Electrolysis AND molasses? Would they work together?

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Electrolysis AND molasses? Would they work together?

Post by gijoe985 » Thu Nov 18, 2010 5:25 pm

So, here at Grandview High School, we built a pretty hefty electrolysis cleaning tank. My students did a great job and it takes rust off pretty efficiently. We have not tried molasses yet, but believe it would also od a good job. We were wondering if you could put molasses into the electrolysis setup? I don't see why it would hurt anything? We mainly want something to help get the rust out of the water jackets. Our tank has rebar waste electrodes all around it, but it still doesn't help when the rust is inside a hole. Molasses dips are supposed to work well, but also take a long time. We thought mixing the two might work even better. Or maybe fail. I guess we could just try it out...

We now need to figure out a good way to get all of the nasty grease off these engines we get....

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Re: Electrolysis AND molasses? Would they work together?

Post by ijames » Fri Nov 19, 2010 1:50 pm

I haven't priced molasses in bulk :-), but EvapoRust works well and is pretty fast. An overnight soak at room temperature or if you stir and warm it up it only needs a few hours. Safe for aluminum and not caustic if you splash it on yourself; about $20/gallon.

Oh, molasses is not an electrolyte and is very viscous, both of which will lower the effectiveness of the electrolytic derusting.
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Re: Electrolysis AND molasses? Would they work together?

Post by Mark Workman » Fri Nov 19, 2010 2:28 pm

I'm too far removed from chemistry class to figure out if the 2 processes are truly compatible, but my gut feeling is that although the result is the same, the mechanics of the reactions are different on a molecular level. To me, it really doesn't matter, because the molasses process is odiferous, a real stinker. if it is anywhere near anyone on the school grounds, you may have an uprising on your hands.

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Re: Electrolysis AND molasses? Would they work together?

Post by Dave Koehler » Fri Nov 19, 2010 3:19 pm

Why not have the local auto machine shop clean the gunk and junk out? They are already set up for it. Then do your electrolysis process.
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Re: Electrolysis AND molasses? Would they work together?

Post by BLACK BART » Fri Nov 19, 2010 3:53 pm

I have no idea if molasses will work in your electrolysis tank or not, but I do have first hand knowledge about using molasses to remove rust from steel and cast iron.

Here is what I've done.

The first part I ever cleaned was a Ford 9" housing with rust inside. I made a four sided box from 2X6 lumber that was set on the ground and lined with plastic. This was just large enough to fit the housing in. Then I filled it with water and added about 24 ounces of plain old grocery store molasses that was then mixed up with the water and covered with another piece of plastic. This took about two weeks to remove some very heavy rust scale.

The second batch of stuff was smaller pieces that I cleaned in a rubber trash can. I think I added about 48 ounces of molasses in this batch. I kept this batch for nearly a year and found that warmer weather works better and that over time it seemed to need some more molasses added to be as effective as when new.

If you set up a tank do it in the back 40, the smell is horrendous! You will also want to use gloves and not get this stuff on you since the smell takes a couple days to wear off.

Good Luck, CJ
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