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topic 32871

Fiberglass electrolytic cell


Q. I have a fiberglass business and was asked to build a Fiberglass electrolytic cell to anodize aluminum.The dimensions are 16 inch x 43 inch x 28 inch with a 39 inch dia. wheel made of fiberglass rotating inside the tank.The solution in the tank is water and 15% by weight of phosphoric acid at 192 F.My question is what would I use as a resin in building this tank? Also is there anything I have to spray over the tank to protect it from the acid?


Danny Hicks
Eastern Marine - Gananoque, Ontario, Canada


A. This is not a guarantee--even the resin manufacturer will probably not offer a guarantee. But vinylester resin is usually the choice for acids used in a plating or anodizing shop.

Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live "Aloha"


A. Hi Danny,

What Ted says is correct ... most of your resins will be the strong boat type aliphatics which I wouldn't use at all.

The vinylester resins are very good for alkalies and acids. However, for a pure acid condition, I'd use Hooker's HETRON 197 ... which is a relatively high heat acid resistant Polyester ... and for non-stressed chimney linings was tested at 250 degrees F.

On the wheel, ah, we have a potential abrasion problem so I'd opt for an external corrosion barrier using around l/8" mat plus veil and nicely saturated.

You won't have to 'spray' anything onto the tank ... but here again, the proper modus operandi for a corrosion resistant interior is to use the above corrosion barrier concept. This will prevent or retard wicking.

Mind you, if I had my way, I'd make the wheel from PVDF which, like all thermoplastics, is highly abrasion resistant but this would cost your customer quite a bit more, I think.

freeman newton portrait
Freeman Newton
White Rock, British Columbia, Canada

(It is our sad duty to
advise that Freeman passed away
April 21, 2012. R.I.P. old friend).

March 8, 2013

Q. I have a similar case of wanting to build electrolytic cells from fibre glass. I had a privilege of being the plant engineer for a company that polymer concrete cells. I found the plant set up and mold design a bit inhibiting interns of start up. Hence I have opted to make the cell out of fibre glass. Thanks for the info on the resin. However I want to use wood as a stiffener to achieve levels close to that of polymer concrete cell.

Ernest Shamano
mechanical engineer - Ndola, Copperbelt, Zambia

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