Current concern about threat growing HazMat incidents threats (especially terrorist attacks) with chemical agents (CWAs or TICs) takes on special relevance when electronic or sensitive equipment and systems are affected. The decontamination of these equipment means a double challenge:
On the one hand, its decontamination itself and on the other preserve its integration and functionality, either because of its high cost or because of the importance of the information contained therein.
The interest in having decontamination capabilities of electronic and sensitive equipment and systems comes from both the military and civil fields. In this sense, the safety of Critical Infrastructures (airports, command centers, power stations, telecommunications centers, etc.) is one of the main focuses of interest in which chemical decontamination capabilities must be developed.
Conventional CBRN decontamination technologies for biological, radiological or chemical decontamination are based on Aqueous Base technologies. These methods are not compatible with the decontamination of Sensitive or Electronic equipment since their aqueous formulation would damage their functionality. Therefore, it is necessary to develop new technologies and specific decontamination procedures for these electronic equipment.
The decontamination must guarantee the elimination of the Polluting Agent, either through the physical removal of the surface or through the chemical destruction of the Polluting Agent (also known as detoxification). Most Decontaminating Agents act by chemical destruction of the contaminating agent, generally using water-based decontaminating agents, in which water is used as a medium to support oxidizing and/or nucleophilic chemical compounds. These are as a rule very effective, but precisely because of their aggressive chemical nature they are not compatible with sensitive materials.
Most water-based decontaminating agents are chlorine derivatives and hydrogen peroxide: Sodium Hypochlorite, Calcium Hypochlorite, Sodium Trichloroisocyanurate, Hydrogen Peroxide, Per-acetic Acid, etc.
The effectiveness of these decontaminants is based on the aggressive nature of these compounds, due to this nature, not only affect pollutants, but also materials such as some metals.
The components of the electronic equipment, as well as the circuit boards on which they are installed, as a rule are constituted for the most part by metals such as copper, aluminum and / or their alloys. In the event that these metals come into contact with corrosive and / or oxidizing substances such as water-based decontaminants, they can corrode / oxidize, negatively affecting their functionality.
At present, the international consensus on decontamination systems based on Water Based technologies is almost unanimous. The decontamination protocols of vehicles, people, land and non-electronic materials contaminated by both chemical warfare agents (CWAs) and toxic industrial products (TICs) have demonstrated their undeniable effectiveness.
Decontamination of electronic equipment
Considering the aforementioned premises, the optimal solution for decontaminating electronic equipment without damaging its functionality, consists of combining the physical removal with a non-aqueous (organic) and volatile solvent base.
The decontaminating agent RD50 develops a decontamination based on Adsorption on chemically modified silicas. and in a non-aqueous medium of dispersion of the adsorbing agent.
On the one hand, silicas provide a high capacity for adsorption and retention of complex organic compounds, and on the other hand, the solvent base presents a mixture of polar and non-polar agents, volatile, dielectric, non-conductive and non-corrosive that guarantees the dissolution of chemical warfare agents (CWAs) and a null corrosive effect on the material to be decontaminated (electronic equipment or sensitive material).
Decontaminating Agent RD50 Operation
Application of the decontaminating agent RD50 for the decontamination of chemical agents (CWAs or TICs) is proposed in a 3-phase process:
- Application of Decontaminating Agent on contaminated equipment
- Decontamination Time
- Elimination of Decon Mixture (mixture resulting from the decontaminating agent and the chemical agent adsorbed)