Re: Cleaners & Lubricants

John Johnston <towboatjohnston@...>

Good points. Something else I should have mentioned. FLAMMABILITY.
Regular isopropyl alcohol that you buy at the drug store is 91% alcohol, 9%
water (both of which are highly polar.) The water is there because it is
expensive to remove, but a side benefit is that it reduces flammability.
Denatured ethyl alcohol, and higher purity isopropyl alcohol, are more
flammable (and still polar), as are MEK and many other ketones & esters.
Lacquer thinner is usually a mix of non-polar hydrocarbon solvents and polar
solvents like MEK.

Mineral spirits come in several grades, depending on flash point
(flammability) and composition. Some contain aromatics (mostly toluene and
xylene), which raise the flash point (higher = less flammable) and increase
solvency (good up to a point), but also increase odor and toxicity.
Odorless Mineral Spirits are normally composed of branched aliphatics
instead of ring compounds. They have lower odor, lower toxicity, reasonably
high flashpoints, and good solvency. One small downside is that they take a
little longer to evaporate. You don't want to park a CMX car and let it
drip, especially in a confined space.

ALL of these solvents will burn under the right conditions. Flashpoint
tests are essentially a puddle in a closed space with a spark. Not a test
you want to conduct under your layout. No need to be afraid of them, but
use safe practices including GOOD VENTILATION AND DRIP/SPILL CONTROL.

John J

-----Original Message-----
From: <> On Behalf Of Scott Kremer
Sent: Wednesday, February 20, 2019 4:22 PM
Subject: Re: [w4dccqa] Cleaners & Lubricants

i have found that the main problem is dust, even in a basement with finished
floors and ceiling. I was lucky enough to get one of the Korean Brass
vacuum cars. It is amazing. Absolutely incredible how much dust it picks
up even in one day. I now use it and pull a CMX cleaner with mineral
spirits in it. I changed from isopropyl alcohol to mineral spirits after
reading about polar and non polar materials and the experience of the La
Mesa Club. The two cars seem to remove everything and leave the track clean
and dry. It takes about 25 minutes for me to clean the majority of the
track this way and it seems to stay clean for a good period of time. if I
need a quick turn around I just run the vacuum. When done I have absolutely
no problems with track pick up. The layout scenery is done and I run metal
wheels on everything. After years of trying various fluids for cleaning and
coating track I now have a method that seems to work perfectly.

Scott Kremer

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