Three chemical engineers at a Navy laboratory have built a device for cleaning laboratory materials and equipment, which can be very difficult given their crevices and cavities. The technology is available to innovative businesses for development into new products or services.
Ordinary cleaning with solvents is incompatible with many laboratory instruments and items since such solvents can cause damage. Solvents are also ineffective for cleaning hard to reach areas withing equipment like pressure gauges.
The Navy’s cleaning system uses ionized gas, known as plasma, to produce or transfer a reactive substance on an item in a cleaning chamber. The gas atoms and ions act like a molecular sandblast and destroy contaminants.
An analysis section can be attached to the cleaning chamber to perform gas analysis on gas samples brought into the chamber that measure reaction byproducts from the interaction of the plasma with the contaminants.
A pumping system, in combination with the valve system, generates differential pressure/vacuum levels between the plasma generator and the cleaning chamber, as well as between the cleaning chamber and analysis section.
- Multiple gasses can be used in the system
- Analysis of reaction gasses indicates when cleaning is complete
- US application number 20170050223 available for licensing
- Potential for collaboration with Navy scientists and engineers