Cleaning is an essential process in aircraft production, maintenance and repair to ensure safe operation. Effective cleaning agents must remove a diverse range of contaminants, yet be compatible with a wide range of metals, plastics and elastomers.
Compatibility and cleaning effectiveness are a function of the solvent used. CFC-113, HCFC-141b, and 1,1,1-trichloroethane were commonly used in the many cleaning applications where a non-corrosive, non-flammable solvent with low toxicity was required. However, because of the ozone depletion potential of these compounds, their production and/or use was banned, requiring users to find a new alternative. Other solvents, such as perchloroethylene, trichloroethylene, and methylene chloride, have barriers to use due to environmental or worker safety reasons.