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lamplighter44

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Registered: 08/30/12
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Reply with quote  #1 
Has any one used phosphoric acid to clean lantern parts such as: burners, burner cages, bails, even the inside of the fount?   Were you pleased with the results?
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Reply with quote  #2 
Yes on all counts. Obtained in many forms phosphoric acid is a weak acid, it will attack the thin line of corrosion at the metal's surface, dislodging many forms of lantern grunge that are attached to that surface corrosion.
StanDahl

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Registered: 05/01/10
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Reply with quote  #3 
I have used phosphoric acid in the form of "The Must For Rust", and in that case it is not a very weak acid. It has irritating fumes and works very quickly to remove nickel. I have used it on nickel plated founts, but for no more than 5 minutes, just until the oxidation softens. The nickel on fuel caps goes away quicker than 5 minutes goes by!

I like TMFR on brass, it works quickly, but leaves a residue of copper that must be polished off. This is because the phosphoric acid grabs the zinc and leaves copper behind. It will remove nickel on burner/air tubes quickly too.

It is good on steel rust, but turns it black and it must be removed in order for it to look good. I'm not sure how well it gets along with paint.

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MNfarmer

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Reply with quote  #4 
Actually phosphoric is sold as a metal prep for painting. My understanding is it leaves behind a phosphate ion which helps paint bond where hydrochloric acid (the Works) leaves behind chloride ions (think salt rusting) so must be neutralized before painting.

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Reply with quote  #5 
Does a 'Warm Water & Baking Soda' rinse do an effective job of neutralizing the residue left behind from 'The Works' toilet bowl cleaner?
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Reply with quote  #6 
Ed, Roy's son the chemist says that it still is there and not to use acid, but it seems to work ok for those of us that don't know any better.
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Reply with quote  #7 
A few years ago I was at Home Depot and spotted Zepp Metal Prep, one gallon jugs closeout sale priced at a dollar a piece so I bought all they had, 8 or 9 gallons. The main active ingredient was phosphoric acid, and something else, the acid listed first, instructions said to clean the metal, dip in the product as needed to remove light rust, and not to rinse. Blow dry, and yep it leaves this barely visible crystalline coating, cloudish, that the instructions say is good as a primer to paint over when dry. The label didn't say the content quantity and I suspect it was low as it took it a long time to get even flash rust off, well an hour for light flash rust.  I ran out of it maybe two years ago, and back to using citric acid I get it in bulk from the Internet, (cheap and goes a long way). I avoid using the acids that contain Chlorine, like Muriatic acid (hydrochloric acid), more so when brass is involved.

As an aside, when doing mechanical contracting we sometimes treated water and steam boilers, using an acid we would bring the ph way down and circulate it in the boiler a couple of hours, using a ph gell probe we could calculate how much calcium and other hardness we had dissolved off the internal surface of the boiler, sometimes as much as fifty pounds was in suspension in the fluid. The vessel would get flushed a few times and the boiler metal was then "passivated" to stop the acidic action, we used sodium hydroxide (lye) mix compound, and raised the ph back up to 11 (that is a high base value), boilers are kept at a fairly high ph to prevent hardness deposits anyway. From that, any time I treat metal with acid I follow up with a rinse of baking soda to neutralize the acid.

Ed

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diehard

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Reply with quote  #8 
Quote:
Originally Posted by StanDahl
I like TMFR on brass, it works quickly, but leaves a residue of copper that must be polished off.

Tin & zinc dissolves quickly in most acids. Brass is a mix of copper and zinc. You have dissolved the zinc on the outer layer of the brass. Likewise the rust on QL collars is the tin. When soaking in vinegar the remaining tin is dissolved leaving the zinc in the tin/zinc alloy they're dipped in.

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Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
Tin dissolves quickly in most acids. Brass is a mix of copper and tin. You have dissolved the tin on the outer layer of the brass. Likewise the rust on QL collars is the tin. When soaking in vinegar the remaining tin is dissolved leaving the zinc in the tin/zinc alloy they're dipped in.

Zinc dissolves quickly in acid. Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc and sometimes small amounts of other metals. Where Bronze is mostly copper and some tin added to make the alloy. This is the first time I have heard of a zinc/tin alloy used on the collars, usually steel metal is coated with zinc (galvanizing) or tin.

Ed

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diehard

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Reply with quote  #10 
If the collars were just zinc dipped they wouldn't rust. Look at the old Ball jar lids. Had to be some alloy that would rust. I think a zinc/tin would be most likely although the dangers of lead were unknown so could even of been lead/tin.
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Dmacp

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Reply with quote  #11 

John-
Phosphoric acid is by definition weak acid, no matter how strong it is. (Strong acids are hydrochloric, sulfuric and nitric)  I use "aluminum brightner" and you do add water as needed and wear gloves. If there is zinc phosphate in the solution it will leave a protective coating on steel, however the acid will remove most corrosion, especially brass. 
All acids (mentioned here)  are soluble, should rinse with water and leave no residue.
I personally have used it in nickel plated areas safely. However coleman nickel is not the best and will come off if the brass underneath it corrodes.
Dan

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Reply with quote  #12 
I figure phosphoric acid will attack any plated finish, so I reserve it for rusty steel I intend to repaint. I use W.M. Barr & Co. Klean-Strip® Phosphoric Prep & Etch available from Home Depot. I use it because it's an affordable paint prep product that removes rust and believe it does leave a phosphate coating that provides a good "tooth" for the following paint layer. Whether to rinse it or not is the subject of much Internet discussion among body shop technicians. The thought is if you let the acid dry and you risk potential paint adhesion problems. Rinse it and you risk flash rust. Apparently they used to recommend just letting it dry but now the manufacturer recommends rinsing the acid before painting without neutralizing.

POR-15 METAL-READY™ is a superior (but pricey) formulation that contains phosphoric acid plus zinc phosphate to provide additional anti corrosion protection.

The "Naval Jelly" active ingredient is phosphoric acid.
I sometimes prefer to use it as the gel formula clings well to surfaces I want to spot treat.

I like the products but they are part of a sequence of steps that leaves a raw finish that must be topcoated within 24 hours to prevent the start of additional corrosion.

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Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
Phosphoric acid is by definition weak acid, no matter how strong it is.

I'm not arguing with you, as a science teacher with some background in chemistry I completely agree. I didn't call it a strong acid, I referred to the acid ingredient specifically in TMFR as "not a very weak acid", and in this context it is to be used with caution. From experience TMFR will quickly attack skin, mucous membranes and nickel. I'm not familiar with naval jelly but have used the Jasso etch product, which is not as strong as TMFR.

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Reply with quote  #14 
I use Eagle brand "Etch and Clean" (Phosphoric Acid) from Home Depot to clean most of my lantern and stove parts. I like phosphoric better than anything else I have used for cleaning, and I also like the passivating effect that it offers. I also use it with a little "Simple Green" in my ultrasonic cleaner and it really cleans and brightens the brass.
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