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Electrolysis Help?

 
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Iron Man



Joined: 13 Jun 2013
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2013 6:16 pm    Post subject: Electrolysis Help? Reply with quote

Hello, I am new to this site. Found it rather serendipitously, because I plan on being an engineering major and I enjoy cooking.

So on with the question, I have found several cast iron utensils that are very rusted (and the youngest one being from 1912) and I've got them cleaned up enough to use. But, I came across and old cast aluminum pan and I am not sure how to clean it up. I've tried scrubbing it with a scouring pad and it gets some of the lighter stuff off, but it's not usable.

I've got a electrolysis tank going, but I am not a master whatsoever so I am not sure what metals I can or cannot use. I remeber reading about stainless steal and aluminum, and one was ideal and the other was not supposed to be used at all.

Also, I read that there is supposed to be an electrolyte solution that this is all taking place in...how exactly do I concoct one of those?
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Dilbert



Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 1007
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2013 6:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

aluminum is so reactive I'd be very dis-inclined to try anything electrolytic on it.

first, likely is the "gunky surface stuff" is not metallic - so best you can hope for is removing some surface layer of aluminum and hoping the crud goes with it.

if it's aluminum oxides making up the gunk, odds are the base metal itself is severely pitted and may not be salvageable.

I'd go for a mild abrasive sandblast, then (re)polish the aluminum as needed - it's certainly soft enough - not a big issue with cleaning/smoothing/polishing aluminum.
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Iron Man



Joined: 13 Jun 2013
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2013 7:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is some severe pitting on one side, but the other side is fine. I will try more abrasive scrubbing then smooth it out. Thank you
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Jim Cooley



Joined: 09 Oct 2008
Posts: 316
Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 2:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've got a huge aluminium pot from the 20's which corrodes a bit after every use. The inside is pitted, and that's where the pitting and corrosion is the worst. I have NO idea what causes the white, fluffy corrosion, so I just scrub the hell out of it before each use.

I mention this to warn that you may face the same problem, so if you don't like the idea of scrubbing it before each use, or don't like the idea of ingesting the corrosion, just skip further efforts.

I too would love to know what causes the corrosion in the pits, but I've given up.

BTW, the pitting seems to be a byproduct of imperfect casting, not the result of a full-fledged acid attack by food over the years.
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Iron Man



Joined: 13 Jun 2013
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 4:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the pitting in my case is from the elements. This pan had been outside for I don't know how many years(same as some cast iron)
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