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By Brian in SLC
Jun 25, 2012
Climbing in Smuggler's Notch

What's kind of interesting with respect to all this chatter about galvanic corrosion, is, there is very little to no evidence of it at any crag in the U.S. between plated and stainless steel.

I've seen what I thought looked like galvanice on old (60's vintage more than likely) alumunum cave hangers on plated steel studs, which were pulled and replaced on a route, and, I got a good look at the hangers. The backside of the hanger, in and around the contact area of the bolt, had corroded with deep pitting that looked related to the contact with the bolt.

The Index aluminum hangers don't look like "sacrificial" anodes to me, or, to a high end metallurgist I showed the photo's to a few years back (exfoliation corrosion more than likely).

Here's a similar hanger on the Med at Capo Noli in Finale Ligure:

Aluminum hanger Capo Noli Finale Ligure
Aluminum hanger Capo Noli Finale Ligure


You can see that the area around the bolt is still hanging in there. If there was a "sacrificial anode" thing happening, I'd think the bolt/hanger contact area would go first. Looks like exfoliation corrosion to me.

Here's another aluminum hanger on a 1972 route nearby, but, away from the marine coast:

Rocca di Corno Finale Ligure aluminum hanger 1972
Rocca di Corno Finale Ligure aluminum hanger 1972


Seemed kinda ok.

Yeah, rusty chains aren't so good:

Schoolroom rappel, Little Cottonwood
Schoolroom rappel, Little Cottonwood


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By J. Albers
From Colorado
Jun 25, 2012
Bucky

Thanks for the detailed reply Brian. In short, I really need not worry nor feel like a cheap ass for matching zinc plated chains (etched and painted) with an all SS bolt and hanger setup. Check.

...and yes, the stain from the rusty chain in the picture you posted is indeed an eyesore. Bet you could see that from the ground.

Thanks again.
Cheers.


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By Brian in SLC
Jun 25, 2012
Climbing in Smuggler's Notch

Was a trend for awhile to soak shiny, new chain in vinegar to remove the zinc plating, which, also removes most of the corrosion protection. They rust like the dickens, even in a dry climate.

Best to get a primer compatible with zinc, paint with that, then top coat with some camo paint. Even if the paint chips, won't look as bad as unpainted and shiny chain, or, super rusted chain.

Cheers!


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By Brian in SLC
Jun 25, 2012
Climbing in Smuggler's Notch

Darren Mabe wrote:
its more than just a few extra dollars to go all SS...


Yeah, kinda.

With the occasional good deal on stainless powerbolts, or, Hilti KBIII's, I can keep that cost down per bolt. Hangers? Not a huge leap to stainless.

Stainless chain and rapides, especially 5/16", aren't too bad if you look around for a good deal.

But, yeah, it costs more. I guess I think the routes should be worth it.


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By mattm
From TX
Jun 25, 2012
Grande Grotto

Brian in SLC wrote:
Was a trend for awhile to soak shiny, new chain in vinegar to remove the zinc plating, which, also removes most of the corrosion protection. They rust like the dickens, even in a dry climate. Best to get a primer compatible with zinc, paint with that, then top coat with some camo paint. Even if the paint chips, won't look as bad as unpainted and shiny chain, or, super rusted chain. Cheers!


You want LATEX spray paint. Normal spray paint (primer and final coat) has chemicals that react with the zinc to form a "soap" layer. That's why the paint never sticks. Latex spray paints lack this chemical so they adhere a lot better. They'll still chip of course but seem to hold up better. You want to allow SEVERAL days for the paint to dry and harden. It's bet to prepare your hardware well in advance so the paint is as hard and dry as possible. This greatly extends longevity.

I'll typically use a SS quick link when it will be in contact with a SS glue in. I don't want any corrosion occurring on the Glue In. With hangers that are easily replaced, I'll do PS Quicklinks more often.


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By J. Albers
From Colorado
Jun 25, 2012
Bucky

Brian in SLC wrote:
Was a trend for awhile to soak shiny, new chain in vinegar to remove the zinc plating, which, also removes most of the corrosion protection. They rust like the dickens, even in a dry climate. Best to get a primer compatible with zinc, paint with that, then top coat with some camo paint. Even if the paint chips, won't look as bad as unpainted and shiny chain, or, super rusted chain. Cheers!


