Fun with Chemistry! (And CNC plasma tables)

Joined: May 11th, 2004, 4:09 am

June 7th, 2018, 12:11 pm #1

I don't know if you'll be able to view this video or not, since it was uploaded to FB only (as far as I know)

Bubble Bubble!

If you can't view it, it's a video of a CNC plasma table, and there's a large amount of bubbling going on in the water.

Here's the OP's description:
Had anyone ever had this happen before? I mostly cut aluminum. Since I cleaned the table I have cut maybe 30 sheet of aluminum and 5 sheet of steel. I haven’t cut on the table in 4 days. I use Borax to keep the table from rusting.
My thoughts were that with the large amount of oxides deposited from the aluminum, the lack of aeration caused both the steel particles and aluminum oxides to settle out.  Essentially, I think he's got an exothermic reaction bordering on a mild thermite production.  And perhaps the Borax is adding further oxidizing action?  Either way, this looks to me like hydrolysis, and those are hydrogen bubbles escaping.

But I'm no chemist... I don't even play one on TV.  So what say you, Guild Collective?
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Joined: October 1st, 2014, 2:49 pm

June 7th, 2018, 12:20 pm #2

Video isn't available to anyone who isn't in that group on FB.
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Joined: May 11th, 2004, 4:09 am

June 7th, 2018, 12:26 pm #3

frank-n-pulse wrote: Video isn't available to anyone who isn't in that group on FB.
I had a feeling that would be the case. That's why I summarized it.
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

June 8th, 2018, 4:51 am #4

Um, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Borax, in effect, a type of detergent? A soap, in effect? I can't view the video either so I can't see what's going on, but a plasma cutter involves a high-pressure air jet. Blow that into water with a form of dish soap in it, and bubbles and foam would of course be a natural, expected result.

Which, of course, lends itself to the natural idea of a practical joke on the plasma guys, by dumping a half cup of dishwashing detergent in their water trays. 😁

Doc.
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Joined: May 11th, 2004, 4:09 am

June 8th, 2018, 10:41 am #5

it's not those kinds of bubbles. It's more like what you see when starting to boil water.
Also, as mentioned in his description, his table hasn't been used in four days when this started happening.
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Joined: August 27th, 2016, 11:31 pm

June 8th, 2018, 12:26 pm #6

It's probably the borax scavenging oxygen from the Al - it's used as a flux & smelt additive for that very purpose.
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