Chemical-mechanical surface treatments
Trib-Tools are mildly abrasive surface treatment tools that when rubbed against a surface clean the surface as they dispense chemicals in trace amounts. The dispensed chemicals are spread and rubbed-in, which acts to activate some chemicals.
These tools are useful for applying a wide range of chemically active treatments such as primers, passivating treatments etc. onto solid surfaces of metal, plastic, timber, glass, stone, leather or fabric. The tools may be either a stick sheet or blade, the most practical and useful for engineering purposes has proved to be the stick, which can be sized to treat large or small areas.
The diagram below illustrates how a single grain in a mildly abrasive tool impregnated with a chemical disrupts the oxide during rubbing of a surface like steel, which provides high absorption of polar inorganic materials (siloxane in this example) carrying organic side groups that orientate away from the metal, leaving the oxide surface with an organic character, which is highly favourable for wetting and bonding with adhesives or epoxy paint.
Typically stick tools use a stack of pads of compressed non-woven mildly abrasive web soaked in chemical, either in the form of a liquid, a gel or slurry housed in a plastic moulding that resembles a deodorant stick. Providing the pads are not saturated the package is spill proof even when lying horizontal with the lid left off.The diagram below shows a cross section view of a typical chemical-mechanical stick tool. The chemical soaks into mildly abrasive stack of pads. After use the used pad is peeled off to reveal new clean pad ready to treat another area.
Typical uses when treating metal surfaces (surface prep) include:
• anti-lubricant friction grip enhancer
• phosphoric acid for rust removal & prevention
• oxide-removing paint cleaning abrasive slurry (T-cut)
• primers to improve wetting & adhesion
• etching agents that clean and improve electro-plating
For treating timber surfaces:
• denatured beeswax and other polishes or sealants
• fish oils, vegetable oils, preservatives
• staining, grain filling, dyes
• anti-fungal & pest control treatments
For treating glass surfaces:
• cleaning & wetting agents for double-glazing seals and securing automotive windscreens
• acetic acid to remove lime-scale
For treating skin/leather/cloth surfaces:
• lotions, oils, gels, dyes, scents, stain removers etc.
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