Cavitation is a word that you may have often heard associated with ultrasonic cleaners. It is actually what makes ultrasonic cleaning possible. Let’s take a look at what cavitation is and how it works to get all of your cleaning done inside an ultrasonic cleaner.
Making Physics Work for Us
Cavitation is something that has been studied since man started dropping pebbles into lakes. As you can see from this paper from Caltech there have been some serious studies into cavitation, bubbles and how they work. Fortunately for us, we don’t have to have that level of understanding to be able to talk about what’s going on inside an ultrasonic cleaner.
To best think of how cavitation works, start by thinking of dropping a pebble into a calm lake or stream. What you see when you do this is round waves radiating out from the pebble dropped in. Eventually, if there is a dock or structure nearby, you will see those small waves bump into the structure. At its heart, this is all that an ultrasonic cleaner does.
Using Ultrasonic Cleaners to Do the Cleaning
Now we need to take the concept we talked about above and look at what happens under the water. What you are doing when you drop the pebble into the stream is creating a change in the pressure of the water. The trough of the wave is the low pressure, the peak is high pressure.
When we do this underwater in three dimensions, we actually create small bubbles in the water where the low pressures are. The faster that we alternate the energy we put in (think of dropping in pebbles faster), the more energy we can impart to the bubbles.
The bubbles will also compress under the differences in pressure. As they compress, they are able to store more and more energy. The pressure inside one of these small bubbles can get as high as 500 times the pressure that you experience at sea level. This increase in pressure also causes a huge increase of the temperature of the air inside the bubble as well.
Eventually these bubbles will collapse and release their energy. As they come into contact with a solid surface, they create a tiny jet of hot water. The hot water will impact and loosen any dirt, oil or contamination that is on the surface of the object they come into contact with.
Ultrasonics Are the Perfect Cleaners
The bubbles created by the process are very tiny; so tiny, you can’t even see them. This makes them the perfect way to clean up small openings, hard angles and places that you just couldn’t reach with a brush or Q-tip. The high energy also ensures that nothing is going to stick to the surface. Everything that isn’t supposed to be there comes off.
Omegasonics offers ultrasonic cleaners in all shapes and sizes. Come look what we have to offer your business or home for its cleaning needs!