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