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Darwin award candidate

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  • Darwin award candidate

    I went to a farm to pick up a leaky gasoline tank for a farm owner when called me about a leak on a gasoline powered tractor, he told me his hired hand would have it off and cleaned for me. I wash these things out with a Sodium Hydroxide solution and then purge them with CO2, also if practical I fill with water prior to welding. When I got there the worker had the tank off and cleaned and was preparing to pressurize it to find the leak but since he had no way to regulate the air compressor to less than 40 PSI he needed another way to pressurize it, no problem for this genius since there was a torch in the shop and that regulator would go all the way down to about 1 or 2 PSI. He had all the fittings plugged except one and had the OXYGEN hose from the torch connected to that with the regulator set at 10 PSI, he had soapy water ready and was waiting on me to arrive so he could pressurize the tank and show me where it was leaking. Had he turned on this rig we would have had 10 PSI of pure Oxygen in a 20 gallon tank filled with gasoline fumes and about a quart of liquid gasoline!

  • #2
    Hmmm.
    Oil is known to spontaniously combust in presence of pure O2.
    Gasoline fumes would have blown him to the moon.
    I wonder if he replied "i ve been doin' this for years" when you told him.
    FSWizard - Free Online Speed and Feed Calculator

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    • #3
      Why don't they teach this stuff in high school? Don't use pure 02 with hydrocarbons. It seems so easy.

      It's surely more important to know how to avoid dieing than some silly fact about the feudal system in medieval Europe.

      Dan
      At the end of the project, there is a profound difference between spare parts and extra parts.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by danlb View Post
        Don't use pure 02 with hydrocarbons.

        Dan
        How about, "Don't use pure O2*" No need to qualify it!

        * unless you want to burn something

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        • #5
          Originally posted by danlb View Post
          Why don't they teach this stuff in high school? Don't use pure 02 with hydrocarbons. It seems so easy.

          It's surely more important to know how to avoid dieing than some silly fact about the feudal system in medieval Europe.

          Dan
          The yuppie helicopter parents have effectively eliminated high school technical programs. Besides they are more expensive than just warehousing 30+ students in a room with a talking head at the front.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Dr Stan View Post
            The yuppie helicopter parents have effectively eliminated high school technical programs. Besides they are more expensive than just warehousing 30+ students in a room with a talking head at the front.
            Perhaps the fact that since a college degree makes a huge difference in potential earnings is more to blame. I loved taking shop in school - but it was really obvious to me even back in the 1970s that a professional career as an engineer was far more economically rewarding than working as a machinist or technician.
            Bart Smaalders
            http://smaalders.net/barts

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            • #7
              Originally posted by barts View Post
              I loved taking shop in school - but it was really obvious to me even back in the 1970s that a professional career as an engineer was far more economically rewarding than working as a machinist or technician.
              Way back in the late 50s, my high school still had an active shop program, but my parents made it crystal clear to me that only "loser" kids took shop, so I was not allowed to take those classes. Now, Dad was the consummate DIY-er, and Grandpa was Gyro Gearloose, so I learned a lot at their sides. But, I was headed to college to become "somebody" - you know, doctor, lawyer, etc. Well, I did go to college, and it was there I learned that I already was somebody, and eventually I found my own track, which, of course, had nothing to do with what my parents had in mind.

              Got to take some shop courses, but later, as a graduate student. Sorta did the education thing backwards, I guess. . .
              Cheers,

              Frank Ford
              HomeShopTech

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              • #8
                As soon as I saw what he had rigged up there I told him in a rather urgent tone to not turn on the Oxygen and that if he did it was quite likely the tank would explode. When he said it would be ok because it was only 10 PSI and that was not enough pressure to rupture the tank I tried to explain to him it was the O2 mixed with the gasoline that would explode but I don't think he ever did understand what he was doing wrong, anyway the tank is soaking in my cleaning tank and no harm was done but I can't help but wonder what else this guy might do!

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                • #9
                  Yea, but you are defeating the Darwin/evolution thing by stopping him from self destruct before he can reproduce. Perhaps that is even more dangerous.

                  And the gene pool is further diluted every day.

                  Yea, yea, I know. I would have stopped him too.



