Cleaning Solvents 101: What is a Solvent Evaporation Rate?

Simply put, solvent evaporation rate is the rate at which a solvent evaporates ― the process of changing from liquid into vapor ― compared to the evaporation rate of another substance. Evaporation quantity is thus expressed as a ratio instead of in units.

The evaporation rate of water is a commonly used reference point for determining the “slow” or “fast” evaporation rate of solvents. A high rate or a low rate of evaporation is neither good nor bad. Rather, the impact of solvent evaporation rate depends on how a solvent is used, and whether its ingredients that evaporate are good or bad for workers and the environment.

Evaporation Rate: Fast and Slow

A solvent that has a high evaporation rate doesn’t possess the characteristic on accident. The product is formulated for an application that may deal with a specific product or area of products, such as a type of aeronautical equipment or general surfaces for aeronautical equipment.

From a chemical perspective, a fast evaporation rate is usually preferred for cleaning any product that has a low tolerance for moisture on the parts ― even for short periods of time. Electronics immediately come to mind. The presence of residual moisture can cause electrical equipment to short circuit and may lead to oxidation if trapped between part fittings.

From a practical perspective, a fast evaporation rate is preferred for two reasons, among others. First, so long as the solvent is efficacious for the application, the cleaning process is highly efficient. Second, a product with a fast solvent evaporation rate doesn’t contribute to the waste trap. The long-term financial benefit depends on how many of your solvents are fast evaporating versus how many are not.

Evaporation Rate: Potential Issues

If there’s a downside to a fast solvent evaporation rate, it’s that some fast-evaporating solvents have ingredients you’d rather not have in the air of the work environment. Even solvents that don’t have a toxic safety profile can release vapors that cause temporary ailments, such as coughing, watery eyes, and dizziness. They’re minor maladies, but they thwart productivity.

If you need to use a solvent that has these effects, taking two steps can help fix the productivity issue: Using an air filtration system that senses and removes airborne contaminants, and equipping workers with personal protective equipment (PPE) that is acceptable for the exposure risk. Alternatively, you could order a custom solvent that eliminates some safety concerns.

In the Market for New Solvents?

If so, we’d like to hear from you. Ecolink specializes in environmentally safe and environmentally preferred industrial solvents. Our solvents are designed to replace older, hazardous solvents, without sacrificing efficacy for safety. In addition to providing an array of stock solvents, we create custom formulations for users who require other than what a stock product provides.

For more information on solvent evaporation rate and our products and services, call us today at 800-563-1305, or send us an email through our contact form. We look forward to providing assistance and supplying a free test sample for the solvent of your choice!




Using a Fast Evaporating Solvent: Frequently Asked Questions

A fast evaporating solvent is generally defined as one that evaporates faster than water. Some fast evaporating solvents evaporate exponentially faster than water, while others dry just slightly faster. The value of either type of fast evaporating solvent depends its chemical constituency and what it’s used for. With that in mind, we answer some commonly asked questions about fast evaporating solvents.

  1. How do I know how quickly a solvent should evaporate?

The evaporation rate you need is based on the requirements of your solvent application. If you’re unsure of which solvent or evaporation rate you need, contact the chemists at Ecolink for assistance.

  1. Do highly evaporative solvents cause pollution problems?

It depends in the chemical formulation. If a fast evaporating solvent is filled with with hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) ― including volatile organic compounds (VOCs) ― that vaporize at room temperature, pollution is a threat to both humans and the environment.

  1. Do fast evaporating solvents require an air filtration system?

Because even mild solvents that have a good safety profile have pungent aromas and airborne chemicals that mildly agitate the sense, it’s a good idea to operate an air filtration system when using any type of solvent in an open-air setting, as opposed using it in a parts washer.

  1. Should a fast drying solvent have high dielectric strength?

It depends on the application. If you need to clean energized equipment, then you definitely need a dielectric in your solvent. The solvent should have the dielectric strength to impede the full voltage of the energized equipment you are cleaning. Insufficient dielectric strength can be like having no dielectric strength at all.

  1. Should a fast drying solvent have a high flashpoint?

It’s ideal for any industrial solvent to have a high flashpoint. Industrial work areas often contain sources of ignition that could incidentally set a low flashpoint solvent ablaze. Something as small as an errant spark from a production line activity could cause a conflagration. Sometimes, it may not be possible to use a low flashpoint product for your application, but use one when you can.

  1. Will using fast evaporating solvent increase emissions?

In a word, yes. But whether this is a good or bad thing depends on the type of emissions. If a solvent prolifically releases hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), you have something to worry about beyond the environment: There is good chance the EPA will regulate the solvent. Fast evaporating solvents that have no HAPs generally don’t pose problems for the environment.

About Ecolink

Ecolink is an industry-leading supplier of environmentally safe and environmentally preferred cleaning solvents. We offer many solvents for replacing old, toxic solvents with formulations that offer the same or better efficacy than these archaic solutions. What’s more, many of our fast evaporating solvent options can be “dropped in” your solvent system, without a hitch.

To place an order for a stock or custom fast evaporating solvent, call us today at 800-563-1305. Or send us an email through our contact form. We look forward to assisting you!


