Muc-off cleaner as an ultrasonic bath surfactant?

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
reohn2
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Re: Muc-off cleaner as an ultrasonic bath surfactant?

Post by reohn2 »

Jdsk wrote: 22 Jun 2022, 9:01am
reohn2 wrote: 22 Jun 2022, 8:57amI wouldn't know what ultrasonic bath looks like,perhaps I'm missing something but why the need suddenly for this sort of technical wizardry to clean a bicycle chain?
It's an interesting experiment.
Could be if I could be bothered buying an u/s bath thingie,then test the infinite number of cleaning solutions in it on many chains over many miles to see if it extended their lifespan over many different conditions.
It would take quit a while.....
And, as above, there may be a surprising amount of potentially abrasive crud remaining after using another much-quoted method.

Jonathan
OTOH dropping a dirty chain in a jar of white spirit,with a lid on give it a good shake,repeat if necessary(sometimes needed but not always),give it a wipe with rag and let the WS evaporate fit to a previously cleaned casstte and chainrings,relube,use until it gets dirty again.
BTW you can tell if there's any git remaining in the chain(between plates)by bending and slightly stressing the chain sidways,if it "crackles" it's the grit between moving parts and needs another dunk and shake.I've never needed more than two dunk/shakes to get a thoroughly clean chain.
Last edited by reohn2 on 22 Jun 2022, 9:53am, edited 1 time in total.
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Jdsk
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Re: Muc-off cleaner as an ultrasonic bath surfactant?

Post by Jdsk »

reohn2 wrote: 22 Jun 2022, 9:19am
Jdsk wrote: 22 Jun 2022, 9:01am
reohn2 wrote: 22 Jun 2022, 8:57amI wouldn't know what ultrasonic bath looks like,perhaps I'm missing something but why the need suddenly for this sort of technical wizardry to clean a bicycle chain?
It's an interesting experiment.
Could be if I could be bothered buying an u/s bath thingie,then test the infinite number of cleaning solutions in it on many chains over many miles to see if it extended their mileage over many different conditions.
It would take quit a while.....
It will be much quicker if we share the work and the results of the experiments... as in this thread.

Jonathan
Jdsk
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Re: Muc-off cleaner as an ultrasonic bath surfactant?

Post by Jdsk »

reohn2 wrote: 22 Jun 2022, 9:19amOTOH dropping a dirty chain in a jar of white spirit,with a lid on give it a good shake,repeat if necessary(sometimes needed but not always),give it a wipe with rag and let the WS evaporate fit to a previously cleaned casstte and chainrings,relube,use until it gets dirty again.
BTW you can tell if there's any git remaining in the chain(between plates)by bending and slightly stressing the chain sidways,if it "crackles" it's the grit between moving parts and needs another dunk and shake.I've never needed more than two dunk/shakes to get a thoroughly clean chain.
I wouldn't know, but has anyone previously reported anything along the lines of:
francovendee wrote: 22 Jun 2022, 8:00am I can't comment on Muc-off as a surfactant but thoroughly recommend a decent ultrasonic cleaner. I use a heavy duty cleaner from Screwfix at 5% in mine.
It's fairly easy to get the dirt off the outside of the chain but getting it from inside is harder. The ultrasonic cleaner cavitates bubbles in the smallest of spaces.
I proved how effective it was by trying my old method (thanks MickF) on a chain until it looked very clean. I then put it into the ultrasonic tank and was surprised by how much dirt came out.
I haven't seen that described before.

Jonathan
reohn2
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Re: Muc-off cleaner as an ultrasonic bath surfactant?

Post by reohn2 »

I suppose what I'm trying to say is,how clean is clean or does it need to be?
And what really extends chain life?

the most impressive post on chain life I've seen on the subject was tippo12's on page two of this thread:- viewtopic.php?t=151428&start=15
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Jdsk
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Re: Muc-off cleaner as an ultrasonic bath surfactant?

Post by Jdsk »

I'll have a look.

Jonathan

PS: On this forum you can link to a particular post, eg:
viewtopic.php?p=1698512#p1698512
francovendee
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Re: Muc-off cleaner as an ultrasonic bath surfactant?

