Does WD-40 Rust Remover Soak cause hydrogen embrittlement?
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    Default Does WD-40 Rust Remover Soak cause hydrogen embrittlement?

    I would like to de-rust some of my spring steel tools with WD-40 Rust Remover Soak. In the technical data sheet of the normal WD-40 product, it is mentioned that:

    "EFFECT ON MATERIALS

    HIGH STRENGTH STEELS: (for hydrogen embrittlement)
    Certified SAFE according to the Lawrence Hydrogen Effusion Test"


    The problem is that in the WD-40 Rust Remover Soak technical data sheet I did not find any information like this.

    Does anyone know if the Rust Remover Soak is also safe to use on high strength steels without causing hydrogen embrittlement on them?

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    The stock WD40 reference has no relevance - WD40 like "simple green" and "boeshield" has become a trademark, not a product identifier.

    Look up the SDS or MSDS and see if that helps identify the active ingredients.

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    They still have a main product labelled: "WD40 Multi Use Product". The technical data sheet of that product has this paragraph that I pasted above, mentioning SAFE in terms of hydrogen embrittlement.

    I checked both the TDS and MSDS of their Rust Remover Soak, but it does not contain any info on ingreedients. It says: "The specific chemical identity and exact percentages are a trade secret." Shop descriptions include that this product is acid free, but they don't mention this on the data sheets. The only thing I found on ths sheets is: "Incompatible Materials: Strong acids. Hazardous Decomposition Products: Thermal decomposition will release oxides of carbon, and oxides of phosphorous." Maybe it contains phosphoric acid???

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    Some rust removers contain phosphoric acid:

    http://www.loctiteproducts.com/tds/S_TRMT_NAVAL_tds.pdf

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    Is there a way to do a test? In particular, is there a good way to do positive and negative controls? What would be the worst chemical to cause hydrogen embrittlement and what test part would you use to see it? (You can see I've been hanging around biologists for too long.)

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    Just read on another forum about a guy that tried to use evaporust to de-rust some old spring calipers. Came back a day later and the spring was in several pieces. Other commenters say they had the same thing happen with the WD40 equivalent.
    Old Woodworking Machines - Login

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    ^ Its easy to prevent hydrogen embritlment, simply bake in a oven for a hour or 2 at 180C, thats a low enough temp it won't effect any steels temper or spring properties too.

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    This is a fairly common chelator.
    I talked with my brother the chemist.
    He concluded that when used as directed there should not be a problem.

    This is not based on experiment, so don’t take it to space.

    We also noted that these chelators leave a layer of black oxide and perhaps oregano metallics on treated surfaces...the black dust. This could be reactive in an oxidizing environment or have other consequences if not thoroughly cleaned.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rudd View Post
    Just read on another forum about a guy that tried to use evaporust to de-rust some old spring calipers. Came back a day later and the spring was in several pieces. Other commenters say they had the same thing happen with the WD40 equivalent.
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    What do you mean by "WD-40 equivalent"? The original WD40 (named WD40 Multi Use Product), or the WD40 Rust Remover Soak?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rudd View Post
    Just read on another forum about a guy that tried to use evaporust to de-rust some old spring calipers. Came back a day later and the spring was in several pieces. Other commenters say they had the same thing happen with the WD40 equivalent.
    What do you mean by WD40 equivalent? The classic WD40 (labelled: WD40 Multi Use Product) or the WD40 Rust Remover Soak?

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    Quote Originally Posted by bencuri View Post
    What do you mean by WD40 equivalent? The classic WD40 (labelled: WD40 Multi Use Product) or the WD40 Rust Remover Soak?
    The second post in the linked thread:
    "Yes I have had the exact same thing happen to some dividers I had in the WD40 version of evaporust"

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    The general rules for hydrogen embrittlement are High strength steels, steels that are harder than Rc 42, parts that are under stress as in a spring, and contact with free hydrogen. Steels softer than Rc42 are not generally affected by H2. When the manufacture involves plating or similar exposure, baking the parts for 2 hours at 200C has been recommended. Some use less time and/or temperature, others more.

    A number of ASTM processes are available such as ASTM F519, ASTM F1624 and others.

    Tom

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    Well, I am a bit confused now, Rudd says that guy had negative experience with the Rust Remover Soak, but Miguel writes the chemist assumes it might have no side effect. Well, I think I will stick to the normal WD40 then as it has been tested for Hydrogen Embrittlement with favourable results at least. Later I may give a try to the Soak as well though to see whether it ruins spring steel or not. Will test something that is not too valuable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TDegenhart View Post
    The general rules for hydrogen embrittlement are High strength steels, steels that are harder than Rc 42, parts that are under stress as in a spring, and contact with free hydrogen. Steels softer than Rc42 are not generally affected by H2. When the manufacture involves plating or similar exposure, baking the parts for 2 hours at 200C has been recommended. Some use less time and/or temperature, others more.

    A number of ASTM processes are available such as ASTM F519, ASTM F1624 and others.

    Tom
    Tom,

    That's interested. If you follow the N.A.C.E. MR0175 guidelines, it says for any low carbon, low alloy steels, any harnesses 22 HRC or below is acceptable, not suspect-able to hydrogen enbrittlement. At least, this is law in the oilfield enviroments. Regardless, as adama said, soak in oven at 350 degrees F or 200 degrees C, for at least 2 hours, we do it for 3 hours to cook out the hydrogen.

    I have several pairs of outside calipers that were soaked in Evaporust and the springs have not broken on any of them. If your worried about it ditch the WD- and use Evaporust!

    Ken

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    I certainly agree the conditions you set forth are totally free of hydrogen embrittlement. The values I used threshold values. Keep the part below these values and the probability is that nothing will happen. Above well you are starting to roll the dice.

    Tom

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    I have used many gallons of Evaporust over the last 10 years. Many of the parts were springs or had springs in them, including numerous Starrett dividers. I have never had a spring break on any of them. Sometimes the parts stay in the solution for a week.
    Evaporust is a chelant. There is no phosphoric or citric acid. It appears to have a neutral PH, though I have not tested it.

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    Think of steel as a lattice of tennis balls. Think of hydrogen embrittlement as a bunch of bees that flew into one side of the lattice. While the bees are in there, the lattice is more brittle. The thing is, the bees fly out, especially if you put the lattice into an oven which makes the bonds stretch.

    Hydrogen embrittlement is real, but often temporary.

    metalmagpie

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    ^ yep and some alloys are a lot more prone to it than others, also depends on the spring too, a nice drawn wire spring will naturally be way more imune to it than a fine leaf like spring, its not a constant kinda thing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bencuri View Post
    Well, I am a bit confused now, Rudd says that guy had negative experience with the Rust Remover Soak, but Miguel writes the chemist assumes it might have no side effect. Well, I think I will stick to the normal WD40 then as it has been tested for Hydrogen Embrittlement with favourable results at least. Later I may give a try to the Soak as well though to see whether it ruins spring steel or not. Will test something that is not too valuable.
    Note...
    If the part is all rust it will fall apart when the rust is removed...


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