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Electrolysis

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moday
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2017 4:53 pm    Post subject: Electrolysis Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Bucket electrolysis tank not drawing current. Clips have 13.5 volts at charger. Amps on meter only show 1 amp. I cleaned rebar and good couple neckties at wires. Could solution be bad? Can I toss that and start over? It's lye and water so just basic. Any suggestions how to get tank to work betterg for paint and rust removal? Very little bubbling compared to a week ago when drawing 4-5 Amps, Thanks
 
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Mark Poss
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2017 4:16 am    Post subject: Re: Electrolysis Reply to specific post Reply with quote

What are you using for your donor piece? I use stainless steel and it seems to work better than regular steel
 
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moday
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2017 4:33 am    Post subject: Re: Electrolysis Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Two pieces of rebar. I was told not to use stainless as it makes the water rather toxic. I can't remember why....

I clean the rebar with a wire brush and still not drawing amps. I may try new rebar, maybe the surface is nasty.
 
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JoeM(GA)
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2017 1:11 pm    Post subject: Re: Electrolysis Reply to specific post Reply with quote

solution will be good for quite some time (months) sounds like a poor connection or all rust is gone and the reaction will stop.
take a test light and check for power at the anode (rebar) and also check for good connection at the part being cleaned
 
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moday
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2017 3:24 am    Post subject: Re: Electrolysis Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I put in two new rebar pieces last night and the bubbles took off like crazy and was drawing 6 amps. charger was back down to 2 amps this am with really rusty rebar...maybe I need something better than rebar. I was told that stainless can make some pretty contaminated solution...I don't recall the particulars but sounded like a risky deal. Does anyone know if that is true? I think maybe I need some better anode material...I was going to look for a some used lawn mower blades.....they have more surface area and may do the trick.
 
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TJ in KY
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2017 6:52 am    Post subject: Re: Electrolysis Reply to specific post Reply with quote

moday, I think your problem is you are using lye and not washing soda. I am no chemist but they are 2 different chemical. Lye is sodium hydroxide NaOH and washing soda is sodium carbonate Na2CO3. Also make sure you are hooking up your charger correctly RED should go to your grid and BLACK to the part you are trying to clean. And make sure you have good clean connections to both your grid and the part you are wanting to clean. They must be clean and bright, use a grinder or a wire wheel at connection points.
I posted a link to a very good article on one of your previous post and it specifically says not to use lye. I got my Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda at the local grocery store, (Krogers) in the household detergent area. It is sold as a booster to laundry detergent.
When you get it working you will like it. I did.
 
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moday
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2017 6:55 am    Post subject: Re: Electrolysis Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I used rebar
 
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gab
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2017 8:27 pm    Post subject: Re: Electrolysis Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Don't know where you came up with the lye idea. I use washing soda and am not in any hurry, hook the leads up and mow lawn for four hours, move the rebar and do some thing else for three or four hours. Pretty soon the tank will look like a rusty milk shake with paint floating on top.
 
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Inno
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 20, 2017 9:20 am    Post subject: Re: Electrolysis Reply to specific post Reply with quote

May want to get more aggressive with cleaning the rebar, I'm pretty sure I've used a wire wheel to clean them when things start to slow down.
 
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David G
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 20, 2017 4:20 pm    Post subject: Re: Electrolysis Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I wonder if the rebar is cavitated where the iron left it?
 
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JD Seller
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 22, 2017 5:27 pm    Post subject: Re: Electrolysis Reply to specific post Reply with quote

The rebar is high in carbon is not a good sacrificial metal. Use better steel for your rod. Any common cold roll would work better. I also found that putting a battery in the circuit works better than just most cheaper battery chargers. It can be a weak car battery.

The reason NOT to use stainless steel is it contains chromium. Chromium itself is not bad but it can become very toxic when combined with other metals. So it is not a good idea to use it.
 
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moday
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 3:39 am    Post subject: Re: Electrolysis Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I too am learning that rebar isn't the best metal for the sacrificial piece....I'm going to try an couple old lawn mower blades....They have width/surface area and may work much better.

Rebar works, I'm just cleaning it twice a day.

Besides lawn mower blades, any other thoughts on what may work as an example of scrap cold rolled steel? thanks, moday
 
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David G
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 6:45 am    Post subject: Re: Electrolysis Reply to specific post Reply with quote

You need iron ions to move, so the higher iron and lower carbon the better.
 
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electro
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 3:52 pm    Post subject: Re: Electrolysis Reply to specific post Reply with quote

The process is very simple. Current, basic electrolyte, bubbles. That is it.

Lye will work just fine. I stopped using lye since it is hard to find in my area so I use sodium carbonate which I get from Home Depot in the pool supplies section. Sold as "pH up". Washing soda from walmart is the same. I use 3 pounds in approximately 10 gallons of water. I usually set up a stock tank with 70 gallons and leave it up for a year or so.

A strong base as an electrolyte will dissolve grease on the parts and will lift old paint. Not only will the electrolysis convert the rust quicker, since more current will flow, the strong base will get rid of that old paint. So, lots of washing soda or lye, your choice.

You need a high concentration of electrolyte, either lye, sodium carbonate, or what ever. Lots of current flow will come from lots of electrolyte and a large surface area of anode. Rebar has a small surface area and will quickly be covered by rust. The anode will oxidize and form a coating of rust. Metal conducts electricity well, metal oxides, rust, do not. As the rebar gets coated with rust it will form an insulating layer and the current flow will drop. Clean the rebar or, even better, use a piece of sheet steel. I use a section of 11 gauge steel which gives a large surface area for the current to flow into the electrolyte. I typically will let the tank run for a day or two, remove the cleaned pieces along with the now rust covered anode. I clean all with a pressure washer and the anode will be back to new to use again.

The carbon in steel, rebar or otherwise has nothing to do with the process. I use carbon anodes for cleaning insides of fuel tanks rather than a steel anode. Rebar is not a great choice for the anode just because of the size and shape of the rebar. Carbon has nothing to do with it.

Using stainless steel as an anode may be deadly. The chromium is oxidized to chrome 6+ which is deadly. It has nothing to do with other metals but is a result of the oxidation that occures at the anode.

Clean connections, an anode with a large surfce area, high electrolyte concentration are the keys to success.
 
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moday
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 4:04 am    Post subject: Re: Electrolysis Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Is the electrolysis tank liquid ok to toss out? I had used lye since it was available. My water is in a 5 gallon tank. Just is a mess and would like to start over....I want to move to a different sized tank (cement mixing bin) to fit bigger items.

What do you guys do with your old cleaning solution? I'm sure the bottom is grease/paint so I can toss that but I'd like to try and get the top 4.5 gallons out and dispose.

thanks, moday
 
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