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Sodium Carbonate
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cmac0351 Offline
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Sodium Carbonate
I came across a video online of someone using electrolysis and sodium carbonate (not bicarbonate or baking soda) to remove rust from metal. I was wondering if anyone has used this electrolyte and if it produces dangerous things like other electrolytes do (chlorine, carbon monoxide). You can find sodium carbonate (washing soda) at the grocery store.
07-13-2008 11:06 PM
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CheezWiz Offline
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RE: Sodium Carbonate
Hi,

Check this out:

First of all, when mixing and using chemicals like these, use eye protection like the work shop or lawn mowing goggles you can buy at K Mart. Second, lets get the right names for the products available. Pure sodium carbonate is called soda ash, and is very dangerous because it will boil water when mixed with it, and even make a steam explosion. Washing soda is the hydrated form of sodium carbonate (called sodium carbonate decahydrate, it has TEN water molecules attached to one sodium carbonate molecule!), and is 5/8 water by weight even though it is a dry powder. The product you found at the store labeled as detergent is not washing soda, although it has some in it. Washing soda is a mixture of mostly sodium carbonate decahydrate with some sodium sesquicarbonate and sodium bicarbonate in it. Go to the grocery store or supermarket and read the labels on the washing supplies for walls and floors. Washing soda is sold under the names of stuff like Spic 'N Span, TSP Brand washing compound, and 20 Mule Team washing soda (not borax). If you can't find anything that is 90%-100% washing soda (sodium carbonate decahydrate) and/or sodium sesquicarbonate, just get some plain old Arm & Hammer baking soda. Take 0.6 times (about 5/8) as much baking soda as the amount of washing soda called for in the electrolyte recipe, add just enough water to make it soupy, heat it for a few minutes while it fizzes, then add it to the rest of the water. Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate, which decomposes with a little heat and water into carbon dioxide gas and ! sodium carbonate decahydrate. In fact, save yourself some time and try the baking soda without boiling it first, I think it may work just fine, just make sure the amount is only 0.6 times (about 5/8) as much as the amount of washing soda called for. The ultimate end results you get using washing soda are identical to using lye. The lye works somewhat faster but is very much more dangerous to the user.
Be careful and good luck,
Richard Allen "

Source: http://www.steamengine.com.au/ic/faq/electrolysis.html

The store stuff sounds like a poor choice for this. The pure stuff might work?
07-14-2008 03:21 PM
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