A Refresher Course on Ultrasonic Cleaning
A close look at the intricacies of this technology helps with understanding how it is most effectively applied.
Ultrasonic cleaning is a means of preparing surfaces for finishing and processing operations. Sonic energy produced by industrial ultrasonic cleaners quickly removes contaminants from almost any surface that can be safely immersed in a cleaning solution. The challenge is selecting the correct ultrasonic cleaner, along with its accessories, cleaning solution formulations and cleaning procedures, to efficiently accomplish tasks.
Ultrasonic cleaners are fitted with transducers attached to the bottom and/or sides of a tank filled with a cleaning solution. Transducers, powered by generators, cause the tank bottom to serve as a vibrating membrane at frequencies measured in thousands of cycles per second (kilohertz), sending sound waves pulsing through the cleaning solution. These waves produce millions of tiny vacuum-filled bubbles that shoot out a powerful jet of liquid—on the order of 15,000 to 150,000 psi—when imploding. The force of the implosions, called cavitation, lifts contaminants from workpieces.