Electrolysis Rust Removal



Edsel Sending Unit

Mustang Drums



First off, let me come out and say that Electrolysis is not a big secret. There is a lot of information online about it, and many examples of it's use. However, that is not going to stop me from putting a page up here myself! The method is very effective and fast. It's relatively safe and easy to do. YOu will only need a few things:

1. Arm and Hammer Washing Soda (or suitable substitute)
2. A large container to put your solution into
3. A battery charger
4. Some heavy wire
5. A couple of pieces of steel
6. Something Rusty

Ok, by rusty, I mean something with Iron Oxide. This process, as shown by me, is for Iron and Steel only. This process may affect other metals, but I am not interested in them. I recommend not using this process for anything that may contain any other metal. The purpose here is to show you how you can remove rust from ferrous metal for the purpose of restoring cars, tools, or anything else that's rusty.

Here's how the process works:

The Soda Wash increases the waters conductivity. The negative electrode from the battery charger is connected to the rusty part via heavy wire. The Positive Electrode is connected to metal plate which is submerged in the solution. Make sure the two electrode do not touch (Direct short is undesireable). The charger is turned on, and the current flows from the rusty part to the positive plate and the rust is converted and removed.

Usually in 1/2 hour to up to 24 hours, the rusty part will be completely bare of rust, and you will have a "sludge" of waste formed on the surface of the water, and on the positive electrode.

The Soda Washing Solution in a plastic tote, with the Electrode. The string is to keep the electrode from falling over and contacting the part. The second picture shows the wires connected to the electrode and the rusty part.
With the wires attached, the rusty part is lowered into the solution so that it does not contact the other electrode. The power is turned on. I used a 12V charger running at 10Amps, but less or more will work. The second picture shows some chunks of rust floating in the solution. The solution is also changing color as the process begins to do it's thing.
The part has been in the solution for several hours now, and the stuf is getting pretty brown with a skim of goo on top. THi sis a good sign. What you can't see in these pictures is how tiny bubbles will flow in the solution and pop on the surface. This is Hydrogen and this is why you must only use this process in a well-ventilated area, or you could create a flammable situation.

The second picture shows the rusty part, and the de-rusted part. The upper control arm on the left is the opposite side from the one on the right, but they started out as identical twins!
Close-up of the two parts. Total time in the solution was about 11 hours, with a wire brushing about every 2 hours or so to break off any loose rust. This may or may not even speed up the process, but it gives my a chance to check the parts anyway.

You will notice a black finish on the part, which people seem to indicate is a protective coating. It's rust that has been converted.