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PBW & the Chemistry of Clean

Discussion in 'Glass' started by t-dub, Dec 8, 2012.

  1. t-dub

    t-dub Vapor Sloth

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    Oregon
    I love clean glass. Not just for aesthetic reasons, for me its a serious health issue as well. So when I began on my vape journey I knew cleanliness was going to be an issue of intense study, and so it has. I am not here to blast the ISO/salt method, I call it the "Shake & Break" method, since I feel its responsible for more broken glass than just about anything. But it is still relatively easy and effective, just not perfect, not even close.

    The interesting thing is, if we understand the cleaning cycle, and the chemistry of clean, we can design a system that eliminates this hazard and others, and does a better job overall. Another thing I dislike about liquid chemical solutions is that they tend to be expensive, bulky, hard to store and transport, and usually have a negative environmental impact.

    I started to dream . . . a list of requirements began to emerge . . .
    • Inexpensive compared to liquid chemicals and solvents
    • A concentrated powder that mixes easily in your glass
    • Easy to transport and store, low profile, common
    • Good for the environment, biodegradable & relatively non-toxic
    • Fantastic results with energy from hot water, no shaking, and modest dwell times
    • Able to clean a fritted disc properly
    • Easily available at local non "stoner" locations or Internet
    • Works in hard water and gets rid of hard water stains
    • Free rinsing leaving absolutely nothing but purity & clean behind, period
    • Safe on stainless steel, polycarbonate, and other surfaces
    Luckily a research chemist, who is also a home brewer, had a similar dream to mine a few years ago. His paper on "Cleaning Essentials" is a brief but excellent read on the subject, I highly recommend it. Its amazing how much of what I do in my lab with cannabis comes back to pool & spa chemistry and the chemistry of beer & wine making. A well-known graphic in the cleaning industry that is used to describe the major players involved in cleaning a surface is shown in the figure below. It uses a pie-chart to represent each portion of an optimized cleaning system. The pie-chart is important because it shows that each time one of the aspects is changed, the others must be altered to compensate for that. If the water is hotter, you don’t have to use as much mechanical action (elbow grease), and vice-versa. With the exception of Time, each component may be considered a type of energy. Mechanical Action is energy added to the system by scrubbing or spraying, Temperature is heat energy that is added to the system, and Chemical Action is energy added to the system through the use of a chemical cleanser. The click-able chart below shows how each of the components adjusts for each other and how increasing the amount of Chemical Action or Temperature may lower the need for Mechanical Action.
    [​IMG]
    So my goal was to optimize a cleaning system that eliminated, completely if possible, the blue section of the above graphic. We do this by maximizing the other areas of course. What is the solution? PBW (Powered Brewery Wash) is a combination of sodium metasilicate (TSP substitute), and an oxidizer (oxyclean) with a few surfactants (wetting agents) thrown in for good measure. Its these agents that differentiate it from its brother, Straight-A. I have yet to find something that this stuff can't clean, its amazing. I put some in my dishwasher and it removed 6 years of white weird filmy buildup that nothing else would touch.

    So by using some tubing, rubber stoppers, bumper guards, hot water and this chemical, we have a quick, easy way to keep our glass clean. It limits hazards and washes safely and responsibly down the drain leaving nothing but purity and clean behind :)

    This method also promotes an easily repeatable routine, an essential component of glass safety imho.

    The video below is some test footage. The Zob you see has suffered 6 months (and twice as many ounces) of abuse at my hands during my RezBlock tests (future diffuser medium thread) The pics below show what happens when you ignore the manufacturers instructions and "push" the product beyonds its limits. The deposited layers of "filth" you see are biological contamination, vapor residue, salt, and god knows what else. It took 2 washes with about 15 minutes dwell time each to bring it back, although the second wash was just for the "ring" on the downstem. The label did fade slightly however, I dislike labels, and only kept this one so it could be destroyed in testing :D

    Remember, if you pollute it, dilute it :peace:



    More video next week will show the regular glass collection cleaning process :)

    [​IMG]
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    [​IMG]
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    [​IMG]
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    Resources:
    http://www.ecologiccleansers.com/essentials.php
    http://www.ecologiccleansers.com/straight-a.php
    http://www.ecologiccleansers.com/Straight-AMSDS.pdf
    http://www.ecologiccleansers.com/StraightADataSheet.pdf
    http://www.midwestsupplies.com/media/downloads/311/PBW Tech Sheet.pdf
    http://www.midwestsupplies.com/media/downloads/312/PBW MSDS Sheet.pdf
    http://fuckcombustion.com/threads/ht-flush-device.7263/#post-306512
     
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  2. kingofnull

    kingofnull ace

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    Great for combustion, but I like to collect reclaim from my glass when I vape
     
  3. t-dub

    t-dub Vapor Sloth

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    I agree for the combusters. I respectfully disagree on the reclaim for 2 reasons. One I can discuss, the other is proprietary. The amount of reclaim that you will get from the Cloud and its HydraTubes or your glass, is negligible imho, a waste of time, and creates something I don't want to ingest anyways.

