Plasma Cleaning Process
(Figure 2 2) consists of a foam aqueous electrolyte
that is comprised of at least 30% gas/vapor.   The
The  University  of  New  Orleans,  College  of  Engi 
workpiece is then positioned in a sealed chamber
neering  evaluated  Cathodic  Atmospheric  Plasma
and filled with foam.  A pad of discrete hydrogen
using foam plasma processes for cleaning rust, scale,
bubbles form within the liquid layer on the surface
hydrocarbon, and other forms of contaminants from
of the workpiece.  The conductive path becomes the
conductive  metal  surfaces  allowing  them  to  accept
walls of the foam bubble.  The key to this process is
paint or coatings.  The technology is ready for com 
that  the  distance  between  the  anode  and  the
mercialization, with its first full scale application in
workpiece is less critical than the flow through pro 
the cleaning and preparing of wire, rods, and tubing.
cess.   Tap  water  and  baking  soda  can  be  used  to
create a denser foam material to remove stubborn
The University of New Orleans, College of En 
materials from surfaces.
gineering (UNO COE) is developing and evalu 
UNO COE and its partner, CAP Technologies,
ating electro plasma technology as a source for
LLC, built prototype equipment and evaluated
cleaning and coating metal surfaces for maritime
the cleaning of carbon, stainless, duplex, silicon
applications.  The scope of its work involves the
steels,  copper,  titanium,  and  aluminum.    Zinc,
study  and  comparison  of  flow through  electro 
copper,  lead,  nickel,  copper/nickel,  copper/zinc,
plasma  processes  with  Cathodic  Atmospheric
and  zinc/aluminum  were  deposited  using  the
Plasma (CAP) using foam plasma processes for
process.    Evaluations  of  cleanliness,  corrosion
cleaning  rust,  scale,  hydrocarbon,  and  other
resistance, and adhesion properties were based
forms  of  contaminants  from  conductive  metal
on  data  accumulated  from  polarization  resis 
surfaces allowing them to accept paint or coat 
tance tests, ultraviolet weathering tests, surface
ings.  The technology is ready for transfer to in 
profiling, and others.  Analysis shows that CAP
dustry, with its first full scale application in the
plasma cleaning provides superior cleaning and
cleaning and preparation of wire, rods, and tub 
corrosion  resistance  and  offers  good  adhesion
ing.  The development and evaluation work was
properties at a fraction of the cost of traditional
accomplished in partnership with CAP Technolo 
cleaning and coating methods.  As a result, the
gies, LLC.  Commercialization of the technology
CAP plasma cleaning system is being repackaged
is being pursued to meet the needs in shipbuild 
for use on a production scale to clean metal pipes,
ing and other industrial markets.
rods,  and  tubes  for  sale  to  shipyards  and  com 
Existing processes for removing rust and scales
mercial markets.  Future plans call for broader
from  steel  and  other  conductive  metals  include
commercial applications on metal surfaces and
grit  or  shot  blasting,  acid  pickling,  electrolytic
conductive metal coatings.
cleaning,  electroplating,  and  plasma  processing
in a high vacuum.  UNO
COE s  original  study
evaluated the cost effec 
tiveness, long term per 
formance,  and  environ 
mental considerations of
each  process  compared
to  the  flow through
electro plasma  process.
This  first  generation
technology was soon su 
perceded  by  the  CAP
foam process, which has
fewer critical parameters
and  achieves  more  reli 
able  results  without  the
use of a vacuum system.
The  CAP  foam  process
Figure 2 2.  CAP Foam Process Chamber
8
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