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Environmentaly friendly gases for soldering?


#1
I am so sick and tired of this green mess, I think I am going to
throw away every green thing I have. You can't get much greener
than natural gas. 

Well, I don’t share Bill’s rant, but everything he said is largely
true, also. There are a few things that are truly “green”, I guess.
Electric cars, solar power. When General Mills says their cereal is
green, and the second ingredient is corn syrup, you know you’re
being had, though. Here in San Franciso we get green arguments -
“I’m greener than you are, nya nya nya.” Silly little children…

All of the flammable gases we use are petroleum products, just like
gasoline. In fact, several are by-products of cracking petroleum to
GET gasoline (propane…). Acetyline is man-made - it doesn’t occur
naturally.

Somebody said hydrogen - I’d have to differ with that because most
hydrogen comes from splitting water, which takes much energy. The
only one that’s renewable is methane, which is not a good gas for
welding. Plus collecting swamp gas and cow, er, gas is not an easy
proposition. And the combustion products of all of them are the same

  • water and CO2. Just like what you exhale every 10 seconds or so.

I’d also disagree that citric acid is any greener than bisulfate.
Skittish students who never took chemistry LIKE it more, but that’s
got nothing to do with the environment or using raw materials.
Nitric acid might be the greenest of them all, in a way. Green isn’t
about safety, it’s about resources…

Goldsmithing is one of the safest careers, in terms of life
expectancy. (JCK published a study some years back), and for a
manufacturing field it might use some of the least resources of such
things. I’d just say to them.

“Don’t you have real work to do?”


#2
There are a few things that are truly "green", I guess. Electric
cars, solar power. 

Well I have to disagree with you here, the idea of an electric car is
great, but people are not going to use solar power to recharge them,
they are going to plug them in, so what is creating the electricity
to charge them, and what about the manufacturing and transportation
to get the cars to the public. Their carbon footprint is far worse
than if you just drove your old car many many more years. One of the
greenist things people could do is drink city water and not put
hundreds of thousands of little plastic bottles in our landfills.
Everyone bitches about the price of a gallon of gasoline and they go
pay more for a gallon of water because if has some fancy name on it.
Well gotta go and make some jewelry so I can fill up my pickup truck.

Bill


#3

In the line at the store, the cashier told the older woman that she
should bring her own reusable grocery bag because plastic bags
weren’t good for the environment. The woman apologized to him and
explained, “We didn’t have the green thing back in my day.”

The clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. The former
generation did not care enough to save our environment.”

He was right, that generation didn’t have the green thing in its
day. Back then, they returned their milk bottles, soda bottles and
beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to
be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same
bottles over and over. So they really were recycled.

But they didn’t have the green thing back in that customer’s day. In
her day, they walked up stairs, because they didn’t have an
escalator in every store and office building. They walked to the
grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every
time they had to go two blocks.

But she was right. They didn’t have the green thing in her day. Back
then, they washed the baby’s diapers because they didn’t have the
throw-away kind. They dried clothes on a line, not in an energy
gobbling machine burning up 220 volts - wind and solar power really
did dry the clothes.

Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not
always brand-new clothing.

But that old lady is right; they didn’t have the green thing back in
her day. Back then, they had one TV, or radio, in the house - not a TV
in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a
handkerchief, not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In the
kitchen, they blended and stirred by hand because they didn’t have
electric machines to do everything for you.

When they packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, they used a
wadded up old newspaper to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic
bubble wrap. Back then, they didn’t fire up an engine and burn
gasoline just to cut the lawn. They used a push mower that ran on
human power. They exercised by working so they didn’t need to go to a
health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But she’s right; they didn’t have the green thing back then. They
drank from a fountain when they were thirsty instead of using a cup
or a plastic bottle every time they had a drink of water They
refilled their writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and
they replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the
whole razor just because the blade got dull.

But they didn’t have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their
bikes to school or rode the school bus instead of turning their moms
into a 24-hour taxi service. They had one electrical outlet in a
room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And
they didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed
from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest
pizza joint.

But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful the old
folks were just because they didn’t have the green thing back then?