    The second deals with RezBlock and how it keeps resin (read vapor resin) from sticking to your glass in the first place. There simply is NO reclaim when using RezBlock, and what if someone who understood the chemistry of how it worked designed a vapor centric solution eh? :brow:

    There are 2 parts to clean my friend, the diffuser medium (what you vape through), and then the cleaning part afterwards. I know I introduced this backwards but there is a reason . . . :peace:

    Thanks for contributing to the thread :)
     
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  4. momofthegoons

    momofthegoons vapor accessory addict Staff Member

    Messages:
    6,311
    t-dub, I'm just as excited about this as I was when you first brought it up here. I've been looking for an alternative to the "shake and break" method ever since I bought my first bubbler. My order for some PBW is going in today.

    Thank you for this great contribution! :tup:
     
    t-dub likes this.
  5. havealight101

    havealight101 Norski

    Messages:
    938
    Mom, fyi, I found some at my local home-brew shop. I think it was $7/lb.

    Nice work t-dub! Love that shiny glass!
     
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  6. jackmormon

    jackmormon Well-Known Member

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    t-dub,

    Thanks for this info and the video. My brewmaster neighbor is bringing me a cup full of PBW on Monday. In your video, what is that "metal scooper" called? It looks like it would be handy for a number of things. (And where do I get one!)
     
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  7. kingofnull

    kingofnull ace

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    2,366
    Location:
    Canada
    Sure each individual cleaning session will only net marginal gains, but it accrues over time in the alcohol as you continue cleaning. I've been doing this since I started vaping through glass. My last QWISO batch of wand/glass reclaim was just around 1 g - maybe a waste of time for you, but a gram of free concentrates aren't wasted on me :p

    I can definitely see the advantage for glass with hard to reach places.

    And I'll for sure pick some up for my combustion pipes.

    Great video btw, I didn't realize that was yours :tup:
     
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  8. Roger D

    Roger D Vapor Wizard

    Messages:
    1,137
    I'm also trying to get the perfect product, I didn't manage to find a similar cleaner like PBW in europe, any ideas ?
    I tried a warm hot glycerin / touch of vinegar / salt blend. It cleans well but far from perfect.. The glass gets really clear but some small stains still resist. (I don't shake and don't let the stuff too long in the pipes)
    Glycerin is supposed to be a better solvent than alcohol, anybody else tried this ?
     
  9. Lou

    Lou Active Member

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    120
    its called a scoopula. Its used mostly in chemistry labs or wherever you're transferring a granulated solute.
     
  10. OO

    OO Technical Skeptical

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    Since you brought it up, lets delve deeper. Why do you feel this method is responsible for more broken glass than just about anything?

    I want to understand how someone could arrive at this conclusion, and since you brought it up, it's a good opportunity to help you understand what is going on, and to help the rest of us understand your logic, so please elaborate.

    P.S. Nice algae! (well water?)
     
  11. momofthegoons

    momofthegoons vapor accessory addict Staff Member

    Messages:
    6,311
    OO, I would think the reasoning behind t-dubs conclusion is obvious. With his method, there's no shaking around of the piece of glass. I know I've dinged my bubblers several times doing that and am real lucky they didn't break. With this new method, it's more of a flushing system with the bubbler sitting on a flat surface.

    And.... if you read the first post, t-dub was using a solution called RezBlock in his bubbler instead of water. RezBlock sort of looks like Mountain Dew and is probably the cause of the greenish color.
     
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  12. kingofnull

    kingofnull ace

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    Location:
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    t-dub, do you really like using RezBlock? Now that you're using PBW are you going to continue using it?
     