Yeah, you can indeed buy etching primer that is specifically used for plated steel and thus does not remove the corrosion protection. This way you get the benefit of rust protection without the problem of the paint chipping off after a couple of seasons. In one of my local areas that gets quite a bit of runoff, the chains treated in this way are at least ten years old, but they look brand new. So it seems to work rather well.
Cheers.


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By 20 kN
From Hawaii
Jun 25, 2012

Brian in SLC wrote:
What's kind of interesting with respect to all this chatter about galvanic corrosion, is, there is very little to no evidence of it at any crag in the U.S. between plated and stainless steel. I've seen what I thought looked like galvanice on old (60's vintage more than likely) alumunum cave hangers on plated steel studs, which were pulled and replaced on a route, and, I got a good look at the hangers. The backside of the hanger, in and around the contact area of the bolt, had corroded with deep pitting that looked related to the contact with the bolt. The Index aluminum hangers don't look like "sacrificial" anodes to me, or, to a high end metallurgist I showed the photo's to a few years back (exfoliation corrosion more than likely). Here's a similar hanger on the Med at Capo Noli in Finale Ligure: You can see that the area around the bolt is still hanging in there. If there was a "sacrificial anode" thing happening, I'd think the bolt/hanger contact area would go first. Looks like exfoliation corrosion to me. Here's another aluminum hanger on a 1972 route nearby, but, away from the marine coast: Seemed kinda ok. Yeah, rusty chains aren't so good:
So what type of corrosion would you name in your second picture? Uniform corrosion? I am under the understanding that your second picture is a textbook example of galvanic corrosion. I have seen cases where carbon steel hangers with carbon steel bolts outlast stainless steel hangers with carbon steel bolts. If uniform corrosion was to blame, the plated steel hangers and bolts would rust at the same rate as the mixed bolts. So if galvanic corrosion is not an issue in the USA, why is it possible for all carbon steel bolts to outlast stainless hangers paired with carbon steel bolts?


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By Adam Stackhouse
Administrator
Jun 25, 2012
Courtright Reservoir, September 2013

meigsrock wrote:
I am planing on puting up some routes on a new wall and am wonering if I can hand place them, use my standard cordless drill, or if I need to throw down some serious coin for that fancy climbing hammer drill that is on the market. I have the rawl 5 pc bolts but need to get a drill. Any suggestions?



I tried that too and it didn't work. Gotta go with a hammer drill. I bought a Bosch Annihilator that was factory refurbished for something like $350 plus shipping. 4 inch hole into California granite takes about 20 seconds.


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By Brian in SLC
Jun 26, 2012
Climbing in Smuggler's Notch

20 kN wrote:
So what type of corrosion would you name in your second picture? Uniform corrosion? I am under the understanding that your second picture is a textbook example of galvanic corrosion. I have seen cases where carbon steel hangers with carbon steel bolts outlast stainless steel hangers with carbon steel bolts. If uniform corrosion was to blame, the plated steel hangers and bolts would rust at the same rate as the mixed bolts. So if galvanic corrosion is not an issue in the USA, why is it possible for all carbon steel bolts to outlast stainless hangers paired with carbon steel bolts?


Second pic I see the standard reddish rusty looking iron oxide from that bolt.

If you have pic's or a reference to some bolts that faired better than a stainless hanger, I'd like to see it. i never have. Ain't sayin' it can't happen, but, wouldn't the carbon steel be the anode?


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By Carl Sherven
Jun 26, 2012

This was a pretty cool thread until everyone started letting a troll derail the whole thing. Account created May 21, 2012, has added 6 inflammatory comments to pictures, and made 72 forum posts, all of which that I've seen have been inflammatory. Just ignore it and think of how bad life must suck if saying nasty things to people on the internet is the best thing you can think to do with your evenings.



So back to the galvanic reaction stuff, I have a question for some of you that obviously know more than me. Is it reasonable to use aluminum bus bars in high current electrical applications if they have to mate with copper bus bars? I know that if you don't add some flashing it causes a reaction, which leads to a high impedance connection, and all the problems that come with that. Some utilities actually tried to incorporate Al bus bars back in the 60s, but they had several failures (including a couple substation fires) where the Al mates with the Cu, but I don't think there was any flashing or other coating on the bars. If you add a silver or tin flashing to both bus bars is it possible to mate them without galvanic reaction?

Let's get this thread back on track.


