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NAVSOLVE™ "Solves" New Environmentally Friendly Cleaning Specifications


The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) has recently imposed restrictions limiting the use of solvents with volatile organic compound (VOC) contents no greater than 25g/L for immersion-cleaning processes or requiring the use of airtight cleaning systems. To meet this need, the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division Patuxent River (NAVAIRWARCENACDIV) Materials Engineering Division developed NAVSOLVE™, an effective, environmentally friendly cleaning solvent that meets and exceeds the new low volatile organic compound (Low-VOC), free of hazardous air pollutants (HAP-free) specifications. Invented by Dr. El Sayed Arafat, NAVSOLVE™ incorporates the advantages of a solvent-based cleaner, while offering the Low-VOC/HAP-free benefits of water-based or semi-aqueous cleaners.

New environmental regulations make it increasingly more difficult to use solvents containing VOCs in weapons cleaning operations. Cold solvent cleaning of aircraft components is performed at organizational, intermediate and depot levels in either spray sinks or batch-loaded dip tanks. VOCs released during cleaning operations contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone (photochemical smog) that can damage lung tissue, cause respiratory illness, and damage vegetation. State and national regulations mandate solvent emissions, with Air Pollution Control Districts in California implementing the most stringent restrictions, stated in VOC content (Rule 1171), and SCAQMD limiting the use of solvents with VOC content to 25g/L for immersion-cleaning processes or limiting equipment to airtight cleaning systems.

In response to the new environmental regulations for solvents, a new specification, MIL-PRF-32295, entitled "Cleaner, Non-Aqueous, Low-VOC, HAP-Free," was developed to provide environmentally friendly cleaners to Department of Defense agencies. MIL-PRF-32295 states that a solvent must be free of HAPs, contain no more than 25 grams per liter of VOCs, be effective on grease and oil, not contain ozone-depleting substances, be nontoxic and compatible with metals and non-metals and, most important of all, be safe to use. Further, the Aerospace National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants require that immersion-cleaning solvents have vapor pressures less than 7 mm Hg and wipe cleaning solvents have vapor pressures less than 45 mm Hg. The MIL-PRF-32295 specification classifies low vapor pressure solvents as Type I (less than 7 mm Hg) and moderate vapor pressure solvents as Type II (less than 45 mm Hg). Although a few other commercially available solvents meet the Type I specification for MIL-PRF-32295, NAVSOLVE™ is the only product that has been shown to meet both Type I and Type II specifications for MIL-PRF-32295, with the exception of the storage stability testing (in progress). The latest environmentally friendly Navy cleaning solvent, NAVSOLVE™, delivers the high performance of high VOC cleaners and meets the new restricted environmental regulations in California.

As a result of the significant impact all solvent markets in the manufacturing, transportation and construction industries have felt because of the new environmentally friendly regulatory restrictions, NAVSOLVE™ could eventually replace the currently widely used MIL-PRF-680 cleaner (which contains high VOCs above the new MIL-PRF-32295 specification). NAVSOLVE™ will be of interest to commercial cleaning operations in automobile/truck fleet maintenance, commercial aviation, industrial maintenance, and other similar industries for applications as diverse as: parts washing (parts washer/immersion tank); automotive degreasing/cleaning; weapons cleaning; aircraft engines/components cleaning; and shipboard bearing cleaning. NAVSOLVE™ provides a healthier and safe environment for those using the solvent, as well as the solvent’s impact on the environment itself.

For more information: NAVAIRWARCENACDIV, 301-342-5586

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