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Transactions of the Institute of Metal Finishing ; 98(5):258-270, 2020.
Article | Web of Science | ID: covidwho-797107


Industrial processes routinely require the removal of lubricant from processed materials. This cleaning can be energy intensive and environmentally costly owing to the temperatures and the solvent load that are used. It is required throughout many industrial processes, notably surface finishing. This paper tests a novel technology that removes the need to heat the water, and reduces the need for additives, through use of a novel nozzle that uses just mains water and electricity to generate an 'Ultrasonically Activated Stream' (UAS). The UAS nozzle passes ultrasound down a stream of unheated water, and tests its ability to remove a variety of lubricants, from stainless steel, with and without the addition of degreaser, comparing it to the ability of the same water supply (when not ultrasonically activated) to remove the lubricant (with and without degreaser). Removal of the need to heat water by use of this UAS nozzle would reduce heating costs and allow areas of a plant or manufacturer that lack access to hot water to have enhanced cleaning. Reduction in the need to use additives reduces costs and is a requirement for surfaces that may be damaged by them. However, the implications extend further. If, in the current COVID-19 crisis, supply chains for solvents are broken, or additives and heating become difficult to access (for example to decontaminate PPE or an ambulance in the field), the ability to remove lubricant without heating (and, if necessary, additives such as detergents) is crucial, since the SARS-CoV-2 virus resides in respiratory secretions that are composed mainly of mucin glycoproteins, surfactant and intercellular fluid.