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topic 59749

Acids &Chemicals Historically Used in Iron Chain Pickling



December 8, 2014

Q. I am working on a former industrial plant that manufactured "mechanical chains" from about 1950 to 1990. The plant had a "pickling room." I would guess they used HCl and H2SO4, but what other chemicals might have they used during this period?

Jim Gossweiler
environmental consultant - Baltimore, Maryland, USA


December 2014

A. Hi. I doubt that they would have shipped plain steel chains because they would be too rust-prone. So in addition to using acids, they most likely did zinc electroplating along with a chromate conversion coatings as a topcoat, and perhaps cadmium, and nickel, and other platings. They might have done black oxide coatings. They would have used caustic cleaners, and most likely solvent cleaners (TCA/TCE) as well. If any castings/forgings were involved, or if they offered stainless steel chains, they probably also used nitric acid and hydrofluoric acid.

It is very difficult even to guess even what product lines they offered, let alone what chemicals they would use. Good luck.

Regards,

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

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