  13. Roger D

    Roger D Vapor Wizard

    Messages:
    1,137
    Tired of seeing theses stains on my piece I tried sodium percarbonate and was amazed with the results, 3g of powder in the piece, warm hot water, a bit of manipulating the piece to make the powder run on the stains.. In 5 minutes everything was gone. Hot water rinse and vinegar finish. I've never seen my piece that neat. Crystal clear everywhere.
    This is sold as a green stain remover
     
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  14. t-dub

    t-dub Vapor Sloth

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Oregon
    These guys have tons of cool stuff we can use, fairly inexpensively :) Good luck and thanks for reading the thread, if you have any more questions please ask :)

    [​IMG]

    This is a lab scoop or "scoopula" very handy for loading bubble as well :D

    [​IMG]
     
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  15. t-dub

    t-dub Vapor Sloth

    Messages:
    4,683
    Location:
    Oregon
    I still love vaping through a medium, yes, and will continue to study it. I have figured out the chemistry behind this product and am developing a vapor-centric solution right NOW :)

    Yes Roger, you are on the right track. An oxidizer is necessary, and a great first step. I started with OxySpa, pretty much same stuff I believe. Its interesting because the sodium metasilicate and the oxidizer work together to do more than they can separately.

    00 . . . knew I would be hearing from you, love reading your material :)

    Mom was right, the "Shake & Break" method is just that, the method. I have broken tons of glass in my day, and spoken with tons of people who have done the same during cleaning. It seems to me that most accidents happen during cleaning, the shaking contributes to the risk I believe, and also altering a set routine can cause "unexpected" occurrences as well.

    Yes that was Algae, and some of the RezBlock salt which is green . . .
     
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  16. OO

    OO Technical Skeptical

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  17. t-dub

    t-dub Vapor Sloth

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    wow not nice :huh: Some of us are disabled and have arthritis. Maybe not everyone who is as skilled as you are should still have the opportunity to own, use, and enjoy glass? Honestly, I expected better than this from you dude . . . And with over 30 years cleaning glass, accidents are going to happen inside the lab and out . . . your assertion is ridiculous . . .
     
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  18. OO

    OO Technical Skeptical

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    Please take no offense.
    It isn't ridiculous, I'm not here to critique anyone though you may not be able to decipher my tone, I only wish that my advice be taken as an attempt to help. I understand that there are a wide array of afflictions which people in this community suffer from.

    Plastic has quite an array of benefits that I believe that most people don't give it its due. Plastic is lighter (better for those who suffer from conditions like arthritis), harder to break (not a big deal if it is tipped over or dropped), and if it does break it's really not a big deal, since it is not handmade, and is therefore easily replicated.

    One often overlooked benefit of plastic is insulation. It prevents much of the condensation loss that occurs with glass.

    Like I alluded, I am not special, I do break glass frequently, which is one reason I prefer plastic. I do and have worked in a few chemistry/biology labs, I'm not new to handling glass, I'm just not coordinated enough to not break it all the time. So please excuse my not niceness, I'm really only here to help.
     
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  19. t-dub

    t-dub Vapor Sloth

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    OO, thanks for clearing that up, I really appreciate it. I thank you for bringing your experience and expertise to this discussion. Safety with polycarbonate was one requirement for this project because you are absolutely correct, plastic has lots of great properties. If only you could make a fritted disc out of it . . . :)
     
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  20. OO

    OO Technical Skeptical

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    I know my tone can be quite off putting at times, which is why I'm working on my efforts to clarify/ be more friendly in my tone (it's worse for me IRL believe it or not).

    You can do better than a fritted disk with it, look into that jet gag.

    It would be cool if they made a very small version of it, I've handled it before, and it's quite heavy (albeit solid). also I'm not sure about cleaning it (this is where frits fall down, but you'd know that if you follow my posts).

    As much as I like pretty things and glass, I accept the limits that come with it. Those lacking should still acquire what they want, but let someone they trust handle it. I feel the same about driving.
     
  21. Lou

    Lou Active Member

    Messages:
    120
    OO, I am not sure where you are coming from here. It seems like you are nit-picking a real issue when it comes to cleaning glass. The whole, "If you're not coordinated enough to clean glass, you shouldn't be handling it in the first place," was quite an arrogant remark. Even the most steady of hands can fail when handling glass, especially wet glass while cleaning (most often in a bathtub or somewhere with many places for glass to hit and break).

    Why T-dubs issue of removing this obvious threat and often inconvenience of cleaning glass needs explaining is a mystery. I think your analogy of driving compared with owning glass needs more explanation than anything.
     
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  22. OO

    OO Technical Skeptical

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    Thank you for engaging me, I often require outside opinions to gauge how may remarks are being interpreted, and I appreciate the feedback more than I can communicate. :)

    T-dub was talking about using alcohol to remove the residues, also known as solvent wash.
    The glass should not be handled with one's (bare) hands while still wet with solvent like alcohol, but should be cleaned in another container. If the glass is too large to keep in another container while cleaning, then you should not handle a wet portion of the glass (I assumed this was not why the glass was being broken).

