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 Post subject: The Electrolysis Thread
PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2015 8:42 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 02, 2012 3:59 pm
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Name: Bruce
Location: Biggleswade
I know a few have used electrolysis to clean up rusty old bits and though it would be useful to have a thread where everyone can share their recipe's/techniques etc.

This is method I used, I don't claim it to be the best or the only way and am interested to see others.

The ingredients:
  • A non-conducting container - a large plastic bucket/bin works really well. It can also be useful to have a drain valve on it for emptying the scummy water after use.

    Water

    Power source - From my research 12v is sufficient for most things that we would be likely to encounter on a roadster. The amperage drawn will be dependent on the surface area of the item being cleaned and the surface area of the sacrificial electrodes. I found a front upright varied somewhere between 3 and 8 amps. An older style battery charger will work well for this or if you have a newer style intelligent charger then its can still be used but will need to be connected to a battery. An alternative is to use a PC power supply with all the 12v lives and grounds combined.

    Sacrificial electrodes - For best results these should be placed evenly around the item being cleaned. I used a cage of round metal rod, in hindsight the round rod proved to be a pain to clean as it gets gunked up after a couple of uses, when I do some more cleaning I will tack some flat strips onto the cage. DO NOT use stainless steel, it will emit poisonous gas!

    Sodium Carbonate - Commonly found in Washing Soda, I used Soda Crystals from Dri Pak, available from most supermarkets for less than a quid. The amount is not critical, about half a cup per 5 gallons/25 litres water is sufficient.

    Wire /Cables - For connecting electrodes and work piece together.

    Chain/Welding Rods - used to suspend the rusty parts in solution and maintain an electrical connection.
The method:

Hydrogen gas is produced so adequate ventilation should be allowed.
  • Place sacrificial electrodes around container and connect to the POSITIVE connection of the power supply.

    Fill the container with enough water to cover the part(s) being cleaned and mix in the Sodium Carbonate, it can take a few minutes to fully dissolve.

    Suspend the part to be cleaned in the water by the chain or welding rods or similar which is in turn connected to the NEGATIVE side of the power supply.

    Switch on the power supply and wait, after a while you should see small bubbles appearing, this confirms its working. Cleaning can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Where there is thick corrosion I found it useful to remove the part once or twice a day and have a scrape/dig around at the thicker areas of softened corrosion and then return to the container. Once the part has been cleaned rinse it thoroughly and dry immediately, if left exposed it will quickly develop a flash coating of rust.
Soda Crystals:
Attachment:
Soda Crystals.jpg
Soda Crystals.jpg [ 15.93 KiB | Viewed 2216 times ]
My setup:
Attachment:
SDC18417 (1056 x 792).jpg
SDC18417 (1056 x 792).jpg [ 152.55 KiB | Viewed 2216 times ]
Reference Websites:
http://www.antique-engines.com/electrol.asp
http://www.metaldetectingworld.com/elec ... oval.shtml
http://users.eastlink.ca/~pspencer/nsae ... lysis.html


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2015 1:28 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2012 6:19 pm
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I have tons of stuff to clean up so i was thinking of cutting the top out of an IBC. They have a two inch drain tap in the bottom. Can multiples of items be cleaned at the same time or does it just slow down the process?

Bob

forum/download/file.php?mode=view&id=211


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2015 10:29 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 13, 2013 11:24 pm
Posts: 101
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Location: Thailand
Quote:
I have tons of stuff to clean up so i was thinking of cutting the top out of an IBC. They have a two inch drain tap in the bottom. Can multiples of items be cleaned at the same time or does it just slow down the process?

Bob

forum/download/file.php?mode=view&id=211
I have used this process and have cleaned multiple small items .the thing to remember the more you are trying to clean the more amps it will draw

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