Ozone Treatments And Vulcanite

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draco

Junior Member
Dec 27, 2014
78
4
I have seen many comments in here about using ozone generators to sterilize and ghostbust pipes. I actually bought a pipe that had this done as part of the cleanup. I do know from dealing with tires and other rubber based goods that the one thing that is truly bad for the is exposure to ozone!!! Advice such as don't store rubber products near electric motors as they emit small amounts of ozone and will degrade the rubber, etc.
So my question is do those who perform such services put just the stummle in or do they also include the vulcanite/ebonite rubber stem???

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
19,193
3,037
Outer Space
What does ozone do to rubber tires? And, are tires still made out of natural or vulcanized rubber? or some sort of synthetic stuff?

 

draco

Junior Member
Dec 27, 2014
78
4
Tires are vulcanized rubber as our the stems of our pipes. The major difference only being in the softness/hardness. Ozone basically breaks down the rubber and rots it. Ozone is also known as O3 instead of the normal O2 we know as oxygen. As we know oxygen is detrimental to rubber as it slowly oxidizes the compounds in it and that is what causes the sulphur issues we see as oxidized pipe stems. Well O3 is even more powerful as an oxidizer as that extra oxygen atom is just dying to grab hold of something as the O3 is basically unstable. It does so by bonding with the compounds in rubber through oxidation. So basically if oxygen is bad ozone is markedly worse for our rubber based stems.

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
19,193
3,037
Outer Space
Good points. I had no idea. But, I also have never used ozone on any of my pipes. I wonder if some folks have had issues with stems oxidizing really fast after using ozone, and had yet to put 2 and 2 together.
This post just might be an excellent public service announcement for ozone using folks.

 

clickklick

Preferred Member
May 5, 2014
1,671
5
How about you just clean the vulcanite stem, after removing it from the pipe, and then ozone treat just the stummel?

 

draco

Junior Member
Dec 27, 2014
78
4
It was my assumption that professional pipe restorers did just that and processed only the stummel with ozone and the stem separately, but that is an assumption and any hobbyists that might want to try may like to know this. The other issue is that many who smoke at home use air purifiers to help eliminate the smoke in the air for those around them...us smokers enjoy it but not everyone does. The trick is that many of these can use a ozone generating system to help pull the smoke and dust out and any excess ozone could theoretically cause faster oxidation of our rubber based stems!!!
As an aside I guess if you had enough money the best bet for long term storage of our pipes would be in a nitrogen filled container. This would eliminate most if not all deterioration I would think.

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
19,193
3,037
Outer Space
There's always going to be a struggle between nature and nurture of the stems, as well as the briar. Mine get sunlight, left in hot cars, cold cars, balmy 100% humidity, left in the rain, hot tub, fluorescent lighting, etc... I just wipe them down with a polishing cloth after every smoke before racking them, and I've not had an issue. The cloth keeps me from having to buff them, but I'm sure that if I didn't they'd turn green rather fast. But, as it is, they stay nice and shiny for me.

 

jitterbugdude

Preferred Member
Mar 25, 2014
994
2
I have ozoned many things. Vulcanite is not one of them but I'm willing to bet that you will notice absolutely no ill effects from one or two ozone treatments to your vulcanite stem. If I had to guess, I'd say that you could probably ozonate a stem a good dozen or more times with no problems.

 

buroak

Preferred Member
Jul 29, 2014
1,858
0
I know of only one pipe repair outfit that offers ozone treatment, Walker Pipe Repair. Given the fairly long period pipes are subjected to ozone treatment in that shop, my hunch is that only stummels go in the ozone chamber. Ozone would not really have any benefit for stems, only a detrimental effect.

 

skraps

Preferred Member
Sep 9, 2015
790
0
If I had to guess, I'd say that you could probably ozonate a stem a good dozen or more times with no problems.
I have stems that start to oxidize if you look at them funny. I can't imagine that exposing them to an additional oxygen atom as Draco explained above would do any good for them.

 
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