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Archive for the tag “electrolysis”

Rusted Development

After 24 hours in an electrolytic bath, the chisel and hatchet have come out rust free.

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The hatchet came out dirty, but rust free.

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A quick rinse brought it out spic ‘n’ span.

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The rebar has quite a collection of rust on it.

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The hatchet head was then polished with sandpaper. It was hit with 100 grit followed by 150 grit and finally 220 grit. If it was graced with finer sandpaper then the hatchet head could have been brought to a mirror polish. It also received a liberal dose of rust preventative.

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Gratuitous action shot.

All that is left now is to put the hatchet to some good use, you know, like juggling it.

If you’ll excuse me, I need to practice so I can make a response video to that guy.


An Oxidant Waiting To Happen

I purchased a hatchet today at a garage sale. It is sharp, the handle is comfortable, and the shoulder is snug in the eye. So what is the problem? The blade is very rusty. This is not actually a problem as it will let me try science!

Rust can be removed with elbow grease, chemical cleaner, or electrolysis. I am opting to remove it with electrolysis. The positive clip of a 12V car battery charger is attached to a piece of rebar and the negative clip is attached to copper wire wrapped around rusted tool. The rebar and rusted tool are then submerged for several hours in a solution of sodium carbonate and water (1 tbsp (15mL) per 1 gallon (3.8 L)of water).

Before pictures of the subjects. The chisel is from my late grandpa which has seen better days.

14 gauge copper wire wrapped around the tool.

Wood board keeps the wires separated.








The free ends are pigtailed. A ziptie keeps the rebar upright.

The positive terminal is connected to the sacrificial rebar. The negative terminal is connected to the copper wire.

The 12V battery charger is set to 2 amps.

After a few minutes black flakes form which are bits of rust being removed.

Safety notes

The car battery charger is plugged into a GFCI circuit. The electrolysis is also set up in a well ventilated area. A common science demonstration is using electrolysis to separate water into oxygen gas and hydrogen gas. I see no reason why this rust removing process would not also produce the gases.


Rust removing electrolysis is well detailed on Instructables.

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