What is a Quick Break Degreaser?
A quick break degreaser is a specially designed surfactant which lifts oil, grease and other hydrocarbon soils from the cleaning surface without forming a permanent emulsion. Once the oil and water has been rinsed away the degreaser rapidly releases the oil again, allowing it to be separated. This leaves behind wastewater containing little or no toxic hydrocarbon content.
Why use a Quick Break Degreaser?
The right choice of degreaser has a direct impact on wastewater quality and, therefore, waste water compliance and disposal costs. Depending on your location and whether you are in a marine or land environments the limits on oil, grease and hydrocarbon content in wastewater vary. In all cases, however, they are very restrictive.
For wastewater oil content to be compliant it is usually necessary to process waste through an oil water separator prior to discharge. The ability of oil water separators to function, however, depends entirely on the nature of the wastewater itself. If oils are held in emulsion or dissolved within the wastewater by an emulsifying surfactant or solvent, an oil water separator will be almost completely ineffective.
For an oil water separator to function correctly, oil must be free to rise to the surface and coalesce into larger and larger droplets. Quick break degreasers only form a short-term oil emulsion which persist just long enough to remove the oil and grease from the cleaning surface. Once in the wastewater system, however, quick break degreasers quickly release these oils again where they float free and can be separated.
How Oil / Water Separators Work
There are a number of different designs for oil water separators. Most wastewater separators are the standard or enhanced “gravity type” separators.
Gravity type oil water separators work by retaining or slowing down the flow of wastewater long enough to allow suspended droplets of oil to coalesce and rise to the surface. This oil forms a layer on the surface of the separator where it is removed by skimmers and other methods.
The oil free wastewater is released from the separator below the layer of floating oil via an outlet.
Enhanced oil water separators operate on the same principle however they introduce a coalescing media (such as specially designed plates) which alter the flow of wastewater encouraging fast oil separation
Standard Oil Water Separator
Enhanced Oil Water Separator
Gravity type oil water separators rely on the phase separation between oil and water and the specific gravity difference between the two. For a gravity oil water separator to work the oil and water mixture must be allowed to break when passing through the separator.
Emulsifying degreasers actively work against this phase separation and, therefore, do not allow oil water separators to work effectively. Quick break degreasers, on the other hand, readily let go of oil droplets and allow them to phase separate.
What is the Best Quick Break Degreaser for Heavy Duty Industrial Degreasing?
For optimal oil water separation and wastewater quality an industrial degreaser should:
- Be a quick break formulation
- Contain no toxic or hazardous ingredients
- Have a moderate pH
- Be readily biodegradable
- Contain minimal to no additives such as builders, chelator, inhibitors, frangances, dyes etc.
Bio-Based, Colloidal Surfactant Degreasers
Bio based, colloidal surfactants are the best choice of degreaser for optimal wastewater quality. Specific formulations of advanced surfactants can be so effective at removing oil that it does away with the need for many of the less desirable ingredients in other degreasing products.
When mixed with water these degreasing surfactants form a particular type of electrochemical structure called a “micelle”. These micelles energetically lift soils from cleaning surfaces with as much, or more power than harsh caustics, metasillicates and other salt-based cleaners.
Envirofluid’s range of colloidal surfactant degreasers and cleaners take advantage of this unique micelle property. What’s more our products are:
- Readily biodegradable
- Derived from renewable resources
- Safe to use, store and dispose of
The quick break properties of our industrial degreaser and cleaner range also optimizes the performance of oil water separators which can drastically reduce the costs associated with wastewater disposal.