#4

All that changing from oil-based energy to electric energy does is
change the point of pollution usually to be farther away from the
consumer. You don’t see the warmed water from hydro-electric, nor the
smokestacks from oil or coal generating stations, or perhaps the
domes of the nuclear power plants. The electricity arrives at your
house via “clean” electrical lines. And we don’t think of it as
pollution. And if you think the earth is polluted now, wait until
India and China achieve the same standards of living as North America
and Europe. Just plain too many of us on the earth. But then - there
are advanced in technology that give hope. In the 1800’s there was a
prediction that New York City would be under 20 feet of dead horses
if the population of NYC kept growing. Then the internal combustion
engine was developed and now they worry about a different
problem.


#5

To be honest, I’m not all into the green on every level. The only
reason I asked is that I’m getting the darnest questions this year
from a wide range of students, and I’m stumped. You think after 27
years of being a production jeweler, you’ll know a lot, but students
will trip you up every time. I’m a hardcore acetylene/oxygen torch
user, do not even want to use propane/oxygen or natural gas ( don’t
even ask me to change!). It’s the students or future jewelers that
have to decide how far they want to go on the “green” movement. I
recycle as much as I can, but I draw the line on certain things. I
refuse to give up my sodium bisulfate pickle in favor of wimpy citric
( yes, you can yell at me, but I don’t care). All I can say is, you
have to choose, and do your research. As for flux, I keep coming back
to Dandix or Grifflux, simply, for they have great staying power when
it comes to prolong soldering jobs. Hopefully this will be the end of
this “green gas” discussion. I have come to the conclusion there is
really no “green” gas, and as a friend said, gases and envirnoment
really don’t go together.

Joy


#6
but I draw the line on certain things. I refuse to give up my
sodium bisulfate pickle in favor of wimpy citric ( yes, you can
yell at me, but I don't care). 

Yep. We tried citric acid for a few days, and threw it out and gave
the rest to somebody. It removed solder flux, but otherwise it just
didn’t do what we want a pickle to do…


#7

And we have seen by all the posts on this subject that Kermit was
right – it’s not easy being green!


#8

I’ve used nothing but citric as my pickle for years, and I’ve had no
complaints whatsoever! It works absolutely fine for me.

Noel


#9
...And if you think the earth is polluted now, wait until India and
China achieve the same standards of living as North America and
Europe. 

You’ve got that exactly backwards. When those countries achieve the
same standards of living American’s have, they too will demand their
homes be separated from the sources of electricity, and they will
demand cleaner air…just like we did. Our demands were met because
the suppliers wanted our money.

Just plain too many of us on the earth. 

I’ve heard this since the 60’s.


#10
To be honest, I'm not all into the green on every level. The only
reason I asked is that I'm getting the darnest questions this year
from a wide range of students, and I'm stumped. 

I know using the powers of the interweb you can find enough evidence
to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the earth itself is far from
green. Earth spews green house gasses into the atmosphere on a
regular basis, and Mother Earth stores all sorts of scary chemicals
in just the ground! Not even in concrete bunkers or glass tubes! She
is so lackadaisical about her chemical storage practices she even
leaves asbestos and mercury lying around! Not to mention other
extremely dangerous things like rattle snakes, sharp sticks, deep
holes and water.

I think we need to start doing some serious mining and pick all the
dangerous stuff up and do things with it. Mother earth can’t be
trusted!


#11

I switched to Citric Acid for pickle several years ago. It’s in a
large coffee mug on a mug warmer - THANKS for that tip from an
Orchidian!! I do use a watch glass as a cover to reduce evaporation -
that’s my own tip.

Citric Acid works just fine and I love not having to worry about
accidental contamination with iron.

Judy in Kansas


#12

I know, if life was simple, everything would be green. I’ve made my
peace with the world in a way. If you look at history, there will
always be slavery, slave labor, wars, land grabbing, unscrupulous
people making a fast buck at the expense of people. I know most
stones have some conflict, metal mining has huge environmental
impact, and what can you do?

Metal and stone mining has gone on since man first walked on earth
and will continue till humankind disappears from earth or if earth
gets blown up ( whatever comes first).

I don’t obsess anymore where my gold or silver comes from,
otherwise, I’ll go insane.

It’s dealing with customers and students that can cause all kinds of
problems, for it makes so much extra work to find “environmentally
friendly” stones or people. Sometimes I cringe, for it means I will
spend triple the time looking for the stones and metal, than it is
to actually make the darn thing in the first place. I have to ask
the suppliers for documentation and that can slow up my orders.

For the record, I recycle most of my gold, and more than half of my
silver, by melting it down and milling it into wiret, for it’s more
economical for me, given today’s ridiculous precious metals market.
Phew, I certainly opened a hot topic, didn’t I? Didn’t mean to, but
in a way it’s good to know.

