WD40: The Facts
From time to time our WIRC Shop sees equipment that has been lubricated with WD40. WD40, when exposed to large doses of radiation, turns into varnish. Those of you who remember the Pneumat-A-Ray devices may also remember that the transformation of WD40 to a hard varnish was discovered back then. Sources and guide tubes were becoming coated with the stuff and it was causing a lot of problems.
It is also not approved for any exposure device equipment that I am aware of, and should never be used with Sentinel exposure devices or related equipment.
WD40 Is NOT A Lubricant
WD40 is a solvent and rust dissolver. The name WD stands for “water displacement.” Any lubricating properties you may get comes from it dissolving the dried lubricants already present, along with any other foreign materials. Using WD40 creates a cycle of dissolving dirt and grime with some remaining lubricant, just to have it reform over time as more is added. When equipment gets dirty it needs to be cleaned properly and lubricated.
WD40 may get equipment working again but it is a dangerous, quick and temporary fix that will damage equipment and cause excessive wear over time.
Equipment that is not working freely needs to be removed from service for maintenance with approved cleaning and lubricating products only. We operate in some of the toughest conditions on earth, I understand that. But that only means controls and exposure devices need more maintenance than what is recommended by the manufacturer. We recommend, at a minimum, that every time you change your source you should perform a complete maintenance on both the device and the controls and guide tubes. It has been proven time and time again that manufacturers recommended maintenance is usually not enough and lead to premature wear of S-tubes and drive cables.
Contact us if you have questions about proper maintenance or upkeep.