Author Topic: benzene alternative  (Read 1060 times)

richardHaw

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benzene alternative
« on: June 27, 2018, 03:56:50 »
Hello, anybody know if cyclohexine or toluene are good alternatives to cleaning and thinning oil for camera repair?  :o :o :o

currently thinking of safer solvents to use. Thanks

beryllium10

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Re: benzene alternative
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2018, 06:58:45 »
Wikipedia confirms that toluene is safer than benzene and often used as a substitute (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toluene), but I'd think cyclohexane would safer still.  The latter is a cyclo-alkane, whereas toluene is a benzene ring with a methyl group stuck on.  You might also consider regular hexane (maybe sold as n-hexane), which is a good general-purpose solvent for oils, fats, greases, etc.  Of course they're all highly flammable and prolonged skin contact or inhalation will cause chronic health effects, so use carefully!

Cheers,  John 

richardHaw

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Re: benzene alternative
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2018, 11:26:36 »
Wikipedia confirms that toluene is safer than benzene and often used as a substitute (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toluene), but I'd think cyclohexane would safer still.  The latter is a cyclo-alkane, whereas toluene is a benzene ring with a methyl group stuck on.  You might also consider regular hexane (maybe sold as n-hexane), which is a good general-purpose solvent for oils, fats, greases, etc.  Of course they're all highly flammable and prolonged skin contact or inhalation will cause chronic health effects, so use carefully!

Cheers,  John

thanks, John! what about for use with oil dilution?  :o :o :o

beryllium10

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Re: benzene alternative
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2018, 15:40:29 »
> what about for use with oil dilution?
All three will likely work, but others may have actual experience.  The hexanes are good non-polar solvents so should dissolve into various oils and thin or dilute them.  But I'd also expect any solvent used as a thinner to evaporate away over time and leave the oil at its original viscosity.  Don't know if that would be a problem or a benefit for what you're trying to do - probably a good way to get oil into narrow openings or between closely-fitting parts.  Sounds like what a penetrating oil, such as WD-40, is designed to do.  Good luck!

richardHaw

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Re: benzene alternative
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2018, 16:41:23 »
> what about for use with oil dilution?
All three will likely work, but others may have actual experience.  The hexanes are good non-polar solvents so should dissolve into various oils and thin or dilute them.  But I'd also expect any solvent used as a thinner to evaporate away over time and leave the oil at its original viscosity.  Don't know if that would be a problem or a benefit for what you're trying to do - probably a good way to get oil into narrow openings or between closely-fitting parts.  Sounds like what a penetrating oil, such as WD-40, is designed to do.  Good luck!
thanks, that's exactly what I use benzene for. i dilute the oil a bit so it will not be too thick to get into where ever it needs to be  :o :o :o

OK, now that you mentioned it I may order a tank of cyclohexane for cleaning helicoids and cameras. toluene stinks too much for my taste.  ::)

Matthew Currie

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Re: benzene alternative
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2018, 22:08:17 »
I notice you're referring to "benzene" rather than "benzine."  Here in the US, I don't know of any common sources for benzene, which is nasty stuff, but benzine with an "i" is different,  basically some variant of white gasoline, lighter fluid, Coleman fuel, etc., and pretty benign.  It's what fire eaters use.  Things might be different esewhere, but I think if I were looking in the US for a relatively non-hazardous petroleum solvent in quantities greater than a can of Ronsonol, I'd check out camping supply stores for stove fuel.  Toluene is a benzene with the "e" derivative, and seems to have many of the same risks.

PS.  It occurs to me to wonder whether "water white" kerosene might be an alternative too.  Some sewing machines (old Elnas come to mind) specify kerosene as a lubricant for the rotating shuttles, where even the thinnest oil is too oily. It certainly will mix with oil and thin it, though I don't know if it would be thin enough.  Here in the US, it can be hard to find kerosene that has not been adulterated, either with aromatics for lamps, or with dye to indicate the non-payment of highway taxes, but it can be found.

