HI i have made cleaning vats out of a 55 gal steel drum..added a hot water heater element(110volt) in the bottom and use water and lye (Sodium hydroxide)Molecular formula NaOH also in wood ash or yucca ash has a lot of NaOH in it
Sodium hydroxide is frequently used as an industrial cleaning agent where it is often called "caustic". It is added to water, heated, and then used to clean the process equipment, storage tanks, etc. It can dissolve grease, oils, fats and protein based deposits. It is also used for cleaning waste discharge pipes under sinks and drains in domestic properties. Surfactants can be added to the sodium hydroxide solution in order to stabilize dissolved substances and thus prevent redeposition. A sodium hydroxide soak solution is used as a powerful degreaser on stainless steel and glass bakeware. It is also a common ingredient in oven cleaners.
A common use of sodium hydroxide is in the production of parts washer detergents. Parts washer detergents based on sodium hydroxide are some of the most aggressive parts washer cleaning chemicals. The sodium hydroxide based detergent include surfactants, rust inhibitors and defoamers. A parts washer heats water and the detergent in a closed cabinet and then sprays the heated sodium hydroxide and hot water at pressure against dirty parts for degreasing applications. Sodium hydroxide used in this manner replaced many solvent based systems in the early 1990s when trichloroethane was outlawed . Water and sodium hydroxide detergent based parts washers are considered to be an environmental improvement over the solvent based cleaning methods.
the last part came from Wikipedia
this cleans very well but no aluminium never ever
hydrogen gas which is produced in the reaction between sodium hydroxide and aluminium:
so NO aluminium EVER should be put in it please the people way smarter than me can help please add
You forgot to add that parts will have to be neutralized before use/painting.
Neutralized is as simple as washing with water and the aluminium, would be all white metals, so no babbitt as well.
Todd did you just wire the element direct or did it go through a hot water tank thermostat?
I did the same thing only with a 30 gallon tank. I used a 110v element and strapped the thermostat to the barrel. I welded a 1" pipe coupling about 2" off the bottom for the element then made a 4 legged stool out of expanded steel to protect it. It only takes a couple of hours to get to 160 degrees.
The 30 gallon barrel is a handy size. A Model T flywheel or block will fit. Two months ago I had FIVE complete transmissions in there at once.
I made a snug fitting lid of of marine plywood that prevents almost all evaporation. I've had it full for 25 years and the plywood hasn't warped and the barrel hasn't rusted out. I also made a 4 wheel cart with caster wheels so it's easy to move around.
I DID DIRECT AT FIRST.. THEN WORRIED ABOUT IT ..THEN HOOKED UP TO A THERMOSTAT
Just washing with water and the aluminum and you can getting all white metals.
there are a number of supply companies that sell the powder for hot tanks, its not to expensive and you can get your parts CLEAN. i just need to move to a location where i can set such a unit up.
Sodium Hydroxide is just as "caustic" as Hydrochloric Acid so be sure to wear safety gear when working with it. When mixing, ALWAYS add the flakes, tablets, pellets or whatever TO water. NEVER pour water into anhydrous sodium hydroxide. It creates an exothermic reaction that can turn the mixture into an instant steam bomb.
And, because sodium hydroxide will dissolve proteins, it is especially hazardous to human skin and sub-dermal tissue. A single drop to the eye will cause permanent blindness. Treat it as you would any powerful acid and wear protective gear. (Full face shield, rubber gloves, sleeve protectors and rubber apron.)
It's not one of the usual household cleaning solutions so don't take it granted or be careless with it.