Using chemistry to attack rust

Instructables has a rundown on Electrolytic Rust Removal aka Magic. It’s a simple process of using a 5 gallon bucket of water with 5 tablespoons of washing soda (sodium carbonate) as an electrolyte. Rebar is suggested as the sacrificial anode. The part to de-rust is connected to the negative lead of a trickle charger. An explanation of the process is at Electrolytic Rust Removal.

Safety precautions include keeping the charger electronics away from anything liquid, protecting yourself from the alkaline solution with skin and eye gear, and using a well ventilated area with appropriate precautions for the hydrogen and oxygen released from water electrolysis.

Note that this process just loosens the rust. You’ll still need a bit of elbow grease to finish the cleaning.

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