JCDowdy

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Re: benzene alternative
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2018, 00:04:42 »
Automotive aerosol brake cleaner contains heptane and toluene. 
I buy the non-chlorinated from my local Autozone https://www.autozone.com/brake-and-power-steering-fluid-additives/brake-cleaner/autozone-non-chlorinated-brake-cleaner/8130_0_0#
John C. Dowdy, Ph.D.

richardHaw

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Re: benzene alternative
« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2018, 03:00:17 »
I notice you're referring to "benzene" rather than "benzine."  Here in the US, I don't know of any common sources for benzene, which is nasty stuff, but benzine with an "i" is different,  basically some variant of white gasoline, lighter fluid, Coleman fuel, etc., and pretty benign.  It's what fire eaters use.  Things might be different esewhere, but I think if I were looking in the US for a relatively non-hazardous petroleum solvent in quantities greater than a can of Ronsonol, I'd check out camping supply stores for stove fuel.  Toluene is a benzene with the "e" derivative, and seems to have many of the same risks.

PS.  It occurs to me to wonder whether "water white" kerosene might be an alternative too.  Some sewing machines (old Elnas come to mind) specify kerosene as a lubricant for the rotating shuttles, where even the thinnest oil is too oily. It certainly will mix with oil and thin it, though I don't know if it would be thin enough.  Here in the US, it can be hard to find kerosene that has not been adulterated, either with aromatics for lamps, or with dye to indicate the non-payment of highway taxes, but it can be found.

OK, it didn't occur to me to read the label and it said 60% n-hexane  :o :o :o

n-hexane is a hazardous chemical as well, i believe this is the same as benzine? damn, if only theres a safe nonpolar solvent available then i would buy it asap!

richardHaw

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Re: benzene alternative
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2018, 03:01:08 »
Automotive aerosol brake cleaner contains heptane and toluene. 
I buy the non-chlorinated from my local Autozone https://www.autozone.com/brake-and-power-steering-fluid-additives/brake-cleaner/autozone-non-chlorinated-brake-cleaner/8130_0_0#
thanks, that looks handy for flushing old cameras  :o :o :o

Matthew Currie

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Re: benzene alternative
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2018, 04:21:02 »
Be careful with brake cleaners.  The Autozone stuff seems to be a new type, and is mostly acetone and heptane, but older brake cleaners contained very hazardous ingredients and were one of the nastiest things around, so it''s best to make sure what you're getting.  This is definitely not something you should fetch out of the back of the garage, but should get fresh.

Coleman fuel still looks pretty good too, as does Ronsonol.  The term "benzine" seems too variable to be trusted,  and although it often means naphtha, it doesn't always.

If in doubt about what's in something, you can Google "something MSDS" and it should cough up the official hazard warnings.

richardHaw

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Re: benzene alternative
« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2018, 04:28:37 »
i was looking for MSDS at the label and I didn't see anything this morning, odd... :o :o :o

the only thing they're willing to say is that it's n-hexane (60%) which isn't saying a lot. I guess this is still better than the real thing (benzene)  ::)

pluton

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Re: benzene alternative
« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2018, 18:56:20 »
Be careful with brake cleaners.  The Autozone stuff seems to be a new type, and is mostly acetone and heptane, but older brake cleaners contained very hazardous ingredients and were one of the nastiest things around, so it''s best to make sure what you're getting.  This is definitely not something you should fetch out of the back of the garage, but should get fresh.

Coleman fuel still looks pretty good too, as does Ronsonol.  The term "benzine" seems too variable to be trusted,  and although it often means naphtha, it doesn't always.

If in doubt about what's in something, you can Google "something MSDS" and it should cough up the official hazard warnings.
In the USA, many cleaning and lubrication products have recently been reformulated to reduce air pollution.  Acetone is showing up in many products as one of the 'new' ingredients.
Be careful with acetone around plastics.  Acetone will dissolve ("melt") many/most thermoset plastics, including polycarbonate, epoxy, styrene, ABS. ABS and polycarbonate are common in newer cameras and lenses.
Keith B., Santa Monica, CA, USA

richardHaw

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Re: benzene alternative
« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2018, 00:58:19 »
In the USA, many cleaning and lubrication products have recently been reformulated to reduce air pollution.  Acetone is showing up in many products as one of the 'new' ingredients.
Be careful with acetone around plastics.  Acetone will dissolve ("melt") many/most thermoset plastics, including polycarbonate, epoxy, styrene, ABS. ABS and polycarbonate are common in newer cameras and lenses.

true. acetone will craze and bleach many plastics.  :o :o :o
that's why i mentioned it in my recent repair article.
its an active ingredient in MEK, one of the most aggressive solvents that I know