                  Originally posted by radkins View Post
                  As soon as I saw what he had rigged up there I told him in a rather urgent tone to not turn on the Oxygen and that if he did it was quite likely the tank would explode. When he said it would be ok because it was only 10 PSI and that was not enough pressure to rupture the tank I tried to explain to him it was the O2 mixed with the gasoline that would explode but I don't think he ever did understand what he was doing wrong, anyway the tank is soaking in my cleaning tank and no harm was done but I can't help but wonder what else this guy might do!
                  Paul A.

                  Make it fit.
                  You can't win and there is a penalty for trying!

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                  • #10
                    I worked in a workshop back in the seventies where they had an open trough of cyanide (used in silver plating ) and some hydrochloric acid next to each other when the health and safety guy came he evacuated the whole building as it makes the same gas asused in the gas chambers no smell or anything we were just told if one drop of either made contact we wouldn't make it to the door yet it was used this way for years without harm the owner had to get fume cupboards and store it in different rooms.It just shows what ignorance can do. Alistair
                    Please excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

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                    • #11
                      So why do you use sodium hydroxide to clean them anyway?

                      When I had a small tank to clean, I used laqure thinner to rinse it a few times. After a 24 hour dry I could not smell any trace of gas or other solvent fumes. Didn't use CO2 purge, even though it would be a great idea, now that I have a CO2 cylinder and hose for it. ($20 Paintball cylinder + $20 remote hose (with valve/pressure gauge) from ebay, costs $4 to refill!)

                      My reasoning was the laqure thinner would dissolve any gasoline/oil deposits in the tank, allowing the majority of the remaining residue to be rinsed out.
                      What would be left as deposits on the walls would be mainly laqure thinner and would evaporate in minutes when exposed to air.

                      Thoughts on using a highly volitile solvent to clean gas tanks verus sodium hydroxide?
                      Last edited by Black_Moons; 05-18-2013, 03:47 PM.
                      Play Brutal Nature, Black Moons free to play highly realistic voxel sandbox game.

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                      • #12
                        Have not played with gas tanks except to seal leaks externally, so I have no input on the cleaning thing. But I have had occasion to clean out used propane tanks so they can be used for other applications. It has been suggested that bleach gets the odor out, but since that's chlorine based, I would think that it would affect the metal over time. I wonder if lye would be safer and maybe just as effective? Maybe lacquer thinner would do the job? The mercapton smell is not easy to get rid of.

                        Never really thought about the Darwin award thing much, but come to think of it, I suppose I've 'studied' the phenomenon a few times- although I've always filled the tanks with water and cut or drilled them that way.
                        I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

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                        • #13
                          I had a Honda 305 with a leak around the filler neck that I decided to seal with solder.
                          I rinsed the tank and FILLED it with water to within 1/2" of the top.
                          The SOB blew on me as I was trying to get solder to flow with a propane torch!
                          I was very surprised and have had a healthy respect for hydrocarbons ever since.
                          No harm done to me or the tank.
                          Mike

                          My Dad always said, "If you want people to do things for you on the farm, you have to buy a machine they can sit on that does most of the work."

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                          • #14
                            Water and gasoline/oil do not mix very well. Hence why rinsing a gas tank with water is not very effective. Also tends to promote rust in the tank.
                            Play Brutal Nature, Black Moons free to play highly realistic voxel sandbox game.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Black_Moons View Post
                              So why do you use sodium hydroxide to clean them anyway?


                              Because that's what's in the degreaser vat that is used to boil greasy engine and tractor parts, it's been the standard solution for this purpose for many years and will take oily baked on sludge down to bare metal after a few hours in the hot solution. I suppose it's not the very best method of cleaning a gas tank but it does work very well and since I already have the setup I just drop in the gas tank, take it out after a few hours and rinse it out then it's safe to weld on. As far as rinsing a tank with water not being effective I don't think anyone is suggesting it is and the water is used simply as a means of reducing the air space, and thus the space for fumes to collect. A 20 gallon tank with nothing but air and gasoline fumes could make a really big bang but if that space is reduced to only a couple of cubic inches or so by using water any explosion that might occur would be very minor by comparison.

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