified from a
Regulatory Standpoint?
Is it a VOC (volatile organic compound) or a reportable solvent?
Are there maximum amounts you can use per month or per year for
your application? Review your regulatory needs for the solvent you
are considering.
The questions above should be considered carefully when making
a decision on a cold cleaning solvent. There are so many different
products available; review all aspects of your application when
selecting the most cost effective solvent to use. pcm
Tom Coulton is president of Tech Chem (Hilton Head, SC), a
company that specializes in supplying cold cleaning and vapor
degreasing solvents and technical services. Tom can be reached at
(800) 771-1351 or via e-mail at
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