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Foam

   
Foam has been a traditional problem for most Dry Cell designs. It happens for several reasons. Some I can explain, and some I can not.
  • The dry cell does not have any air space inside, when it is off (not operating). This is because the weight of the water in the water tank, or bubbler, completely fills the inside of the cell, and even comes out the top hose that the escaping HHO gas uses. Now, when you apply power to the dry cell, the HHO gas rises to the top of the cell and escapes through the top barb fitting and out the tube, and makes its way up to the bubbler/water tank. As more HHO is produced, it pushes the water out of the tube and pushes down on the water level inside the cell. It does this because of backpressure caused by the weight of the water in the bubbler/water tank. The water level will try to stabilize just below the top barb hose fitting. When that happens, there will be a lot of turbulence caused by the rising bubbles. That causes the foaming. The foam is actually a mass of bubbles. Bubbles are made up of the gases covered by a water membrane. The bubbles get pushed out the cell, and travel up to the bubbler/water tank. Now they make their way to the surface; on the way, most of the foam gets eliminated. However, the turbulence on the surface of the bubbler/water tank causes more foam.
     
  • Backpressure is one way to reduce foaming. It does not take much. Installing a check valve, or a flash arrestor will put a little backpressure on the bubbler/water tank. That pressure will push down on the bubbles (foam) causing them to dissipate. Lowering the bubbler - also causes backpressure if it causes the output gases to travel down, instead of up.
     
  • Vacuum pressure is another way to reduce foaming. It pulls the heavier Oxygen bubbles out of the bubbler/water tank. The oxygen bubbles are causing the foam. The Hydrogen bubbles are traveling 45 miles per hour - towards the engine. They don't hang around, but some of them get trapped in the foam.
     
  • Strong Electrolyte mixtures can cause foaming. Water will naturally foam slightly, but the contents of the water has more to do with foaming than anything else. What ever is in the water, will be in the bubble membrane.
     
  • The videos below, are using Vinegar as a de-foaming agent. They are passing the HHO gas through a vinegar bath. I am totally against that. The bubbles exiting the vinegar bath contain what? You guessed it, Vinegar. That is going to cause a problem. The vinegar will get into the bubbler/water tank, the bubbler/water tank cycles the water back to the Cell, and that is going to cause a nasty brown scum to collect on the electrodes of the Cell. You can witness this in the second video below.
     
  • Most Dry Cells need bubblers, and bubblers need lots of freeboard. Freeboard is the amount of space above the water. You need enough space for the foam to collect and dissipate. My tube Wet Cell design does not need a bubbler, because it has 5 inches of Freeboard; something to think about.
     
  • Some types of rubber gaskets cause foaming. Natural rubber supposedly does not cause foaming. The rubber must be appropriate for alkaline use or it will contaminate the electrolyte with organic acids, making soap with the KOH or NaOH.  Carefully check the characteristics of your rubber type,  EPDM rubber works great.

     
    Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer, provides very good resistance to weathering, ozone and UV exposure. It is highly recommended for applications where the elastomer will have excessive exposure to the environment. EPDM makes a great hanger flap, roof pad, or outdoor industrial rubber curtain.
     
    It provides very good chemical resistance and dynamic properties.  E.P.D.M. blended material is considered a non-oil resistant material. 


     

  • It is well known that when KOH and NaOH are mixed with oil it makes Soap. It is very important to clean the oil out of everything the water touches. That includes the cell, the barb fittings, the hoses, flash arrestors, bubblers, pumps, flow meters, check valves; everything. Wash these parts inside and out with a mild dish soap and rinse really good. That should eliminate the lubricants used in the molding process.
     
  • Foaming agents? If you know of one that works, one that does not cause problems with the plate surface, please let me know; I will post it here.
  • Dimethylpolysiloxane (anti-foaming agent)
  • Mylanta
  • Spa anti-foam
   

   Video provided by Bruce Energetics:

 

   

   Video provided by Bruce Energetics:

   
   
   
Spa de-foamer

We do not know what it is that he puts in the water. It does seem to eliminate the foam. But, the water in the bubbler is re-filling the cell. That water may contaminate the metal plates. Only testing will tell if this works long term.

  • A comment from the above video's YouTube page: The Spa de-foamer can be costly. You really don't need a 20 oz bottle.  Instead, go to the baby aisle or antacid dept in the Pharmacy area in Wal-Mart and buy any liquid GASX type product that has Simethicone. Google it to confirm. Simethicone is used in some detergents when foaming is unwanted. This is basically the same stuff for much less.

      Here is what I found out about Simethicone:
     

 

 
   

 

Page Last Edited - 08/28/2014

    Copyright 2003   All rights reserved.   Revised: 09/23/14.                                             Web Author, daddyo44907
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