I put together a small "test" setup this past weekend and Thought that using copper for the anode would yield better conduction, ie faster results. :laughingteeth: I was right...to a point. The process started very quickly and worked very well...until the copper started to react with the solution. The anode developed a crusty aqua color coating and the process basically stopped once it was totally encrusted. The solution turned a lovely "Tidy Bowl" color too. The rust was completely gone, as was residual paint and other gunk, but it seems it's a one-shot-deal using copper! If I could get my hands on some gold...J/K! Just thought I'd pass this along. I've heard (AFTER my little experiment) that stainless steel works well and needs less cleaning in between uses. We live and we learn.:blush2:
DONT USE STAINLESS!! It results in a toxic sludge/ gas.. Stainless steel has chromium in it.
Why you should not use stainless steel electrodes for electrolysis
Many people using the electrolysis method for rust reduction swear by stainless steel, stating (incorrectly) that it's not consumed, stays clean and seems safe.
Stainless steel is indeed consumed when used in the electrolysis process, although slowly. The main problem with using it is the hazardous waste it produces. Stainless steel contains chromium. The electrodes, and thus the chromium is consumed, and you end up with poisonous chromates in your electrolyte. Dumping these on the ground or down the drain is illegal. The compounds can cause severe skin problems and ultimately, cancer. Hexavalent chromate is poisonous. These compounds are not excused from hazardous waste regulations where household wastes are.
These compounds are bad enough that government regulations mandate "elimination of hexavalent chromate by 2007 for corrosion protection."
Does your electrolyte turn yellow? That's a sign of chromates.
If you have been using stainless steel for the anodes (positive electrodes), wear rubber gloves when working with or near the liquids. If you need to dispose of it, allow it to evaporate into powders and dispose of the powders in sealed containers during your local "hazardous waste clean-up days".
Best bet - don't use stainless steel no matter how tempting it is.