The best ultrasonic cleaning solution is dependent upon what is being cleaned and what type of contaminant is dirtying it. The pH levels of ultrasonic cleaning solutions vary greatly. The most basic component of chemistry is pH. Levels range from 0 to 14, with lower levels being more acidic and higher levels being more alkaline. Water has a neutral pH level, usually falling between 7 to 7.5 percent. Depending on the ultrasonic cleaning tank you are using, you may be able to use water as a cleaning agent.
Cavitation is what happens when the ultrasound waves pass through the liquid in the ultrasonic cleaner, causing microscopic vacuum-filled bubbles to expand and collapse rapidly. The surface tension of water naturally resists cavitation. Some tanks require neutral-based cleaning soaps because they lower the surface tension of water which increases the ultrasonic activity in the tank. Omegasonics has custom tanks to meet all your ultrasonic cleaning needs.
Ultrasonic Cleaning with High pH Level Solutions
The higher the pH, the better when you are removing oils, soot, greases, carbon, polishing compounds, grime, and common dirt. However, how high a solution’s pH level should be will depend on the surface you are cleaning.
For example, stainless steel can withstand a higher pH than aluminum. Aluminum could pit, scar, and turn black from a cleaner with too high of a pH level. Similarly, stainless steel can rust if you were to clean it with just water. This is why caustic solutions with a pH level of 13 work great on stainless steel but not so well on aluminum.
Ultrasonic Cleaning with Low pH Level Solutions
Acids fall in the pH range of 2-4. These work best when removing scale, calcium deposits, or light to medium surface rust because acids can remove a surface level of metals. Although acids ranging from 2-4 pH work great, cleaning with an extreme acid at 1 pH can be detrimental. Extreme acid is very dangerous to work with and can damage the ultrasonic cleaning tank. If the cleaning job requires hydraulic acids, be sure and take proper precautions to keep yourself safe and your tank running smoothly. Talk to a professional at Omegasonics if you have any questions about cleaning with acids at 1 pH.
Ultrasonic Cleaning with Medium pH Level Solutions
Medium pH products ranging from 9.5-10 are used to clean solder flux and electronic items. These alkaline cleaning solutions are best for electronics because a higher pH will damage the thin copper substrates. De-ionized rinse water and thorough drying are imperative for electronic cleanings.
Finding the right cleaning solution can seem daunting because of the pH scale, but many applications have already been tested and documented to make it easier for you to make the right choice. Contact Omegasonics for more information and assistance on choosing the best cleaning solution for your ultrasonic cleaning needs. They can provide everything from custom tanks and spare parts to cleaners and filters to keep your ultrasonic cleaning tank running smoothly.