Cleaning Electronics: What is a Dielectric Solvent?

What is a dielectric solvent? You already know what a solvent is, so what you need is the definition of “dielectric”. Wikipedia gives a nice summation of the term:

“A dielectric (or dielectric material) is an electrical insulator that can be polarized by an applied electric field. When a dielectric is placed in an electric field, electric charges do not flow through the material, as they do in an electrical conductor, but only slightly shift from their average equilibrium positions, causing dielectric polarization.

Furthermore, “Because of dielectric polarization, positive charges are displaced toward the field and negative charges shift in the opposite direction. This creates an internal electric field that reduces the overall field within the dielectric itself.”

In other words, a dielectric or dielectric material impedes the flow of electricity through the solvent stream, preventing you from receiving an electrical shock while cleaning electrical equipment, unless the solvent’s dielectric isn’t strong enough to impede the equipment’s active voltage.

Establishing Dielectric Strength

Suppliers of dielectric solvents offer them in different dielectric strengths for a reason. Different cleaning operations involve different voltages. Some equipment is cleaned while energized, meaning the operating voltage could travel through the solvent stream and shock a worker, if the solvent’s dielectric isn’t sufficiently strong.

When ordering industrial dielectric solvent from a professional supplier, dielectric strength will be identified in the “product description” or “product safety” resources available online and in print. If in doubt about the dielectric strength you need for an application, don’t resort to trial and error; it’s too dangerous. Instead, contact the product’s manufacturer to clarify dielectric resistance.

Dielectric Versus Flash Point     

One mistake new solvent users make is thinking that a strong dielectric is the equivalent of a non-flammable or high flashpoint formulation, which isn’t true. A solvent with dielectric strength can be flammable. And flammable solvent with dielectric strength may resist ignition from an arc flash, for example.

Before you order a dielectric solvent, determine whether you need a non-flammable formulation, as well. For safety reasons, address this issue with the manufacturer upfront, before you order.

Shopping with Ecolink

If you need a dielectric solvent for cleaning electrical equipment, Ecolink can provide a solution that works flawlessly. If you need to clean energized equipment with your dielectric solvent, it’s essential to establish the dielectric strength you need upfront. This is what our dedicated team of chemists is here to help you do.

When selecting your solution, you have two options: order a stock solution that’s preformulated and ready to ship, or request a custom solvent that’s designed for your unique requirements. Because custom solvents are a bit more expensive, we recommend evaluating stock options first, and then pursuing a custom solution is no stock solvents offer a perfect fit.

Regardless of the solution you order, feel free to request a free test sample, so you can see how the solvent works for your application. If you get excellent results, you can place you official order with confidence, knowing that you’re receive the best solution for the job.

Contact Us Today 

For assistance identifying the right solvent for your application, call us today at 800-563-1305, or use our contact form. We look forward to providing environmentally preferred solvent options!


The Importance of Residue Free Solvents for Electronics

For most solvent cleaners ? industrial strength and otherwise ? a non-residue formulation, which means the cleaner leaves no residue after performing the cleaning action, is generally considered a good thing. Some cleaners purposefully leave residue to help protect the equipment or part’s final application, such as to provide a buffer against a certain chemical.

In most instances, however, using residue free solvents is considered the best option, especially when cleaning electronics. To understand the value of residue free solvents as electronic cleaners, it helps to consider what may happen if electronic equipment were cleaned with a residual solvent instead.

Residual Solvents and Electronics

Solvents that leave a residue pose three general problems for electronic equipment, although some problems are limited to particular equipment construction features. Without getting too complicated, let’s take a look at problems residual solvents commonly pose to electronics.

1. Residue Impedes Electrical Current

Especially when they contain a dielectric, solvents that leave a residue can imeded electrical current in the equipment they clean. Primary areas of considerations are electrical contacts and printed circuit boards. If you find your electronics don’t work efficiently after using a residual dielectric cleaner to service them, the dielectric material in the residue could be the culprit.

2. Attracts Dirt and Grime to Parts

If you leave a film of soap residue on a kitchen floor after mopping, you’re working at cross purposes. You’re trying to clean the floor, but the residue will attract dirt and grime faster than a floor treated with residue free solvents. Bottom line: You’ll need to clean more often.

The same thing can happen to electrical equipment. To make matters worse, the equipment often features geometrically complex parts in close fitment, offering plenty of seams and crevices for residue to collect unhindered, until a residue removal operation is performed.

3. Can Sabotage Moving Parts

This concern deals primarily with motors, which, when in motion, must have proper oil viscosity to prevent moving parts from grinding on each other. The layer of oil between moving parts is exceptionally thin, and introducing solvent residue to the mix could ruin viscosity, making it too thick. Letting the problem persist for even a few minutes could cause significant damage.

Need Residue Free Solvents?

If so, Ecolink has a wide range of environmentally preferred solvents that are designed to clean electronics, without leaving a trace of residue that could importune the equipment’s operation. One of our eco-friendly stock products may be perfect for you requirements. If not, we can create a custom solvent that matches your needs, and supply it on an ongoing basis.

To request a free product sample or place an order, please call us today at 800-563-1305, or reach us through our contact form. We look forward to providing residue free solvents!

