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topic 2751

Replacement of trichloroethylene in ellipsometers


Does anyone know of a replacement chemical for trichloroethylene used in ellipsometers? We use the ellipsometer to measure the oil film deposited on tinplate following electroplating. Does anyone know of an alternative analytical tool to the ellipsometer? Thanks for your assistance.

Rosemary Martin
- Hamilton, Ontario


Rosemary, For discrete parts, there are many methods for measuring the tin coating thickness on steel, such as beta backscatter, eddy current, coulmometry, and X-ray fluorescence, etc. I guess you are interested in a continuous monitoring method for detecting the tin thickness deposited on a steel strip. This requires a non-contact on-line methodology. An alternative for ellipsometry is X-ray fluorescence (XRF). However, XRF involves X-ray. So safety regulation should be concerned. Good luck! Ling

Ling Hao
- Grand Rapids, Michigan

Ed. note: We edited Ms. Martin's inquiry to make it a bit clearer, subsequent to Mr. Hao's response. So if his answer looks a bit tangential, it wasn't his fault, we pulled the rug out from under him.


I would like to know the final decision on when trichloroethylene is to be totally liquidated.Can you please help me out in dire need. thank you Thomas

thomas gradolph
- lone grove,ok


For many applications, Leksol is a direct replacement for Trichloroethylene.

Andrew Platts
- Barnsley South Yorks UK


We, at Corus also measure the oillayer at tinned or chromed material. Another solvent is Vertrel of Dupont (anout $50/ltr). An alternative, environmental friendly method is the hydrofilic balance. This equipment is automated by Mr. Kleyn of Rasselsteyn, Neuwied, Germany. A perfect instrument. Measuringtime is more time consuming in relation to ellipsometer. About 3 minutes a sample. I'm looking for ellipsometry or IR-spectrometry to measure the oil without removing the oil. Who is able to help me ?

Martin Kuiper
packaging - The Netherlands


In response to Thomas Gradolph's enquiry regarding the phasing out of Trichloroethylene to the best of anyone's knowledge there is no date for this to happen. The product has been banned in Sweden and this ban was upheld by the European Court of Justice plus in Europe TCE has been reclassified as a Class 2 Carcinogen with a Risk Phrase Heading of R45 'May Cause Cancer'. Under the new EU Solvents Directive the levels that will be allowable to be emitted to atmosphere are 2 milligrams per metre squared up the vent stack or 0.364 parts per million. These levels are impossible to achieve in most of the existing equipment used in manufacturing today. There are also moves afoot to re-examine the usage of TCE in the US. All in all this is a difficult subject with a great deal of conflicting opinions and data. The one thing for sure is that it is going to get progressively more difficult to use the product. There is plenty of information on the internet perhaps some of the most revealing can be found if you enter the words'neurotoxicity trichloroethylene'on any search engine. You might not like what you see but it is very informative.

Andrew Platts
- Barnsley, South Yorks, UK


Enviro Tech International produces solvents that would work in your application.


Scott Aulinskis
- Melrose Park, Illinois, USA

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