    A tip to not break glass while handling wet (washing with water) would be to use some form of cushioning like a rag, or a mesh suspended above the wash basin. This would allow liquids to fall through, and would support the glass in case it was dropped (or cushion its fall at the very least).

    Proper washing techniques should always be employed, especially when working with glass.

    As for the analogy, driving should only be allowed to those capable of doing it correctly. The common assertion of our society that you can't take away the licenses of those who are unsafe at driving (the majority), because everyone relies upon personal automobile transport, I believe is greatly flawed. My assertion is that only those who are fully capable should be trusted to drive, and those who are not fully capable should have their permissions revoked until they can prove that they are capable.

    Seems reasonable no?

    In this I believe that those who are not capable of driving properly should not engage in the act themselves until they train themselves on the proper techniques, and are able to hone their coordination to acceptable levels. If they are not coordinated enough to do so properly, they should forfeit their license.

    Those who handle glass should do the same, ask themselves if they are capable of doing so without braking it constantly, and if the answer is no, they should figure out the proper techniques, and if their coordination is the reason, should evaluate whether they should be the one's handling glass.

    What should be taken away from the analogy?
    Consider the alternatives.
    Carpooling, public transport, improving one's ability, plastic.
    All alternatives.
     
    turk likes this.
  23. JCat

    JCat Well-Known Member

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    Does this work for cleaning the ELB's for the Cloud and other Stainless screens? (just curious) This might substitute my 99% ISO regimen and dependency (every time my wife goes to Walmart and she asks me if I need anything I ask her to check for the big containers of 99% ISO ... and if they have any, buy them out!)
     
  24. OO

    OO Technical Skeptical

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    There are ways of reducing solvent usage, like doing three washes, and using only a small amount for the first two, and then a soak for the last wash. Though that may not be the reason you use so much, I thought I'd throw it out there.
     
  25. Lou

    Lou Active Member

    Messages:
    120
    I'm sorry, but this is not a reasonable analogy (IMO). Driving itself is a privilege, yes, but when operating a vehicle, you MUST abide by the rules of the public roads you are using. These traffic laws serve not only to control traffic, but to protect drivers on the road. If you are incorrectly operating a 3-5k lb vehicle, you are risking peoples LIVES on the road.

    Glass is an accessory, hobby, art, whatever you want to make it. It is by no means necessary, nor does using it, cleaning it, or misusing it cause danger to anyone else, much less yourself. (Unless using it as a weapon). Many people take precautions while cleaning their glass and despite this, mistakes and accidents happen. Whether this is the result of "incorrect methods," as you imply, or more likely, the mechanical aspect of cleaning with a solvent and abrasive such as salt depends on multiple factors.

    The problem I have with your reasoning here is that you are focused on what YOU think people should change about their cleaning regimen. What T-dub is presenting here are his findings after personal research (I have followed many of his posts regarding this very topic), that not only employ a more effective cleaning combination (Than salt and iso) but achieve HIS GOAL of reducing the mechanical action he had experienced in traditional cleaning. If the thread title was, "What glass cleaning methods do you employ?" I wouldn't have a problem with what you are saying. You're effectively saying, "Good research and findings, but you've missed the completely obvious!" (As you state, switching to plastic, or utilizing safer methods using the same cleaning agents). The thread was also not titled, "I'm tired of my glass breaking, what alternatives to materials/methods are there?"

    Since you seem focused on the car/driving analogy, let me try to use it in a different way. If you wanted to go to the grocery store, you would most likely drive there. Driving from your residence to that store involves, "risks of the roads," that you travel. (Think risks inherent to cleaning glass). A person may run a light and run into your car through no fault of your own (You also may trip holding a piece of glass and drop it on the floor). Is either of these situations intentional or reprimandable on the part of the struck driver or person who dropped the glass? At face value, I would say not.

    If, by some chance, you could take a helicopter to the store instead of driving, you would avoid these, "risks of the road." (Think using a more advanced cleaning agent such as PBW instead of salt+ISO). For MOST people, this would incur less risks than driving.

    Heres a less confusing analogy. If you wanted to go from point a to point b (Dirty to clean glass), would you climb the mountain in your way, or would you take the train that went through it? (More time intensive, user intensive, complicated etc. versus (an) innovation/technology that would make the journey easier/less risky for the MAJORITY of people).


    TL: DR- More effective glass cleaner; less risk as a result...I see nothing but progress (Thanks to t-dub and the creators of PBW).

    Also: Sorry for the major thread de-rail T-dub, I was slightly irked by OO's replies to the experiment and findings of yours.
    -Lou
     

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