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Salt Water + PVC + Time = Jellly? Answered

A while back I had made a HHO generator or electrolysis device.  I had run it a little bit and then left it for about two months in a bucket because it had a small leak.  Salt crystallized on the outside some and when I opened it, there was a large glob of some milky white jelly like substance, any ideas?



Best Answer 6 years ago

Was there any aluminum in the thing originally?


Yes, the aluminum rods lost about half of their size

It's hydrated alumina: alumina oxide, water -OH.
I know it because you can get it by adding too much water to LithAl...


+1. BTW, the words "gels" and "gelatinous" are used in the following Wikipedia articles in reference to wet aluminum hydroxide in certain circumstances.

"Freshly precipitated aluminium hydroxide forms gels, which is the basis for application of aluminium salts as flocculants in water purification."
From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aluminium_hydroxide 

"Bayer discovered in 1887 that the aluminium hydroxide that precipitated from alkaline solution was crystalline and could be easily filtered and washed, while that precipitated from acid medium by neutralization was gelatinous and difficult to wash"
From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayer_process

All substances present were a high concentration of calcium from tap water (and other impurities) traces of silicon calk (dried) large amounts of aluminum oxide, salt, access to aluminum, any coating on the PVC, traces of PVC glue, PVC.

It reminded me a lot of silicon, but un-drying, less viscous, and whiter.

I dunno. Insoluble metal hydroxides? Maybe Mg(OH)2? Ca(OH)2? Maybe the corresponding insoluble carbonates MgCO3, CaCO3, if these were exposed to air for a long time.   This is assuming you were running this cell with tap water, which contained large amounts of Ca and Mg ions to start with.

BTW, you did not mention what you were using for electrolyte in the first place.    The usual conservation laws suggest whatever compounds you get out of the cell, that these must contain atoms that somehow got into the cell in the first place.

So, all of these seem to have the color I am looking for, but they are all powders, I would say that Magnesium hydroxide looks the closest when mixed into water, but it wasn't thick enough.

Salt crystallized on the outside, therefore I obviously used lye.