The purpose of ultrasonic cleaning is to remove contaminants that can become embedded in cracks, crevices, and small deformities on solid surfaces. The sonic cleaner process involves agitation in a liquid through the use of sound. The type of liquid can vary from simple water or some form of solvent. The choice of medium is dependent on the type of contaminates and surface to be cleaned. Though the sonic cleaner is important in the initiating of the process, the fluidity and wetness of the selected solution is critical to its final success.
Though sterilization is an excellent method for cleaning delicate or critical equipment, a sonic cleaner is very essential in removing a wide variety of contaminates that may be missed. There is little restriction on the materials that can be easily removed using a sonic cleaner. They include several forms of dust, dirt, oil, pigments, rust, grease, algae, fungus, bacteria, lime scale, soot wax, mold release agents, and dangerous biological substances such as blood, sputum, or other bodily fluids.
The sonic cleaner process follows a specific set of guidelines to be the most effective. The item to be cleaned is placed in a chamber containing the cleaning solution, which can be different forms of solvents or water. In some cases, a specially engineered solution designed to remove oil or grease is used. A sonic cleaner generating unit that is part of the chamber, or may be lowered into it, sends ultrasonic waves through the fluid as fluctuated electrical signals are transmitted. These two elements working in concert send compression waves through the enclosure that produce bubbles of high temperature and pressure that attacks contaminants on the surface of the item being cleaned.
As the sound frequency increases in the sonic cleaner, the compressed bubbles become smaller and more efficient in their cleaning, enabling them to attack microscopic bits and pieces. The ingredients of the solution are the main factor that produce the efficiency of the sonic cleaning process and serve as a surfactant agent, which is a dynamic component of the final cleaning process.
The initial use of sonic cleaners, when they were introduced in the 1950’s, was to be a device for household cleaning. In the decades since their inception, they have become an essential part of several manufacturing processes. One particular application is their recent introduction into dentistry for the cleaning of teeth removing the need for abrasive cleaning agents. Another critical area is in the decontamination of medical instruments and tools.