I have a turbomolecular pump from Osaka vacuum that is quite dirty, and I'd like to clean the blades off to improve balance.

I'm not quite sure how to approach this, I've tried carbon cleaner for turbochargers for cars to no success, and my next thought is to walnut blast the blades, but I'm worried about bending them.

What method should I use to clean these unknown deposits off the blades of this pump?

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  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Engineering! Is your work so sensitive that such thin films noticeably affect the balance? $\endgroup$
    – Wasabi
    Aug 18, 2020 at 21:33
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ A turbo molecular pump often spins at about 20000 rpm so balance might be an issue. To decide how to clean you should know what kind of dirt is it, I mean what solvent might dissolve it and thus clean $\endgroup$ Aug 18, 2020 at 21:36
  • $\begingroup$ @AlbertoBrambilla I know it's organic in nature, but nothing beyond that. The blades are stainless, and I would like to protect them from rust $\endgroup$
    – tuskiomi
    Aug 18, 2020 at 22:35
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I would go with both water and acetone, they are two good solvents for organic materials, given it is stainless distilled water wouldn’t affect it during the cleaning. I suggest not to use any physical cleaning system like blasting as it will affect the balance of the wheel $\endgroup$ Aug 19, 2020 at 6:09
  • $\begingroup$ Have you consulted with the manufacturer? That would be my first step. $\endgroup$
    – Eric S
    Aug 19, 2020 at 14:38

1 Answer 1


Acetone or other ketones are used to clean auto engine internals of "varnish"( which looks similar to your deposits). This is for research purposes ,not general engine cleaning. The material looks organic so solvent seems preferred to mechanical methods like nut shell blast. Corrosion would not be a factor for the metal if solvent is used.

  • $\begingroup$ Do you think ultrasonic cleaning would work on this? Not sure how rigid those blades are but ultrasonic works well cleaning other machine parts as well, lot easier to get uniform cleanliness. $\endgroup$
    – jko
    Aug 19, 2020 at 0:37
  • $\begingroup$ Ultrasonic cleaning would be fine in a ketone solvent. But should not be necessary , also ketones are flammable and caution should be used with a large open tank. $\endgroup$ Aug 19, 2020 at 14:46
  • $\begingroup$ As you said, acetone is working wonderfully. The nutshells at a low PSI do a good job too. $\endgroup$
    – tuskiomi
    Aug 19, 2020 at 18:37

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