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By 20 kN
From Hawaii
Jun 26, 2012

Carl Sherven wrote:
This was a pretty cool thread until everyone started letting a troll derail the whole thing. Account created May 21, 2012, has added 6 inflammatory comments to pictures, and made 72 forum posts, all of which that I've seen have been inflammatory. Just ignore it and think of how bad life must suck if saying nasty things to people on the internet is the best thing you can think to do with your evenings. So back to the galvanic reaction stuff, I have a question for some of you that obviously know more than me. Is it reasonable to use aluminum bus bars in high current electrical applications if they have to mate with copper bus bars? I know that if you don't add some flashing it causes a reaction, which leads to a high impedance connection, and all the problems that come with that. Some utilities actually tried to incorporate Al bus bars back in the 60s, but they had several failures (including a couple substation fires) where the Al mates with the Cu, but I don't think there was any flashing or other coating on the bars. If you add a silver or tin flashing to both bus bars is it possible to mate them without galvanic reaction? Let's get this thread back on track.
I used aluminum bars to join 10 automotive batteries in a vehicle awhile back. I had five 2/0 AWG wires terminated with copper lugs on the bar. I was drawing about 1500 amps RMS among the five lines. Anyway, I used that battery system for three years and I never had any corrosion issues. I did not use any type of electrolytic gel or any of that stuff between the connections either. I am also not the first person to do this. In the application I was using those batteries in the method I chose, with the Al bars and Cu lugs, is very common. I have never heard of anyone having issues except for when they do not tighten the connections well enough, or seize the screws, in which they get extreme heat, sometimes leading to a fire.


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By Carl Sherven
Jun 26, 2012

20 kN wrote:
I used aluminum bars to join 10 automotive batteries in a vehicle awhile back. I had five 2/0 AWG wires terminated with copper lugs on the bar. I was drawing about 1500 amps RMS among the five lines. Anyway, I used that battery system for three years and I never had any corrosion issues. I did not use any type of electrolytic gel or any of that stuff between the connections either. I am also not the first person to do this. In the application I was using those batteries in the method I chose, with the Al bars and Cu lugs, is very common. I have never heard of anyone having issues except for when they do not tighten the connections well enough, or seize the screws, in which they get extreme heat, sometimes leading to a fire.


That's kind of what I'm getting at; it's common to use compression lugs that have an electro-tin plating with wires made of either Al or Cu. It's also common to fasten these lugs onto either Al or Cu bus bars. Of course, when a lug is not plated it is typically only rated for use with the same metal as it is made from, for example here's one lug series from Ilsco that is not plated or flashed, and it is only rated for use with copper wires. On the other hand, here's another compression lug series from Ilsco that has an electro-tin plating, and it's rated for use with either metal. The same thing can be found with just about every terminal for headers, terminal blocks, circuit breakers, etc. They are electro-tin plated, and there is no issue with using either Al or Cu wires with them. However, for some reason when you bring up the idea of mating Al bus bars with Cu bus bars, using an electro-plating to prevent a galvanic reaction, people balk at the idea. I don't understand why we do this in every other facet of wiring, but when we try to apply the same technique to bus bars people get all weird.


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By Jim Titt
From Germany
Jun 26, 2012

J. Albers wrote:
Thanks for the detailed reply Brian. In short, I really need not worry nor feel like a cheap ass for matching zinc plated chains (etched and painted) with an all SS bolt and hanger setup. Check. ...and yes, the stain from the rusty chain in the picture you posted is indeed an eyesore. Bet you could see that from the ground. Thanks again. Cheers.


There are worse things in the climbing world to worry about than a galvanised chain on a stainless hanger for sure. Ive seen enough yachts with mixed stainless/galvanised rigging components including my own not to worry about it being an issue. If one wants to be sure there is no galvanic action then a brief test with a millivolt meter is standard practice anyway.

There is a discussion going on in Sardinia over the use of galvanised bolts (which are common in France) and one of the major objections is that on limestone the zinc leaches down the rock killing the algae leaving white lines on the cliff, the inevitable rust which appears later adds to the visual effect in a somewhat unnatractive way though it saves time making photo topos.


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By Brian in SLC
Jun 26, 2012
Climbing in Smuggler's Notch

Jim Titt wrote:
There is a discussion going on in Sardinia over the use of galvanised bolts (which are common in France) and one of the major objections is that on limestone the zinc leaches down the rock killing the algae leaving white lines on the cliff, the inevitable rust which appears later adds to the visual effect in a somewhat unnatractive way though it saves time making photo topos.


Yeah, seen the streaks at a fair number of crags in France. Seems like there's been a lot of replacement effort going to stainless.

