SILICONE CONTAMINATION - NUMBER 1 ENEMY OF SENSORS
The properties of silicones which make them excellent lubricants and mold-release agents also make them the enemies of adhesion, and therefore potentially the most serious of contaminants to be encountered in the practice of bonding strain gages. The problem is compounded by the high natural affinity of the silicones for most materials, and by their tendency to migrate. Furthermore, since silicones are relatively inert chemically, and unaffected by most solvents, they are among the most difficult surface contaminants to remove. The best practice is to keep the gage-bonding area free of silicones. This may not be as easy as it sounds, since the widely used silicones can be introduced from a variety of sources. For instance, many hand creams and cosmetics contain silicones, and these should not be used by persons involved in gage installation. Some of the machining lubricants also contain silicones, and such lubricants should be avoided when machining parts that are to have strain gages installed. Similarly, silicone-saturated cleaning tissues for eyeglasses should not be used in the gage-bonding area or by gage-installation personnel. Regardless of efforts to avoid silicones, contamination may still occur. Light contamination can sometimes be removed by cleaning with Conditioner A, preferably heated to +200°F [+95°C]. More severe cases may require special cleaning solutions and procedures, recommendations for which should be obtained from the manufacturer of the silicone compound involved in the contamination.