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Precision Cleaning, Passivation,
& Finishing Systems

AK225 HCFC-225 Phase Out and Replacement with 3M Novec HFE Engineered Fluids

A brief history of cleaning solvents,  comparison and why the 3M Novec HFE Engineered Fluids Solvent is the best solvent for your needs.

 

In the 1980’s and prior, At that time Freon TF (CFC-113) or Freon TMS (TF + 5.7% methanol) was the workhorse solvent for precision cleaning (and vapor degreasing) due to its high purity, low “non-volatile residue” (what is left behind after the solvent evaporates,) non-flammability, good solvency (for most oils, flux and other soils,) good employee safety (high TLV/AEL employee exposure,) and early environmental safety (not a VOC or smog contributor.)  However, it was a slightly weaker solvent compared to other chlorinated solvents (TCE, Perc, 1,1,1 Trichlor.)

Then when the CFC’s were banned (1992) due to ozone depletion factors AGC chemicals introduced the AK-225 line, AK225 MSDS, of HCFC’s (hydrochlorofluorocarbons) and DuPont introduced the HFC’s (hydrofluorocarbons.)  The AK-225 HCFC product containing chlorine on the molecule were much better cleaners compared to the HFC’s.  Therefore, the AK-225T solvent (boiling point 129F) was the closest match to the previous Freon TMS (boiling point 105F) with other very similar chemical and non-flammability properties.  However, it did have very minimal ozone depletion potential of 0.02 compared to CFC-113 of 0.8.

At the time, it was the best “drop in replacement” with reasonable pricing and toxicity values.  Much political infighting was taking place at EPA with all the chlorinated and other solvents hoping to be the best available, but at the time ozone depletion was the primary focus so EPA said they would allow the AK-225 HCFC but mandated phase out in January 1, 2015.

AK-225T HCFC composition and properties:

  • 87% 225ca/cb HCFC blend – non flammable inerting properties and limited oil solvency
  • 10% cyclohexane- to increase oils solvency-
  • 3% ethanol- for polar emulsifier soils removal
  • Boiling point- 129F
  • Non-flammable- needed for vapor degreasing equipment
  • Employee safety- 50 ppm, ok, but higher is better
  • Environmental- ODP- 0.02, not a VOC,
  • Very chemically stable for continued recycling in a vapor degreaser
  • Component stability- not an azeotrope, but very stable with minimal composition change over time
  • Hazardous waste from the degreaser?  Only if what you clean off your parts is hazardous.  You pay for waste disposal.

3M Novec 72DA composition (replacement for AK225 due to 2015 phase out):

  • 30% HFE7200 blend- non-flammable inerting properties only, no solvency for oils
  • 68% 1,2 trans DCE (chlorinated solvent with inhibitors)- excellent high solvency for non-polar oils
  • 2% Isopropanol- for polar oils – emulsifier soils removal
  • Boiling point 111F
  • Employee safety- 200 ppm (that of the 1,2 trans DCE, HFE is higher-again, higher is better)
  • Non-flammable– needed for vapor degreasing
  • Environmental- No ODP (Ozone Depletion Potential), but the 1,2 DCE is a VOC (Volitile Organic Compound)
  • Very chemically stable for continued recycling in a vapor degreaser
  • Component stability- Is a true azeotrope, very stable with minimal composition change over time
  • Hazardous waste from the degreaser?  Only if what you clean off your parts is hazardous.  3M will arrange for and pay for waste disposal, free of charge.
  • Lower cost that AK225T


The evolution of more environmentally friendly cleaning solvents has developed in to excellent cleaning chemistries with little to no impact on the environment and employee exposure.  Although the EPA push away from chlorinated solvents was difficult, it has lead to much safer chemistries with similar cleaning effectiveness and power.

3M Novec HFE Engineered fluids are the solvent of choice for precision cleaning applications using vapor degreasers.

    Contact us for more information and to test your parts!

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