Bolt streaks at Mont Sainte Victoire, France
Bolt streaks at Mont Sainte Victoire, France


Also, you can see it even in fairly dry areas in the U.S. too...

Bolt streaks, Northern Arizona limestone
Bolt streaks, Northern Arizona limestone


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By 20 kN
From Hawaii
Jun 27, 2012

Carl Sherven wrote:
That's kind of what I'm getting at; it's common to use compression lugs that have an electro-tin plating with wires made of either Al or Cu. It's also common to fasten these lugs onto either Al or Cu bus bars. Of course, when a lug is not plated it is typically only rated for use with the same metal as it is made from, for example here's one lug series from Ilsco that is not plated or flashed, and it is only rated for use with copper wires. On the other hand, here's another compression lug series from Ilsco that has an electro-tin plating, and it's rated for use with either metal. The same thing can be found with just about every terminal for headers, terminal blocks, circuit breakers, etc. They are electro-tin plated, and there is no issue with using either Al or Cu wires with them. However, for some reason when you bring up the idea of mating Al bus bars with Cu bus bars, using an electro-plating to prevent a galvanic reaction, people balk at the idea. I don't understand why we do this in every other facet of wiring, but when we try to apply the same technique to bus bars people get all weird.

So are you saying that because I did not get corrosion between my Al and Cu components, I wont get corrosion on a SS hanger and a plated steel bolt? I am not sure those two applications are really that comparable, they are completely different scenarios using completely different materials.

In any case, I can tell you one thing with certainty. I have a clipped a lot of plated steel bolts mixed with SS hangers that had a nice looking hanger and a completely rusted out bolt.

Here, take a look at what Fixe USA's official stance is on the issue.


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By Carl Sherven
Jun 27, 2012

20 kN wrote:
So are you saying that because I did not get corrosion between my Al and Cu components, I wont get corrosion on a SS hanger and a plated steel bolt? I am not sure those two applications are really that comparable, they are completely different scenarios using completely different materials.


No, that's not what I'm saying. I was asking about Al and Cu bus bars with electro-tin plating. It seemed like a couple people on the thread know a lot more about metallurgy than me, and the bus bar thing is something I've dealt with at two employers now. It's kind of a threadjack, but I figured I could get an answer to a question that I haven't been able to get answered elsewhere.

Both employers readily used Cu compression lugs and paid no attention to whether the wire or the terminal the lug was attached to was made of Al or Cu, and they could do this because of the electro-tin plating. When I brought up the idea of using Al bus bars instead of Cu, using the same plating, they told me I'd get a galvanic reaction. I don't see the difference, as it's still Al with electro-tin plating, mated with Cu with electro-tin plating, but somehow they think it's a problem to do it when mating pieces of bus bar, despite the fact that they are already mating Al to Cu using that same plating on other places in the system.

20 kN wrote:
In any case, I can tell you one thing with certainty. I have a clipped a lot of plated steel bolts mixed with SS hangers that had a nice looking hanger and a completely rusted out bolt. Here, take a look at what Fixe USA's official stance is on the issue.


Me too, I'm not arguing that at all.


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By Sam Lightner, Jr.
From Lander, WY
Jun 27, 2012
The Shield

There is really no need to discuss this as if we are reinventing the wheel. I can't believe there is THIS much discussion.
Go stainless glueins on the replacement and its done. Forever, by human standards (unless you are in a marine area, then you need Ti.
If you want expansion, go 304 grade stainless to match the 304 grade hangers. Done. And btw, the mixing of metals in an extremely dry environment is going to take a VERY long time to degrade.
For what its worth, i think the industry is being completely irresponsible to the longterm health of climbing and the climbing environment by selling plated steel rather than forcing everyone to go with stainless. Its wrong to set it up so that it MUST be rebolted sooner than later.

My .02 cents.


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By mattm
From TX
Jun 27, 2012
Grande Grotto

Agree that SS is the best choice by far.

Does anyone know if the corrosion seen on PS bolts is truly accelerated by the SS or if it would have occurred regardless?

If I remember correctly, Jim mentioned in a post once that often, the corrosion you see on the SS hangers is really just contact corrosion with the PS washer. That's what I've seen in the Dry(ish) Texas weather.

The PS washer always seems to have CRAP plating and rusts out first (this is for 5 pieces). Then you see the PS shaft rust next. I've pulled some mixed metal setups and the SS hanger cleaned up no-problem with very little if any pitting. It really did look like contact rust.

I really have no clue though so I could be completely wrong.

