Ultrasonic Cleaning

ULTRASONIC CLEANING involves the use of high-frequency sound waves (above the upper range of human hearing, or about 18 kHz) to remove a variety of contaminants from parts immersed in aqueous media.  The contaminants can be dirt, oil, grease, buffing/polishing compounds, and mold release agents, just to name a few.  This technology have proven to be an effective and cost efficient method for cleaning brush holders, DC armatures and other machine parts.

The Jay Industrial ultrasonic cleaning is powerful enough to remove tough contaminants, yet gentle enough not to damage the substrate.  It provides excellent penetration and cleaning in the smallest crevices and between tightly spaced parts in a cleaning tank.  The use of ultrasonic in cleaning has become increasingly popular due to the restrictions on the use of chlorofluorocarbons such as 1,1,1-trichloroethane.  The use of ultrasonic enables the cleaning of intricately shaped parts with an effectiveness that corresponds to that achieved by vapor degreasing. These tank systems are located at the Jay Birmingham and Montgomery Service Divisions.


In a process termed cavitation, micron-size bubbles form and grow due to alternating positive and negative pressure waves in a solution.  The bubbles subjected to these alternating pressure waves continue to grow until they reach resonant size.  Just prior to the bubble implosion, there is a tremendous amount of energy stored inside the bubble itself.

Temperature inside a cavitating bubble can be extremely high, with pressures up to 500 atm.  The implosion event, when it occurs near a hard surface, changes the bubble into a jet about one-tenth the bubble size, which travels at speeds up to 400 km/hr toward the hard surface.  With the combination of pressure, temperature, and velocity, the jet frees contaminants from their bonds with the substrate.  Because of the inherently small size of the jet and the relatively large energy, ultrasonic cleaning has the ability to reach into small crevices and remove entrapped soils very effectively.


The basic components of an ultrasonic cleaning system include a bank of ultrasonic transducers mounted to a radiating diaphragm, an electrical generator, and a tank filled with aqueous solution.  A key component is the transducer that generates the high-frequency mechanical energy.

Blue and yellow 12 foot ultrasonic cleaning tank at Jay Industrial