Aqueous Alkaline Cleaners: An Alternative to Organic Solvents
CONSTRUCTION ENGINEERING RESEARCH LAB (ARMY) CHAMPAIGN IL ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING DIV
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Cleaning metal parts is a common task at U.S. Army installations. Because solvents are generally used for this service, large quantities of hazardous waste are generated daily at posts around the world. The environmental impacts and escalating cost of waste disposal have prompted the Department of Defense DOD to initiate programs seeking safe and efficient methods to reduce solvent waste generation. In response, the U.S. Army Construction Engineering Research Laboratories USACERL initiated a study to investigate the use of alkaline cleaners as an alternative to organic solvents now being used. Alkaline cleaning is an age-old technology used extensively throughout the industry. Recently, the use of alkaline cleaners has increased due to the growing awareness of environmental and personnel safety concerns associated with chlorinated and petroleum-based solvents i.e., 1,1,1-trichloroethane and Stoddard solvent. Properties associated with alkaline cleaners i.e., nontoxic, nonvolatile, noncombustible, and biodegradable make them an environmentally acceptable alternative for use in metal parts cleaning. The USACERL analysis found that aqueous alkaline cleaning systems can be an alternative for degreasing operations at U.S. Army installations. Due to the unique operating conditions at every base, each system should be thoroughly tested. Preliminary testing will ensure a proper system design that will benefit both the installation and the environment.
- Inorganic Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry
- Solvents, Cleaners and Abrasives
- Safety Engineering