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!

Solvent Cleaning 101: What is a Polar Solvent?

If you’re shopping for industrial cleaning solvents, you may have run across the term “polarity” in your search. If you’re not a chemist or a salesperson for a solvent company, you may be wondering what the term means and why it’s significant. Below, we provide a simple definition of a polar solvent and explain why this type of solvent is important to cleaning operations.

What is a Polar Solvent?

Polar solvents contain molecules that maintain an electrical charge that has low amperage, which means the amount of electrical current flowing between the molecules is low on the amperage scale. The most common example of a polar molecule is water; it contains one oxygen atom and two hydrogen atoms that are set at an angle to the oxygen atom, creating a minor imbalance in the electrical charge (a.k.a. polarity) of the water molecule.

If you place a solid in water, it can dissolve due to the solid’s molecules attracting to the electrical charge of the water molecules. For example, salt dissolves in this manner when placed in water. The same thing can happen when you subject a soil to a polar cleaning solvent. However, a polar solvent will not readily dissolve non-polar materials. This is why polarity is one of the chief considerations when choosing a solvent for removing specific types of accumulations.

Dielectric Constancy

Polar solvents for industrial applications are frequently classified by dielectric constancy, which is measured by what’s known as a polarity index. Encyclopedia Britannica defines dielectric constant as the “property of an electrical insulating material (i.e., a dielectric) equal to the ratio of the capacitance of a capacitor filled with the given material to the capacitance of an identical capacitor in a vacuum without the dielectric material.”

More to the point of our purpose here, Britannica goes on to explain, “Dielectric constants of liquids and solids may be determined by comparing the value of the capacitance when the dielectric is in place to its value when the capacitor is filled with air.”

When we use a polar solvent to remove soils from a material, we use it to remove polar materials. Otherwise, we’d perform the cleaning process repeatedly, without good results. This is why choosing a cleaning solvent without knowledge of the solvent’s polarity and the polarity of the soil(s) that need to be removed can hamper productivity and waste time and money. It’s also why you can’t go wrong by speaking with a solvent chemist before you place a solvent order.

Need a Polar Solvent?

If you’re not sure, contact Ecolink. Our team of chemists are here to produce efficacious, eco friendly solvents, and help you select the right option for your requirements. If one of our stock solutions doesn’t hit the mark, we’ll formulate a custom solution that works flawlessly. Plus, we’ll send you a free sample of what you plan to order, so you can see how it works before buying.

Call us today at 1-800-563-1305, or use our contact form. We look forward to assisting you!




Choosing Precision Cleaning Chemicals for Electronics: Key Questions

How you clean electronics can have a major impact on how they perform. If your organization has business-critical objectives that rely on electrical equipment, choose an electronics cleaner carefully. It could affect the operation of the equipment, the safety of those who clean it, and how often the equipment is cleaned.

To help ensure you purchase the right precision cleaning chemicals for electronics, ask the following questions before you select a solvent and place an order.

What types of soils need to be removed?

Step one is choosing a cleaner that removes the soils you want gone. For example, if you need to remove soldering flux, engine oil accretions, or an organic substance such as bitumen, limit your search to eco friendly cleaners that are designed to remove the soil in question. If more than one accumulation of soil must be removed, you may need more than one type of cleaner.

What type of materials need to be cleaned?

Choose a cleaner that’s compatible with every material it touches during the cleaning operation. For example, if you’re cleaning stainless steel electrical contacts, be sure the solvent doesn’t degrade plastic or rubber wire coatings that lead away from the metal contacts.

Does the hardware have complex geometries?

If so, using a cleaner in aerosol form may offer the highest level of cleanliness. Particles of aerosol distribute evenly across the surface areas that have intricate spatial configurations. Trying to clean these areas with wipes is an exercise in futility, and using cleaner in pump spray form can result in overusing solvent in order to saturate and cleanse hard to reach places.

Will the hardware be cleaned while energized?

If so, be sure the cleaner you use contains a dielectric buffer that prevents electricity from traveling through the solvent stream, potentially exploding the solvent container and causing the worker to be shocked and or burned. If you can’t find the cleaner you need in dielectric form, Ecolink can produce a custom formulation that contains the dielectric capacity you need.

Will cleaning occur near sources of ignition?

Some precision cleaning chemicals for electronics have a low flashpoint, which means they ignite rather easily. If you’ll clean electronics in areas where ignition sources (e.g. open flames, sparks from grinders, orange hot electrical filaments, etc.) are present, it’s ideal to use a cleaner that has no flashpoint. It helps prevent burn injuries and building fires.

Is residue on cleaned components acceptable?

In most cases, users of precision cleaning chemicals for electronics don’t want the cleaner to leave a residue. The reason why is simple: Residue tends to attract dirt and grime, which means the equipment needs to be cleaned more often than if a non-residue electronics cleaner were used instead.

Get Precision Cleaning Chemicals for Electronics

Ecolink offers a variety of environmentally preferred cleaners that are designed to clean electronics. For assistance selecting the right precision cleaning chemicals based on your wants and needs, please call us today at 800-563-1305, or send us an email through our contact form. We look forward to supplying you with affordable, efficacious, eco friendly cleaning solvents!