Post by francovendee »

Coming from a production medical engineering background I know how effective ultrasonic cleaning is in reaching into small cavities and blind holes.
Initially we used solvents but then moved to surfactants.

Before we went over to ultrasonic cleaners we used a tank with solvent that was warmed and the parts agitated. The value of ultrasonic cleaning was shown when the rep for Branson Ultrasonics left us a tank to try out. We did the same experiment as I did for my chain and saw just how much dirt and oil was left on what we thought of as a clean surgical instrument.

From my experience chains last 50% longer now I use the ultrasonic cleaner and with chains costing a fair bit I've saved the cost of the tank already.
The cleaner you get the chain the longer it will last.
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Cugel
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Re: Muc-off cleaner as an ultrasonic bath surfactant?

Post by Cugel »

francovendee wrote: 22 Jun 2022, 10:34am Coming from a production medical engineering background I know how effective ultrasonic cleaning is in reaching into small cavities and blind holes.
Initially we used solvents but then moved to surfactants.

Before we went over to ultrasonic cleaners we used a tank with solvent that was warmed and the parts agitated. The value of ultrasonic cleaning was shown when the rep for Branson Ultrasonics left us a tank to try out. We did the same experiment as I did for my chain and saw just how much dirt and oil was left on what we thought of as a clean surgical instrument.

From my experience chains last 50% longer now I use the ultrasonic cleaner and with chains costing a fair bit I've saved the cost of the tank already.
The cleaner you get the chain the longer it will last.
Although getting an ultrasonic cleaner is partly just playing with an interesting gubbins, for me, there's also a more function-based motive, which is to discover if US cleaning will extract that last bit of grit from the very deepest innards of the chain.

As I understand it, chain "stretch" is no such thing but a small wearing of each pin in its bushing, which eventually slackens the fit by teeny amounts, with the teeny amounts adding up to a not-so-teeny amount that produces the chain "stretch". The chain "stretch", in turn, applies greater pressure to the faces of the sprockets which it contacts, eventually with just one link pressing most on just one sprocket valley and the rest of the chain-sprocket interfaces behind that leading link-sprocket valley interface slightly slack, because the chain is no longer exactly matched to the chainring. This is what begins to rapidly wear the sprockets.

So far, I've managed to keep a cassette, without enough wear so that a sprocket needs swapping out, over the life of about three chains. And a chain typically lasts me a couple of thousand kilometres, as I do keep them clean a la regular & often shake-in-degreaser method. Mind, I always shake three times with fresh degreaser; and trickle excess thin lubricant such as TF2 down a dried & hanging chain, which drips off the bottom and, significantly, does come off discoloured by further stuff that it washes out of the supposedly clean chain.

********
So, if US cleaning will remove even those last little bits of grit from the most difficult to get at innards (the stuff that shake-in-a-jar seems to leave if one is not prepared to shake N times) then that will hopefully extend the chain life. And the sprocket life. And the chainring life. Have you seen the current price of a Shimano cassette!

I guess that the grit in the deepest innards of the chain (pin-bushing interfaces) is what does the most wear-damage. Is that a reasonable guess, do you think?

*************

I've also bought some Wippermann Connex stainless steel chains, sold as good for the extra wattage of e-bikes but bought by me mostly because they're much more rust resistant than plain steel chains and have the Connex quick link, needing no special tool to put on or take off; and which can be used as many times as you like. This makes chain removal for cleaning quick and easy. Cleaning a chain on the bike just splashes cleaning stuff all over my nice wheel rims and disc brakes, man! And I'm not putting a whole bike in the US cleaner. No.

***********
Yes, it's over-the-top chain cleaning. But as long as one is interested in bike maintenance - because one likes doing it, not just to keep the bike running well - then why not?

Cugel
“Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assaults of thoughts on the unthinking."
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Jdsk
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Re: Muc-off cleaner as an ultrasonic bath surfactant?

