Cleaning silicone treater sleeves

Question: My customer has been cleaning their treater sleeves using water and a clean cloth, and they have noted that after cleaning they need to re-adjust many of their operating parameters, including power and treater gap. Is there a problem with this cleaning method? Are there better ones?

Answer: While silicone is inherently very hydrophobic, I can see that after service in a corona treater it may become more hydrophilic, leading to water adsorption into the elastomer. This could affect the dielectric properties of the silicone sleeve, at least until the adsorbed moisture is driven out by the heat generated in the treater. This could certainly create a need to adjust machine settings.

Our recommended cleaning method is to use Lysol Basin Tub & Tile Cleaner rather than water. Be sure any residue from the cleaner is thoroughly removed from the sleeve’s surface, or there may be an effect on machine performance.

An alternate method would be to use 70% or 99% isopropyl alcohol (2-propanol). Based on data from a Balseal Engineering report(1), chemical compatibility between silicone elastomers and isopropyl alcohol is good, though it is possible some color fading may occur(2).

References:

1) http://www.balseal.com:8080/sites/default/files/tr60d_020707133101.pdf.

2) Xu, Z.W., J. Jiang, X.X. Zhang, G.B. Liang, and Y. Li, PubMed, 46 (2011), 300-303.

Published by

Russ Smith

Russ Smith formed Diversified Enterprises - the first business to focus specifically on applications of the dyne test - in 1986, and has served as President of the company ever since. He has over 30 years of experience in the fields of surface treatment and analysis, and deals with technical inquiries from customers worldwide on a daily basis. Russ is a member of ASTM, the Society of Plastics Engineers, the American Chemical Society, the American Society for Quality, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and TAPPI.

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