By Peter Jones, Application Development Engineer; with testing support from General Lasertronics Corporation
Momentive’s silicone sealants are commonly used in industries where maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) is needed, such as commercial aviation, automotive, or aerospace. In certain applications, the removal of the silicone sealants is required to complete MRO work. Typically, this will involve manually removing the sealant with a razor or some other tool and then soaking the remaining silicone in a solvent. While this can work, the process can be tedious and cumbersome, and has the potential to leave behind silicone residue which can lead to silicone contamination.
A better alternative to scraping and solvating a cured silicone sealant is laser ablation. This involves emitting light in the nanometer wavelengths at high wavelengths and, with enough power, the laser can raise the temperature of the silicone so rapidly that it will vaporize the sealant while minimal heat is absorbed by the substrate.