Steve Allen's latest Guest Blog looks at the chemical replacements for AK-225 as it is approaches its total ban.
AK-225 falls under the EPA's Clean Air Act as a Class II ozone-depleting entity and is now defined as an Agency-Controlled Substance. It is thus deemed unlawful for any person to engage in interstate commerce of the solvent or any use of the substance unless it has been used, recovered, or recycled or used to produce another chemical, or finally, used as a refrigerant (until 1/1/2020). End-users may use, and continue to purchase, aerosols containing AK-225 made before January 1, 2015. Beginning January 1, 2015, AK-225 can only be used in the manufacture of end-user cleaning products if it has been used, recovered, and recycled, as per the Clean Air Act.
The Agency has approved more than 300 substitutes for multiple applications. Potential substitutes for AK-225 include DuPont Vertrel Solvents (Vertrel XF), n-Propyl Bromide (nPB), Trichloroethylene (TCE; mostly Chinese sources today), 3M hydrofluoroethers (HFEs), and Honeywell's Solstice Performance Fluid (Solstice PF).
DuPont's Vertrel has characteristics similar to AK-225, but is much more environmentally friendly. Solvents containing nPB work well for difficult precision-cleaning applications, but they are not considered environmentally friendly. From a health and environmental perspective, both nPB and TCE are not good replacements for AK-225 due to their low exposure limits and suspect carcinogenicity. The EPA is also currently evaluating the flammability limits of nPB. Additionally, TCE is an overly aggressive solvent making it unsuitable for use with most plastics and elastomers.
From an environmental standpoint 3M HFEs are great as they have been granted VOC exemption. Honeywell's HFO-1233zd(E) has a low global warming potential and is non-flammable. However, cost to the end-user for familiar cleaning applications may be an issue.
Because AK-225 is commonly used in high-end, Class 3 applications (like aerospace, medical, and biotech), qualification of replacement solvents is a difficult and complex process. It is not too early to start the process, and there are many choices to meet most every requirement. ACL Staticide has encouraged its end-use customers to initiate the replacement qualification process early to ensure solvent compatibility, performance, and product availability.
A big thank you to Steve, for another informative Guest Blog. We've appreciated your Q Source Resource contributions throughout this year and we look forward to more in 2015.
For information about ACL Staticide, or to purchase their related products, please visit our ACL Staticide Department at QSource.com. You may also contact us via email or phone (800-966-6020) and one of our associates will be happy to assist you.
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Steve Allen's Previous Guest Blogs
- More About the Basics of Flux in Electronics Soldering – Guest Blog
- Focusing on Sustainability in Chemical Processing & Product Development – Guest Blog
- Strength of a Cleaning Solvent – Kauri-Butanol Values & Solvent Solubility – Guest Blog
- Volatile Organic Compounds & Evolving Regulations – Guest Blog
- Use Proper Balance to Create an Efficient, Cost-Effective PCB Cleaning Process - Guest Blog
- Why Clean "No Cleans?" Printed Circuit Board Flux Removal – Guest Blog
- How to Use the 80:20 Rule to Focus on the Business Innovation Process - Guest Blog