Post by Jdsk »

Cugel wrote: 22 Jun 2022, 11:47amAlthough getting an ultrasonic cleaner is partly just playing with an interesting gubbins, for me, there's also a more function-based motive, which is to discover if US cleaning will extract that last bit of grit from the very deepest innards of the chain.
Excellent.
Cugel wrote: 22 Jun 2022, 11:47am I guess that the grit in the deepest innards of the chain (pin-bushing interfaces) is what does the most wear-damage. Is that a reasonable guess, do you think?
I think so. Obviously it would be better to test using wear as the outcome. But using that proxy outcome to quickly discover what techniques remove the grit sounds very sensible. And what's happening in there is a lot more important than external appearance.

Jonathan
reohn2
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Re: Muc-off cleaner as an ultrasonic bath surfactant?

Post by reohn2 »

francovendee wrote: 22 Jun 2022, 10:34am Coming from a production medical engineering background I know how effective ultrasonic cleaning is in reaching into small cavities and blind holes.
Initially we used solvents but then moved to surfactants.

Before we went over to ultrasonic cleaners we used a tank with solvent that was warmed and the parts agitated. The value of ultrasonic cleaning was shown when the rep for Branson Ultrasonics left us a tank to try out. We did the same experiment as I did for my chain and saw just how much dirt and oil was left on what we thought of as a clean surgical instrument.

From my experience chains last 50% longer now I use the ultrasonic cleaner and with chains costing a fair bit I've saved the cost of the tank already.
The cleaner you get the chain the longer it will last.
Thanks,that seems to prove ultrasonic cleaners are worth it for extending chainlife :)
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Cugel
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Re: Muc-off cleaner as an ultrasonic bath surfactant?

Post by Cugel »

reohn2 wrote: 22 Jun 2022, 4:44pm
francovendee wrote: 22 Jun 2022, 10:34am Coming from a production medical engineering background I know how effective ultrasonic cleaning is in reaching into small cavities and blind holes.
Initially we used solvents but then moved to surfactants.

Before we went over to ultrasonic cleaners we used a tank with solvent that was warmed and the parts agitated. The value of ultrasonic cleaning was shown when the rep for Branson Ultrasonics left us a tank to try out. We did the same experiment as I did for my chain and saw just how much dirt and oil was left on what we thought of as a clean surgical instrument.

From my experience chains last 50% longer now I use the ultrasonic cleaner and with chains costing a fair bit I've saved the cost of the tank already.
The cleaner you get the chain the longer it will last.
Thanks,that seems to prove ultrasonic cleaners are worth it for extending chainlife :)
To be frank, I was never that fussed about chain life until the cost of drive train replacement parts started a journey to the stars. When a decent quality chain from Shimano or KMC was ten quid I was content to keep them clean & lubricated but to replace when the least "stretch" began to show on the wee checking tool. But decent chains now cost £20 minimum and something slightly upmarket, with nickel plating and the like, is £30 - 50!

I'm also wary of wearing chain rings and sprockets prematurely, as they too cost a fortune now.

This article impressed me - although I'm always wary that such stuff might be a paid-for puff. Nevertheless, Wipperman chains do have a high reputation. So I bought some of their stainless steel items in the hope that this, plus rigorous cleaning, would see them last far longer, imparting less wear to the chainrings and sprockets. £55 each mind!

https://cyclingtips.com/2020/04/wipperm ... in-review/

And I do like that quick link that needs no tools to take off or put on; and can be used as such as many times as you like, making off-bike chain cleaning a lot easier.

***********
I've put one of the new chains on the new bike this morning and later I'll clean the chain I took off (600km on it) with a US bath as the last stage after doing three shakes in degreaser.

Cugel
“Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assaults of thoughts on the unthinking."
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Stroudy
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Re: Muc-off cleaner as an ultrasonic bath surfactant?

Post by Stroudy »

I use a system of three large 1 Kg Onken yoghurt containers with about 200 ml of heating oil/paraffin at the bottom of each. The chain goes in number one, lid on, shake it up vigorously for about 30 seconds, then put it in number two and repeat, then three and repeat. Each one is cleaner than the last, and then the heating oil gets poured through coffee filters into three other identical containers. The first three containers get wiped clean, ready for the next time. I never pour any of it away, and it all gets re-used. The coffee filters are also re-used in a sequence, until too clogged. Chains last amazingly well, but the big problem for all of us is how to keep them clean DURING the ride. I have extra long mudflaps and a sort-of cowl thingy attached to the side of the rear mudguard that I made from a cut-up milk bottle and some duct tape. It prevents grit from cascding down onto the top run of the chain from the rear wheel. It goes right down past the chainstay and below the bottom run of the chain. Someone needs to invent a chaincase for derailleur bikes!