The Good, Bad, and Ugly of Evaporating Solvents

Evaporating solvents: If you use the term as a general classification for solvents that readily evaporate, you come up with a group of products in which it seems almost every solvent belongs. The fact that most solvents evaporate — some at a remarkably high or low rate — is good in some contexts and bad in others. There’s also a context in which the bad can become downright ugly. From an industrial user’s point of view, here are the good, bad, and ugly of evaporating solvents.

The Good

Evaporating solvents generally possess one of two benefits when it comes to evaporation rate: They evaporate slowly and have a long exposure time to the cleaning surface, which helps break down thick accumulations; or they evaporate quickly, preventing parts from oxidizing and expediting soil removal for applications that demand a quick turnaround time, (e.g. degreasing the engine of an airliner or military jet that must return to the runway shortly.)

Evaporation rate is a good example of a solvent characteristic that impacts the performance of a solvent beyond its chemical efficacy. Moreover, in what seems like circular reasoning, the formulation of a solvent determines how quickly it evaporates, and the solvent’s evaporation rate partly determines the efficacy of the formulation.

The Bad

Evaporating solvents can only remove soils that they evaporate slowly enough to break down. Sometimes, breaking up soils requires a good soaking; while other applications demand the opposite: fast evaporation. If you try to use a fast evaporating solvent for an application that requires a minutes of contact time between the solvent and cleaning surface, you could go through can after can and still not complete the job.

By the same token, a slow evaporation rate can doom applications that require a fast drying solvent. For instance, you don’t want switchgear to be wet when it’s reenergized after a good degreasing, and you don’t want precision parts to start rusting because water from an aqueous solvent hides in metal crevices.

The Ugly

The ugliest part of solvent evaporation is when injuries or financial losses result directly from using a solvent that has the wrong evaporation rate for the application.

In many industrial work settings, injury and financial loss are one in the same; worker injuries lead to sick days, workers comp, legal settlements, etc. Respiratory damage and slip-and-fall events are injuries that can result at least partly from how quickly certain solvents evaporate. As for respiratory damage, it depends entirely on the solvent that is evaporating.

About Ecolink

Ecolink is a supplier of environmentally safe and environmentally preferred, competitively priced solvents. We have many replacements for hazardous, regulated solvents, which demonstrate equal or better efficacy than what they replace. We also formulate custom solvents for the needs of specific users, and provide free test samples of any solvent we sell, stock or custom.

For more information about our products and services, call us today at 800-563-1305, or send us an email through our contact form. We look forward to hearing from you!


General Electrical Maintenance Cleaners: Using ECC (A)

Industrial electrical maintenance cleaners are often designed for specific electrical equipment, such as motors, switchgear, and printed circuit boards. This is a good thing. If you’re cleaning equipment that your operations depend on, you definitely want to know you’re using the right cleaner.

But there’s also a need for general electrical maintenance cleaners — solutions for cleaning for several types of equipment, dispersing various standard soils, while delivering uniformly great results. ECC (A) Environmentally Preferred Contact Cleaner from Ecolink is a good example of this type of cleaner.

ECC (A) for Electrical Maintenance

ECC (A) is formulated to free non-energized electrical equipment from soils that traditional chlorinated solvents would remove. The difference is that ECC (A) is formulated to be safer for the environment than its archaic, chlorinated counterparts. ECC (A) has several notable specs that make it an excellent option for general electrical maintenance, including:

  • Fast drying – Dries ultra fast so no moisture remains when electricity returns
  • No residue – Leaves no residue that could impede electrical current
  • Odorless – No powerful smell to irritate the senses
  • No “phase out” date – EPA isn’t set to regulate any of the ingredients
  • Non-ozone-depleting – No emissions that eat away ozone

The fifth characteristic makes ECC (A) an excellent cleaner for a specific group of organizations, in addition to ones at large: those located in Low Emission Zones (LEZs), where emissions caps are far lower than most places go. If you’re located in or around a LEZ, and you need to keep emissions especially low, ECC (A) can work well as an electrical maintenance cleaner for applications not involving live electricity and requiring a fast drying solvent.

Some Key Things to Remember     

Before you experience the cleaning power of ECC (A), remember that it must be used on non-energized equipment. The solvent doesn’t have high dielectric strength and isn’t intended for dielectric applications.

Also, although the solvent’s environmentally preferred formulation makes it safer for the environment than traditional chlorinated solvents, remember that proper personal protective equipment (PPE) should be worn when deploying ECC (A). Consult OSHA guidelines.

In addition, remember that ECC (A) has a low flashpoint. It ignites readily, just like it evaporates. As long as you use and store the solvent away from sources of ignition, and have workers wear flame-retardant PPE to be on the safe side, the low flashpoint should not pose a problem.

Contact Ecolink Today

As long as you take some simple safety precautions, ECC (A) could be your choice option among general electrical maintenance cleaners for fast drying applications. If you need an economical solvent, the choice is even better. ECC (A) is highly economical compared to equivalent HFE and HFC based contact cleaners — and you can increase savings by investing in quantity.

Would you like to see how well ECC (A) works for your electrical maintenance cleaning needs? To order a free test sample, call us today at 800-563-1305, or use our Request a Product Sample form. We look forward to providing you with great results!