This article describes the basic attributes of the most widely used metal surface cleaning processes to remove pigmented drawing compounds, unpigmented oil and grease, chips, cutting fluids, polishing and buffing compounds, rust and scale from steel parts, and residues and lapping compounds from magnetic particle and fluorescent penetrant inspection. The cleaning processes include emulsion cleaning, electrolytic alkaline cleaning, acid cleaning, solvent cleaning, vapor degreasing, alkaline cleaning, ultrasonic cleaning, and glass bead cleaning. The article provides guidelines for choosing an appropriate process for particular applications and discusses eight well-known methods for determining the degree of cleanliness of the work surface.
Alkaline cleaning is a commonly used method for removing a wide variety of soils from the surface of metals. This article focuses on the composition, operating conditions, and test and control of alkaline cleaners, as well as equipment used and their application methods. It describes the mechanisms of alkaline cleaning, such as saponification, displacement, emulsification and dispersion, and metal oxide dissolution. The article concludes with information of the safety and environmental considerations in the usage of alkaline cleaners.