My other bike has a Gates carbon belt drive, which is amazing. I still have extra long mudflaps and a cowl on that bike, to keep grit off the belt.
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Cugel
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Re: Muc-off cleaner as an ultrasonic bath surfactant?

Post by Cugel »

Stroudy wrote: 23 Jun 2022, 10:21am I use a system of three large 1 Kg Onken yoghurt containers with about 200 ml of heating oil/paraffin at the bottom of each. The chain goes in number one, lid on, shake it up vigorously for about 30 seconds, then put it in number two and repeat, then three and repeat. Each one is cleaner than the last, and then the heating oil gets poured through coffee filters into three other identical containers. The first three containers get wiped clean, ready for the next time. I never pour any of it away, and it all gets re-used. The coffee filters are also re-used in a sequence, until too clogged. Chains last amazingly well, but the big problem for all of us is how to keep them clean DURING the ride. I have extra long mudflaps and a sort-of cowl thingy attached to the side of the rear mudguard that I made from a cut-up milk bottle and some duct tape. It prevents grit from cascding down onto the top run of the chain from the rear wheel. It goes right down past the chainstay and below the bottom run of the chain. Someone needs to invent a chaincase for derailleur bikes!

My other bike has a Gates carbon belt drive, which is amazing. I still have extra long mudflaps and a cowl on that bike, to keep grit off the belt.
Yes, if only someone would invent a chain or lubricant that actively rejected the grit before it gets into the innards. I do read that various hard wax lubricants can do this, with the outer layers of the wax catching the dirt then falling off with it as the wax dries out. But these lubricants seem to require very frequent renewal and don't do so well in the damp ..... ?

I have tried various wax-based lubricants of the sort that come as thin liquids with wax suspended in them, the liquid supposedly penetrating the innards then evaporating to leave the wax. I didn't find them very effective, though, as the wax remaining on the visible surfaces of the chain still picked up dirt, even when the excess was wiped off. This sort of wax didn't seem to harden and drop of with the dirt. Perhaps a different sort of wax and application method is needed. A clean of such a chain also revealed that the innards still seemed to have acquired a lot of grit.

I have been quite impressed with TF2 and GT85 teflon-based lubricants as less likely to pick up dirt in the first place. But, as you mention, dirt can still fall on the chain and presumably get transferred to the innards, even if the outer aspect of the chain still looks clean. I'm going to do the US experiment with a TF2'd chain from the ladywife's bike that she's had on for a good while but still looks very clean, to see how much grit is in there.

A Gates derailleur belt seems unlikely, more's the pity. I suppose the cassettes would have to be about 100mm wide. :-)

Cugel
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Cugel
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Re: Muc-off cleaner as an ultrasonic bath surfactant?

Post by Cugel »

On an orthogonal matter ......

Does the wear of the rollers of a chain matter very much? Some chain "stretch" measuring tools measure just the wear of the pin/bushing interfaces but others also include the measurement of the reduction in diameter of the chain's rollers.

I read that the roller wear doesn't matter, as the rollers roll - i.e. rotate in the valley between the teeth of a chainring or cassette sprocket, rather than rubbing. Is that correct?

Cugel
“Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assaults of thoughts on the unthinking."
John Maynard Keynes
Stroudy
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Re: Muc-off cleaner as an ultrasonic bath surfactant?

Post by Stroudy »

Here's the 'cowl' thingy on the belt-drive bike. I have them on my chain-drive bikes too, plus extra-long mudflaps.

After cleaning my chains as described above, I immerse them in hot candlewax, with 15% heating oil in the liquid, which prevents flaking off when riding.
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Belt Drive.jpg
Stroudy
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Re: Muc-off cleaner as an ultrasonic bath surfactant?

Post by Stroudy »

I thought I'd just show the cowl on the chain-drive bike too (I need to remake it, as it's getting a bit tatty). Here are the three containers, showing the first, second and third coffee filters, with successive levels of cleanliness.
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