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Ionic cleaners


G’day. I have been most intrigued by the thread on ionic
cleaners, but realise I am completely ignorant about the
principle of their operation.

It sounds to me as though there may be an electric current
passing between the workpiece and an electrode via some
conducting fluid. But am I anywhere nearly right? I can’t see
quite what the fluid might be, the type and voltage of the power
supply, whether the workpiece could be the anode or cathode. I
checked up on the ionic cleaners offered for sale in several
catalogues, but they don’t tell one very much do they? Gee,
ain’t I higgerent? Will some clued-up person enlighten me?
Please? Cheers,

   / \
 /  /

/ /
/ /| \ @John_Burgess2
____ )
At sunny spring-time Nelson NZ


Hi John,

You surmised correctly. Probably the most popular unit in the US
is one made by Speedbrite. They make 3 different models (sizes).

Basically each unit consists of a plastic tank that contains an
aluminum plate connected to the positive side of a DC power
supply & an liquid electrolyte. The aluminum plate is insulated
from whatever metallic item is put in the tank by a plastic
screen that covers the tank bottom. The item to be cleaned is
connected to a wire coming from the negative side of the power
supply. The item is then put into the tank & the unit turned on
(it has a built in self timer, about 10 seconds). The potential
measure across the plate & wire on the unit I have is 18 VDC. I
didn’t measure the current, it’s probably in the micro amp range.

I don’t know what the electrolyte is, all I can tell you is it
is odor free & has a soapy feel. It generates lots of suds when
shaken. The solution is supposedly safe for all non water soluble
stones. The mixing directions for the electrolyte call for 32 to
1 dilution ratio with water. One caveat that’s listed; use
demineralized water in hard water areas.

When the unit is on, a large quantity of bubbles are generated
from the item. I suspect what’s happening is a very weak form of
electro stripping.