Definition - What does Degreasing mean?

Degreasing is the removal of grease and oil from a surface. It is widely used to remove oils and oil-borne soils from objects that have been stamped, machined, welded, die-cast, etc.

Degreasing cleans almost all electronic assemblies, electrical components and almost all metals, and nearly any size or shape part can be cleaned.

Degreasing is an essential part of the production process, particularly in industries fabricating or assembling metal parts, such as aircraft, appliances, automotive, electronics and railroad.

Degreasing is also known as defatting or fat trimming.

Corrosionpedia explains Degreasing

Degreasing is a process for removing water-insoluble substances such as:

  • Grease
  • Fats
  • Oils
  • Waxes
  • Carbon deposits
  • Fluxes
  • Tars

In most cases the process is applied to metal products, but plastic, fiber glass, printed circuit boards and other products are treated by the same process. Therefore, it has a wide range of applications.

There are many different types of degreasing chemicals that can be used, such as:

  • Degreasing sprays
  • Powders
  • Detergents
  • Foams
  • Vapor degreasing solvents
  • Steam-delivered degreasers

The most common degreasing chemicals for manufacturing and industrial use are detergent-based products that use a combination of chemical concentrates suspended in a liquid or powder base.

In solvent degreasing, a cleaning agent, typically petroleum, chlorine or alcohol-based solvent, is applied directly to the surface by spraying, brushing or wiping. This process removes oil, grease, dirt, loose particles and any other contaminants that may exist on the surface of the material and prepares it for further operations such as electroplating or painting. The metal-working industries are the major users of solvent degreasing. Repair stations for transportation vehicles also sometimes use solvent cleaning.

In vapor degreasing, solvents in vapor form are used to cleanse the workpiece in preparation for further finishing operations. The acting principle behind the vapor degreaser process is that the solvents dissolve the contaminants on the workpiece and remove them by dripping off the part. Tiny electronics parts, aircraft components and automotive parts can all be safely, completely and quickly cleaned with this technique.

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