General, materials compatibility is not an issue with the MicroCare cleaners, but make no mistake — materials compatibility can be a complex question. In general, the higher the Kb value of the solvent, the more likely the material will have compatibility issues.

Parts made with soft plastics, rubbers and elastomers may be damaged by exposure to aggressive solvents with high Kb values
Parts made with soft plastics, rubbers and elastomers may be damaged by exposure to aggressive solvents with high Kb values

For example, Vertrel™ XF has almost no compatibility problems with any substrate. It has a very mild Kb value, around 20. On the other hand, the strongest cleaners — like the Bromothane™ family of solvents — have good materials compatibility across fiber glass, resins, plastics, ceramics, glass and metals like zinc, stainless steel, carbon steel, aluminum and copper, but will instantly destroy soft plastics such as polycarbonates. (The transparent windows on LCDs, calculators, pagers, palmtop computers and cell phones usually are made from polycarbonates.)

Gaskets and elastomers also will demonstrate some swelling but will, in most cases, revert to within a few percent of original size/weight after air drying. Swell, shrinkage, and extractables are strongly affected by the compounding agents, plasticizers, and curing processes used in the manufacture of plastics and elastomers. Therefore, thorough testing prior to deployment is particularly important.

Materials compatibility is not limited to solvents based on synthetic molecules. For example, d-liomene is a powerful, natural solvent made by every green plant. It will chew up elastomers and rubber in the blink of an eye (there’s a really funny and expensive story here, but we’ll save that for another day).

If you have questions about specific plastics or elastomers, check the individual product spec sheets or contact MicroCare or have the Cleaning Lab run some tests. All of the guesses and assumption

s in the world can’t replace a few good, simple tests, and those tests will eliminate a great deal of uncertainty about your products, components and problems.

In short, MicroCare offers a wide range of specialty fluids so materials compatibility usually is not a major factor.

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