Washer Corrosion on Petzl Hanger
Washer Corrosion on Petzl Hanger

Hanger that was placed with PS 5-Piece. Washer was rusty but bolt had very little corrosion near the surface much like Brian's bolts pictured up thread.

Cleaned Petzl Hanger
Cleaned Petzl Hanger

Hanger after clean up with some Oxalic Acid (to re-passivate I think)


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By Brian in SLC
Jun 27, 2012
Climbing in Smuggler's Notch

Sam Lightner, Jr. wrote:
For what its worth, i think the industry is being completely irresponsible to the longterm health of climbing and the climbing environment by selling plated steel rather than forcing everyone to go with stainless. Its wrong to set it up so that it MUST be rebolted sooner than later. My .02 cents.


Concur. From manufacturers to retailers.

Been a hard sell for me. I don't see the extra expense being that big a deal, and, its manageable. But...tough to convince even close climbing partners.


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By J. Albers
From Colorado
Jun 27, 2012
Bucky

Brian in SLC wrote:
Concur. From manufacturers to retailers. Been a hard sell for me. I don't see the extra expense being that big a deal, and, its manageable. But...tough to convince even close climbing partners.


Agreed. And it doesn't help that you have the "Gear Guy" or whatever his handle is at Rock And Ice writing bolting articles (last months magazine I think) where he states that there is no real need for SS. I found that super annoying.


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By mattm
From TX
Jun 27, 2012
Grande Grotto

J. Albers wrote:
Agreed. And it doesn't help that you have the "Gear Guy" or whatever his handle is at Rock And Ice writing bolting articles (last months magazine I think) where he states that there is no real need for SS. I found that super annoying.

+3

People down here are A-OK with PS for the limestone sport as well. At least it's 1/2in and 5-Piece so it can be replaced. I agree that it doesn't rust THAT FAST down here but why not do it ONCE and not worry for a long long time. I'm working on selling the SS down here as well.

The Granite guys are doing it right with SS all the way.


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By Sam Lightner, Jr.
From Lander, WY
Jun 27, 2012
The Shield

When you have only been climbing for a few years, a 20 year lifespan for a bolt seems like a real long time. Its not. Aside from Thailand (which is its own nightmare), I am continually going back to routes i did a couple decades ago with plated steel and replacing in SS. On 100% of them the threading inside the hole is corroded and wasting away.

The fact is, for the most part climbers dont care. They pretend to care about the environment or the rock, but they will use crap and not worry about it to save a few bucks. I have a friend who puts in dozens of routes every year and he knows that his bolts will wear out. His "need" to put in climbs exceeds his need to put in good gear, so he just does it with plated... saves a few bucks on each bolt so he can put in even more. And I think he is pretty typical.

I'm gonna look into the Rock and Ice deal. That is totally irresponsible.


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By J. Albers
From Colorado
Jun 27, 2012
Bucky

Sam Lightner, Jr. wrote:
When you have only been climbing for a few years, a 20 year lifespan for a bolt seems like a real long time. Its not. Aside from Thailand (which is its own nightmare), I am continually going back to routes i did a couple decades ago with plated steel and replacing in SS. On 100% of them the threading inside the hole is corroded and wasting away. The fact is, for the most part climbers dont care. They pretend to care about the environment or the rock, but they will use crap and not worry about it to save a few bucks. I have a friend who puts in dozens of routes every year and he knows that his bolts will wear out. His "need" to put in climbs exceeds his need to put in good gear, so he just does it with plated... saves a few bucks on each bolt so he can put in even more. And I think he is pretty typical. I'm gonna look into the Rock and Ice deal. That is totally irresponsible.


I totally agree Sam.

A friend of mine has been putting up routes for 30 years (probably more than a 1000 pitches from the Yosemite backcountry to the Iris) and he has used nothing but SS for many years. When I told him about the R&I article, he just shook his head and said exactly what you did "That's really irresponsible of them."

The article is called "Bolts: How to Place Them Right" in the July 2012 issue. The gear guy states "SS costs 2-4 times that of a zinc-plated so you are smart to consider whether you need SS. In relatively dry climates...zinc-plated are fine."

Awesome.


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By bmdhacks
Jul 4, 2012

Can anyone comment on these home-made hangers I found at a crag. They look to be 1/16th inch steel that's been cut with snips and had the rough edges sanded off. I was concerned that a fall would slice through my quickdraw biner.


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By Tim McCabe
Jul 4, 2012

My bet is the hanger breaks first.


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