Joy


#13

Yep, citric acid works great. Much better than I thought it would, I
was expecting it to be really slow. Not knowing any better I decided
to experiment and bought a can of it in the pickling section of the
supermarket, dumped about 1/3 of it into the pickling crock pot added
water and was happily amazed at how fast it works.

That was about four years ago, I haven’t used sodium bisulfate
since. Not that I have anything against sodium bisulfate, I just find
citric acid to work as well, to be cheap, to last darn near forever
and there aren’t any hazardous shipping fees.

Not an owner of the citric acid factory. Just a happy customer ;-)!

Joe

Bloomington, Indiana (where we had a tremendously huge
wind/rain/hail/lightning & thunderstorm last night… no damage, but
very inspirational)


#14
Earth spews green house gasses into the atmosphere on a regular
basis, and Mother Earth stores all sorts of scary chemicals in just
the ground! Not even in concrete bunkers or glass tubes! She is so
lackadaisical about her chemical storage practices she even leaves
asbestos and mercury lying around! Not to mention other extremely
dangerous things like rattle snakes, sharp sticks, deep holes and
water. 

I have seen both sides of environmental debate. In Russia, where
everything is subordinated to the needs of the industry, the
pristine areas were turned into waste lands.

In USA the shoe is on the other foot, and green movement turning
industrial parks into the waste lands. The problem is that
environmental movement, whose point of view is actually very correct
and proper, allowed itself to be infiltrated by crazies, and
opportunist politicians.

We cannot survive surrounded by industrial waste, nor can we move
into the caves and use candles instead of electricity. We are going
to have to find the way to resolve the conflict between necessity to
have industry, and desire for clean environment.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#15

There is no real “green” anything in the world. It’s only a relative
term. But it makes me smile that some of the highest scientists who
talk the save the planet from pollution line also fly around the
world in a plane doing so - and have moire than one house - and drive
an SUV. And the save a tree movement seems to like their laptops and
endless streams of paper (oil and trees?). We do the best we can and
if the next generation think they can do it better, I say go to it.
But I’m not sure they will like the prices or the taxes that are
involved.


#16
You've got that exactly backwards. When those countries achieve
the same standards of living American's have, they too will demand
their homes be separated from the sources of electricity, 

Actually it is not backwards, they do not have the ability to say
what they want, Americans seem to forget the freedoms that we have
and in doing so we are losing them very fast.

Bill Wismar


#17
Actually it is not backwards, they do not have the ability to say
what they want, Americans seem to forget the freedoms that we have
and in doing so we are losing them very fast. 

With all due respect, economics doesn’t play favorites. The rules of
the marketplace are the same the world over, and in spite of what you
were told, the USA is decidedly not the freest nation on earth


#18

When I was younger I was decidedly “green” (possibly in both common
senses of the word as applied) but I changed when doing of all
things a MSc in Environmental technology. This made me look more at
the science behind the rhetoric and I realised how much of the
headlines about scary environmental doom prophecies and man made
global warming are basically a con trick foisted upon the populace of
the world to cover up the real problems man is causing to the earth
and its future. In europe there is taxation on many things to save
the planet that will not stand up to proper scrutiny. Half of the
greenhouse gases are liberated by deciduous trees shedding their
leaves but no-one proposes cutting them all down to save the planet!
Global warming is a natural phenomenon based upon measurable cycles
and has been predictable since then end of the last ice age. One of
the geology professors I worked with was noted for his interest in
wine production and said that if global warming persisted you could
grow grapes as far north as York in England by 2086. This follows the
900 year cycle taht allowed the Romans to do the same in 286 but
stating that bit of history doesnt get you any television time or
research funding.

We are using the same amount of resources per capita as in Roman
times but there are now nearly 7 billion of us instead of 100
million. That is the problem- we will destroy our planet by
overfishing and polluting the continental shelves and that will be
the end of us and without a reduction in population by at least 2
billion it is inevitable.

Geology tells us a lot about previous earth and life cycles that the
graph drawers quoting figues for the last century never can. There
arent enough carbon atoms in the solar system to support the
expansion of the human population at its present rate for more than
100 years and in 1000 years the total mass of the human race will
outweigh the planet so it makes you wonder what the politicians
think can be done. In truth, the most environmentally friendly thing
your students can do is to become suicide bombers in the poorer parts
of India.

Nick Royall