why it works - water

Modern, low voltage devices typically do not "burn out" immediately upon water contact. Instead, tiny microscopic beads of water in chip housings and on circuit boards are re-routing the power erratically to places it doesn't belong. This can cause an item to malfunction, or not work at all.

This means, luckily for us, that if you can remove all the water from the item it is likely to work again. Unfortunately, this is not as easy as it sounds. Water will cling to the smallest spaces where towels and sponges can't reach. We can't overheat the item to get the water out, or we may cook the sensitive flash memory, or melt delicate components. So we must turn to science to get our electronics dry.

Liquids, in an atmosphere, will reach what is called an equilibrium vapor pressure. Which means that liquids will evaporate into the atmosphere around them until the atmosphere reaches a saturation limit based on the temperature. We recognize this as air drying. It is why when you spill water on your linoleum kitchen floor and leave it until morning, the water will be gone. Water will continue to evaporate into the atmosphere until the atmosphere reaches this equilibrium vapor pressure*. This means if we keep drying out the atmosphere, water will keep evaporating. We have developed a process that allows our drying chamber to reach and maintain an extremely low vapor pressure thereby removing water from even the most inaccessible reaches of the electronic item.

Even after thorough drying dust, salts and other minerals remain on circuits and controls and must be cleaned before they become corrosive and conductive. When the opportunity for mitigation occurs in a timely manner Electrostar's rate of success in recovering electronics, machinery and other equipment is >95% while the cost vs replacement ratio is usually <50%.

*About 5% RH at room temperature


During a fire, heat pushes the soot causing it to cover everything in its path. Smoke will travel until its energy is used up and reaches cool temperature areas.

Damage from smoke and soot can be significantly more extensive than the fire itself. All smoke residue should be considered acidic and corrosive in nature to metal, glass, plastics, and all types of substrates. Soot, when tested, is always found to be acidic. Elevated temperatures combined with an absence of oxygen cause a chemical reaction called pyrolysis. During this process, fire suppression and fire retardant agents release chemicals such as hydrochloric, hydrobromic, and hydrofluoric acid. Other materials such as plastic and oils may release sulfuric, nitric or phosphoric acids. The wide variety of chemicals and by-products created by smoke and soot can aggressively penetrate electronics and equipment causing sudden or gradual corrosion. This corrosion is often not significant for structural material, but delicate structures, like microelectronics, are materially affected.

Another invisible threat is the electrically conductive state of many smoke particles. Corrosion of surfaces and the deposition soot or conductive layers on circuits can cause crosstalk, overheating, short circuits, and equipment failure. These attacks can happen quickly and immediately, but may also happen gradually. Equipment left untreated in corrosive conditions will cost more to restore and repair and replacement is not always a viable option.

It is essential that this rapid deterioration be abated via application of appropriate corrosion inhibitors until more thorough cleaning is performed. This temporary coating neutralizes the soot particles by starving them of oxygen. Chloride testing, performed by our experts throughout the process, determines if surfaces have been thoroughly cleaned.