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Author: Subject: Electrolysis Chamber
harrisans
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[*] posted on 16-5-2021 at 19:40
Electrolysis Chamber


I tossed together a simple electrolysis device with a five-gallon bucket and a broken drying machine heating element. I originally powered it with a USB cable and a tablet charger, which was of course awful. It was all I had on hand at the time. So, I purchased a 30V/5A power supply to power it instead.

Now, I wanna know if this sort of setup is good? I'm not too familiar with this sort of stuff. I also wanna know if there are many practical uses for electrolysis on a large scale like this? It may sound stupid, but I never built it with any plans in mind. If I'm being honest, I came up with the entire plans for it in math class because I was bored and then decided to build it on impulse and don't really know what to do with it now. I'm really open to any ideas or suggestions. I attached some photos of it so you can see, ignore the flower lol, this was really the best place I could find to set it up temporarily.

IMG-2220.jpg - 1.3MB

IMG-2221.jpg - 1.1MB
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Vomaturge
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[*] posted on 16-5-2021 at 20:16


I'm concerned about hydrogen and oxygen building up in the upper section of the bucket, with most electrolysis processes. It's easy to underestimate how powerful, hot and static sensitive that mixture is if you haven't seen it in person. You could rig some way to ventilate it though.

Most compounds will take a looong time to electrolyze at 5 Ampere if you're dealing with multiple kilograms in a big bucket. But you probably already knew this from the math project.

TL:DR this cell might work for some products but you'll probably do better with a liter or less volume and an open top cell. Whether those electrodes work will depend 100% on what it is you're making in there.

What do you use as an electrolyte and what do you expect to make?



[Edited on 17-5-2021 by Vomaturge]




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fusso
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[*] posted on 16-5-2021 at 21:24


u use heating element as electrode?! wont that become very hot and melt things around it?!

[Edited on 210517 by fusso]
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BromicAcid
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[*] posted on 17-5-2021 at 04:19


Even though heating element alloys have high resistant by nature I would think that you wouldn't be shooting yourself in the foot entirely. Ni-Cr element does seem like it would be somewhat chemically resistant. In normal electrolysis you're not passing 1500W afterall. However I would worry about them touching in the cell, instead of shorting out they would get crazy hot and as Vomaturge said there is the issue with hydrogen/oxygen production.




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Vomaturge
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[*] posted on 18-5-2021 at 04:22


Those heating elements are usually 20A and have a resistance that goes up with temperature. if his power supply is regulated at 5A they shouldn't get hot enough to actually burn anything, though they may melt the plastic. The oxyhydrogen is more likely to go off from a sparking loose connection or static charge.

I still want to know what he wants to use this for. Some electrolytes would do fine with nichrome but there's also a lot that would eat it for breakfast, especially on the positive side. There's nothing (except maybe platinum?) that could handle all the common electrolytic processes.




I now have a YouTube channel. So far just electronics and basic High Voltage experimentation, but I'll hopefully have some chemistry videos soon.
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yobbo II
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[*] posted on 19-5-2021 at 16:29




Buy some gouging rods (carbon) for the + electrode (anode) just about any metal will do the cathode.


Yob
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harrisans
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[*] posted on 21-5-2021 at 06:09


A little update on it, it has better ventilation (I added more holes in the lid) so gasses can flow more freely, and I totally screwed up my electrodes. I attempted electrolyzing some copper sulfate, and due to my lack of research beforehand, it ate my anode. Genuinely my fault for not doing research, and now I'm left with about ten liters of what I believe to mostly be nickel sulfate and nothing to do with it. I definitely should have found some copper to use instead. Also, for whatever reason, zero amps go into it now, but I think that may be an issue with the new electrodes I tried to use, or even maybe an issue with the power supply, so I'll need to figure that out.

I'll look into the gouging rods, that seems like a good idea. For what I'm planning on using this for, I don't exactly have an answer. I think I'll just use it to try to produce large-ish quantities of other chemicals, but I need to do a lot more research. I also understand the power supply may go slow, but it was the only one I could really afford, and I'm willing to wait.
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Chemgineer
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[*] posted on 26-5-2021 at 11:23


You could do worse than to buy one of these off ebay, the round rod is titanium and the black part is an MMO anode. You could cut the USB lead off it and experiment putting a bit more than 5A through it and see how you get on.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/164399329704
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