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Trial Number 0

Trial Purpose:

To clean commuter rail train coaches in a safe, effective manner.

Date Run:


Experiment Procedure:

Replace current aqueous solution of organic acid and surface active agents (Bo Chem Co. Inc, T 110 containing Oxalic acid CAS#: 144-62-7 at 8% and Nonyphenolpolyethoxylate CAS #: 9016-45-9 at 3-5%)

Using the SCL’s Effective Test Conditions Database and vendor supplied data, nine cleaning solutions were selected based on information provided by the client. Six alkaline aqueous cleaners were made into five percent solutions in 400 mL bekaers using DI water. Three alkaline powders were made into solution according to the manufacturer’s instructions. All nine cleaners and the client supplied cleaner were heated to 130 F on hot plates.
The train door was marked off into 10 sections using tap. One cleaner was used for each section. A paper towel, Kimberly-Clark Teri Reinforced Wipers #34790, was dipped into the cleaner solution and then placed onto the corresponding grid. The grid was wiped with the towel for three minutes (towel was replaced half way through). Grids were observed before and after, visual and by photography, to determine the effectiveness of the cleaners. A ranking system of excellent to poor was used (Excellent > Good > Okay >Fair > Poor).
SUBSTRATE MATERIAL: Brushed Aluminum Train Door
CONTAMINANTS: Dirt, oil & grease

Trial Results:

All products tested did not remove large amounts of the contaminants. Three products cleaned as well as the supplied cleaner. Only two products showed little to no signs of cleaning the contaminants. Four products removed some of the contaminants but not as much as the client supplied cleaner. Table 1 list each cleaner and its ranking.

Table 1. Cleaner Ranking
Cleaner Rating
Alconox Poor
Ardrox Poor
Oakite Fair
Gemtek Okay
Hotsy Okay
Star Fair
US Poly m Fair
WR Grace Okay
Bo Chem Okay

Success Rating:

Preliminary compatibility tests on substrate coupons encouraging for at least one cleaning chemistry. More in-depth laboratory testing necessary.


Since the cleaning trial was a preliminary study of the possible replacement chemistries, all of the cleaners that were ranked as Okay and Fair could be tested further using a spray cleaning system.

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