Saturday, December 5

Cycling Mythbusters - Simple Green

Screen shot from Simple Green website about using SG on aluminum

ORIGINAL POST on Saturday, November 28
Velo, TX suggests in his comment of November 25th that Simple Green eats aluminum. He even included a link that showed some nasty looking aircraft parts, ostensibly due to the pernicious effects of Simple Green. Well, y'all ought to know better than to put such a dare in front of Steve after he's been recovering from the flu and watching an unhealthy number of "Mythbusters" episodes. I've been using Simple Green for many years to clean both aluminum and steel components with never any ill effects on the treated parts, so this "myth" seemed suspect. No Jaguar has never collapsed into a heap of rubble due to Simple Green as far as I know. Still, Velo spoke with the voice of one who's found something out the hard way, so I determined to test this myth. I got my hands on a pair of ancient and lousy wide-reach brake calipers that came off a Schwinn. Aluminum. But before I could sacrifice these brakes in the name of science, I decided to see what Simple Green said on the subject. THAT is the picture above. Basically, Simple Green do not recommend leaving aluminum to soak in a vat of Simple Green for weeks. I would also not do what the Chinook maintainers probably did - spray the stuff on and then not get it wiped off properly afterwards. I'm also going to go out on a limb and guess they didn't use the Simple Green that conformed to Boeing Specification D6-17487P. I've never done that - not until now. Spray on and wipe off has always been the modus operandi, as with other cleaners. One would do well to remember this is a water-based product. Would you leave your chain to soak in a bucket of water for a couple of weeks? And no, I don't buy my Simple Green to the Boeing Specification. I'm not in the "money is no object" class yet, though I notice that the SG Marketing people would probably love the added profit margin.

While I was reading what Simple Green had to say, my oldest daughter came to the rescue of the brakes, so our initial test will involve ALUMINUM FOIL, immersed in Simple Green (undiluted). The test vat is below. No explosions - so far. Immersion at 4PM, CST. If this turns ugly, please don't dwell on the fact that you probably used something similar to this foil when cooking your turkey yesterday. You can take comfort in remembering that you didn't spray the bird with Simple Green before cooking. If this doesn't work in a reasonable time, we may ramp things up. Based on what I read, I would NOT suggest mixing Simple Green with sulphuric acid. Interestingly, Simple Green do not recommend mixing SG with bleach or ammonia simply because those things reduce its ability to clean. No explosions. A search in their FAQs for "danger" yields nothing.

Simple Green - How long will it take to eat this piece of aluminum foil?
Updated at 4:15 - I snuck out to the garage. So far, it looks just like the picture, except the garage is starting to smell like Simple Green. Perhaps this experiment will have to move out to the driveway if my wife wants to know what that SMELL out in the garage is from. LOVE the smell of Simple Green in the afternoon! Thank goodness I had the presence of mind not to keep the concoction in the kitchen or I might be out in the driveway...

Updated at 1PM Sunday - The Simple Green smell in the garage has leveled out, thank goodness. No visible change in the foil so I tried poking it a bit. BORING! I thought about spitting in the solution, but that seemed rude. Where do you get C-4 around North Texas and where are the approved locales for detonating it?

Updated at 8PM Monday - Still the same. The Simple Green seemed a little chillier when I dipped my finger in it, but otherwise nothing...

Updated at 8PM Saturday, December 5th - COOL, most of the Simple Green has gone away. The aluminum foil seems unaffected, it's just sorta sticky and got green film on it. Some say that when I saw this, I said "Aw shucks! This here dang experiment ain't doin' nothin'. I'm done with it now, I reckon!" I'm stomping off to bed. We'll see if THAT has an effect. If not, I'm going to squirt some water back into the container and maybe stir in a little dirt.


ChipSeal said...

I am glad you are feeling well enough to smell the simple green!
This science stuff is great!

Chandra said...

glad to hear you is feelin' much better, stevea!

ChipSeal said...

Say Steve, did you arrange a control experiment? Did you put some aluminum foil in a beaker of distilled water?

Perhaps the container you are using now is counter-acting the corrosive effects of the Simple Green!

In fact, because you used undiluted Simple Green, perhaps you have located the source of the reported corrosion by folks using a Simple Green solution... The polluted and toxic water they dilute their concentrated Simple Green with!

I have an alternate theory though, sort of like my these theories-

I think that there is a supernatural explanation, something along the lines of the ancient Chinese saying; "A watched pot never boils."

Tonight, before bed, say loudly in the presence of the experiment something like this: "Aw shucks! This here dang experiment ain't doin' nothin'. I'm done with it now, I reckon!" And then noisily stomp out of the garage to bed. Fool them gremlins into thinking their mad scheme to get you to more liberally use the corrosive Simple Green on all your favorite aluminum things has worked! No doubt by morning you will have nothing but soupy gelatinous bowl of green tinged aluminum oxide by daybreak!

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