Forums: Climbing Information: Gear Heads: Re: [USnavy] Just bought a lot of gear. How can I inspect for safety?: Edit Log


Sep 18, 2012, 1:29 PM

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Registered: Aug 30, 2012
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Re: [USnavy] Just bought a lot of gear. How can I inspect for safety?
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USnavy wrote:
climbingaggie03 wrote:
I think there was a climbing accident/fatality several years ago that involved a rope that was unknowingly weakened by exposure to car battery fumes.
It was an injury and it involved a climber who decked in a gym from rope failure. The climber placed the rope on the ground in the parking lot. When the rope was on the ground it came into contact with sulfuric acid on the ground. "Car battery fumes" is mostly just evaporating water and hydrogen. The liquid in automotive batteries is typically a mixture of 30% sulfuric acid and 70% distilled water. Overtime the water in the battery can evaporate, but sulfuric acid does not really evaporate. That is the reason why automotive batteries that are low in electrolytic fluid should be refilled with water, not battery acid. When voltage and current is applied to the battery from the alternator, small hydrogen bubbles are produced in the electrolytic fluid mixture causing a buildup of hydrogen gas in the battery's cells. The hydrogen gas is vented into the atmosphere or filtered through a hydrogen filter. But the hydrogen is not really the problem, it is the sulfuric acid. That is what will weaken a rope and that is what caused the rope failure in the example above. It is for that reason that you should never set your get on anything in the engine bay or on the ground in a parking lot.

I asked my husband about this and he suggested I write the following

Do you have a link for this?
The concentration of sulfuric acid normally found in car batteries is 40% SA to 60% water. in these concentrations sulfuric acid is usually stored in plastic containers, note batteries are made of plastic. However, not all plastics are the same.
Strong concentrations of SA will decompose some grades of plastics, particularly those with high organic or volatile component.
All of this said, there is probably a better chemist in the house than he is. He did though, suggest the decomposition of the rope in the above scenario would more likely to of been caused by a combination of heat (from the engine?) and the sulfur dioxide emitted from the battery whilst being charged. In extreme circumstances this would be far more corrosive than the sulfuric acid.

I suggested we chop up bits of rope and experiment. He said 'no' Unimpressed

(This post was edited by DemolitionRed on Sep 18, 2012, 1:32 PM)

Edit Log:
Post edited by DemolitionRed () on Sep 18, 2012, 1:32 PM

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