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Rubber Cleaner

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Question:

I am looking for a rubber cleaner that can be used on EPDM and not cause any drying or glazing of the surface. We are using EPDM rubber rollers to drive thin SST sheet material via a web process that punches and cuts the material in certain length sheets with hole patterns for material I.D. We are currently using isopropyl alcohol for cleaning the oil used to protect the coil material and a fine, powder-like SST from the rollers. However, the alcohol severely dries out the rubber and creates

a “glazed” surface finish that is detrimental to the function of the machine. Any assistance you can provide will be greatly appreciated. C.M.

Answer:

I have never experienced problems with isopropyl alcohol and EPDM. Most chemical compatibility charts I checked also show isopropyl alcohol to have little or no effect on EPDM. I would do a couple things. First verify that your belt is EPDM and the solvent used is pure isopropyl alcohol. It appears some other alcohols may be slightly more detrimental than isopropyl. Also, make sure there are no other process steps that may be causing the glazing, such as high temperature heating.

When that has been confirmed, it may be necessary to look into an alternate cleaning method. Several other solvents I checked into did have compatibility problems with EPDM, including mineral spirits and chlorinated solvents. Would a mild detergent or simply high-pressure water work for your application? These may be your only options if you think isopropyl alcohol is creating the glazing you observe.

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