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Triumph TR6 - Chemical Storage, A Cautionary Tale...

Since many people here actually go get down and dirty with their cars, like myself, those people probably have a fair amount of chemicals sitting around. Ive always been on the anal retentive side when it comes to chemical storage, but a discovery this morning showed that perhaps I should up my game. First the good news, overall the spill was contained and the damage was rather limited compared to what it could have been. It just took a little while to properly take care of things and it thats the worst of it,

I keep a good deal of really nasty chemicals around the shop to perform various chemical processing on parts we make in support of our hobbies. Everything is grouped more or less together for a given process with incompatible stuff within that process isolated from each other. The typical storage is HDPE containers that are placed inside a plastic bus tub that can be picked up at any restaurant supply with some of the individual items containered in buckets within the tub. Went to do a chem. film application on some recently fabricated aluminum parts and found the mess. A bottle of premixed dilute etch solution had failed, dumping its contents (~1/2 galllon) into the bus tub. This in turn had eaten away at a metal container in the tub and worst of all, eaten away at a can of K&N filter oil that had been placed in there during the move last summer from one shop to another and not removed. This left me with an oily caustic mess with red dye in it. Everything that had been in plastic buckets (the etch solution concentrate, the alodine solution, gloves, face shield, apron) was fine, everything else was toast. Fortunately the etch solution is caustic and not an acid. That precluded any bad exothermic reactions between the oil and the etch solution, and having that bus tub as the final containment vessel really paid off this time.

Bottom line, store that all stuff properly and make sure that incompatible stuff is kept apart.
Steve Pike

Ah, Steve,
Glad it turned out well for you. I well know how bad bad could have been. Glass container are preferred over other materials for chemical storage if/when you can, but then you also need glass stoppers and not metal caps or tops, so it's back to plastic, but as you know better than the rest of us, the right kind of plastic. I like your idea of a surrounding container. I'm reminded of the compatibility tables for explosives since I used to be in that business. Maintain interline distance to preclude sympathetic detonation and segregate by compatibility groupings!!

Hope that the clean up was successful.
Doug Baker

This thread was discussed between 22/08/2008 and 23/08/2008

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