The Elimination of Flammable, RCRA and ODC Solvents for Wipe Application

by E. P. Lopez, W. E. Moddeman, J. Birkbeck, D. L. Williams, and M.G. Benkovich

In recent years, efforts have been made within the nuclear weapons complex (National Nuclear Security Administration) of the Department of Energy (DOE) to replace Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) regulated solvents, (flammable, toxic, corrosive and reactive) and ozone-depleting chemicals (ODC) with more benign alternatives.

Within the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and the Department of Defense (DoD) sectors, these solvents are used for cleaning hardware during routine maintenance operations. A primary goal of this study featured in this article is to replace flammable solvents for wiping applications.

Sandia National Laboratories, the BWXT Pantex Plant, the Honeywell Kansas City Plant, and other National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) sites have teamed to identify suitable replacements for Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) solvents and ozone-depleting chemicals (ODC) used in nuclear maintenance operations.

Part one of this article examines two cleaners including a hydrofluoroether (HFE) and a hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) currently being considered as potential replacements for flammable solvents. Cleaning efficacy, short-term and long-term materials compatibility, corrosion, drying times, flammability, environment, safety and health (ES&H) issues and accelerated aging studies are among the tests that are being conducted and that are used to screen candidate solvents. Part two, appearing in the October issue features the results, which are compared to the traditionally used isopropyl alcohol, which serves as the baseline cleaner.

Published via CleanTech Magazine, 4(9); 16-19 (2004)

About the Authors

E. P. Lopez is from Sandia National Labs, W. E. Moddeman, J. Birkbeck, and D. L. Williams (now at SHSU) are from BWXT Pantex, (Amarillo), and M. G. Benkovich is from Honeywell, (Kansas City). Author’s Note: Sandia is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a Lockheed Martin Company, for the United States Dept. of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration under Contract DE-AC04-94AL85000.

Requests for a pdf reprint can be made to williams “at” shsu “dot” edu.