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topic 20616

Problem with Electrocleaning of Brass

A discussion started in 2003 but continuing through 2019


Q. We have trouble with a Raw Material (70-30 Brass), possibly it was covered with a antirust oil. After electroless nickel process, the product show stains and is not brilliant (although we use an additive for that). We use an electrolytic cleaner and hydrochloric acid. What kind of degrease method can we use?

letter 20616 at

Juan Manuel López Sánchez
- Tijuana BC, México


A. You should do a water break test after the cleaning and acid cycle. If you still have water breaks, some oil or organic compound might be present which was not totally removed by your electrocleaner, so you probably need to add a preclean step by means of a vapor degrease w/approved solvent.

Guillermo Marrufo
Monterrey, NL, Mexico


A. You should be using a soak & electro cleaner designed for brass. Cleaners for steel will tend to pull carbon out of the brass (too brutal). Acid will not remove it. Do not over-clean brass. Some experimentation may be required. Many times you can have no current on the electro cleaner and still run the parts through it. Contact a proprietary manufacturer. Many support this web site.

William F. Hemp
- Grand Rapids, Michigan

June 27, 2019

Q. Dear Sir,
I am Ahsan From Pakistan. I used cleaning from 3 suppliers, but the waterbreak problem not Solved. Kindly suggest solution for water break.

Ahsan Rana
OMER Brothers & Co. - Lahore,Pakistan
  ^- Privately contact this inquirer -^

June 2019

A. Hi Ahsan. Can we assume that you did electrocleaning with those three different chemicals and they were all designed for electrocleaning brass? There is nothing unusual that you are not mentioning, like deep recesses or burned on carbon deposits? The electrocleaning tank is not the initial step? You are doing something first like soak cleaning, ultrasonic cleaning, power washing, solvent cleaning, etc., so you are not overloading the tank with grease?

Thousands of shops successfully electroclean brass, so we need to know what is different about your situation. Remember that grease floats to the top of the tank and the parts therefore exit the tank with a coating of oil on them if the tank is not kept clean. Thanks!


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Ted Mooney, P.E. RET - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha

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