Tips on Selecting an Ultrasonic Frequency
As you look through the many ultrasonic cleaner models available on the iUltrasonic website you’ll notice that the ultrasonic frequency is included in the specifications. Frequency choices, shown in kilohertz (kHz) or thousands of cycles per second, range from 25 to 130 kHz and include 35, 37, 45 and 55 kHz. Dual-frequency options are offered at 25/45, 37/80 and 35/130 kHz.
Ultrasonic energy is delivered to the cleaning bath by generator-powered ultrasonic transducers bonded to the cleaning tank. Transducers are tuned to vibrate at these frequencies and produce countless minute bubbles in the cleaning solution. When the bubbles implode against products being cleaned they remove and carry away contaminants. (There’s more to it than this but you get the picture.)
Which Ultrasonic Frequency to Select?
The frequency determines the size of the sonic bubbles that implode when contacting parts to be cleaned. The lower the frequency the larger the bubbles although you’d be hard pressed to notice the difference with the naked eye. As an example, a bubble produced at 40 kHz has approximately an 83 micron radius whereas an 80 kHz frequency produces a bubble with a radius of about 41 microns.
Lower ultrasonic frequencies generate more noise than higher frequencies, but the important difference is how they accomplish the cleaning.
Lower frequencies produce more powerful cleaning action – and by powerful we’re talking more violent as they implode against surfaces. This is fine if you are removing grease and other built up contaminants from cast and fabricated metal parts. But lower frequencies can damage delicate, highly polished and relatively soft metal surfaces. That’s why higher frequencies are usually specified for such cleaning tasks.
Another advantage of higher frequencies is that the smaller bubbles are better able to penetrate small cracks, crevices and blind holes.
So the choice, then, depends to a large extent on the properties of the product being cleaned and the nature of contaminants being removed. For general cleaning a happy medium is the 37 kHz frequencies produced by the Elmasonic EH and SH series on our website.
A 25 kHz frequency is ideal for removing buffing compounds from hard surfaces; extremely delicate jewelry and electronics can be safely cleaned at 80-130 kHz.
If you are cleaning a variety of products with differing surface characteristics consider dual frequency ultrasonic cleaners such as the Elmasonic PH series that operate at 37 or 80 kHz and can automatically switch between the two every 30 seconds if desired. Other dual frequency cleaners are the Elma TI H series operating at 25/45 kHz.
Ask our Experts for Help
And so it goes. If you need assistance in deciding on the most productive ultrasonic frequency for your cleaning requirements please contact the iUltrasonic cleaning pros at 973-440-2191. We’ll help you cut to the chase on equipment frequencies and sizes that meet your requirements.
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