Q: The composition of dirt

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by N2vx Jim, Nov 4, 2003.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. N2vx Jim

    N2vx Jim Guest

    I recently switched chain lube from wax to the latest sheep dip named Dumonde. Of course after a
    couple weeks the chain was filthy.

    So I took it off and cleaned it using a solvent in a clear plastic bottle. After the first wash I
    put the used solvent aside for later disposal and repeated the process. It looked very dirty, no
    surprise there. Nothing sank to the bottom so the dirt wasn't sand or dirt.

    I looked a few hours later and it started to settle out. The dirt that I could see almost looked
    like little tiny fibers.

    The question: What is dirt made of? I don't ride offroad so it must be stuff picked up from the air.
    How abrasive is it?

    Thanks, Jim
     
    Tags:


  2. Of course, the answer to this question is also a question. Where do you live and what's in your
    area? If you live in Hawaii or any other volcanic region for example, the ash would be a large
    portion. This may hold true for those living in California as well.

    OK, Not funny.

    Seriously though, "dirt" is basically composed of long eroded rock and mineral, decomposed or
    decomposing plant, animal and man made matter. and a small spattering of cosmic dust thrown in for
    good measure.

    Again, exact ingredients and their ratios are dependent on location.

    "May you have the wind at your back. And a really low gear for the hills!"

    See you on the road. Chris Chris'Z Corner http://www.geocities.com/czcorner
     
  3. Carl Fogel

    Carl Fogel Guest

    "Jim, N2VX" <[email protected].comZZZ> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > I recently switched chain lube from wax to the latest sheep dip named Dumonde. Of course after a
    > couple weeks the chain was filthy.
    >
    > So I took it off and cleaned it using a solvent in a clear plastic bottle. After the first wash I
    > put the used solvent aside for later disposal and repeated the process. It looked very dirty, no
    > surprise there. Nothing sank to the bottom so the dirt wasn't sand or dirt.
    >
    > I looked a few hours later and it started to settle out. The dirt that I could see almost looked
    > like little tiny fibers.
    >
    > The question: What is dirt made of? I don't ride offroad so it must be stuff picked up from the
    > air. How abrasive is it?
    >
    > Thanks, Jim

    Dear Jim,

    It's dirt, for lack of a better word. Your front tire kicks it up in the form of dust as it rolls
    along the dusty, dirty pavement. So does your rear tire, spinning next to the chain. The turbulent
    air from two spoked wheels and your thrashing pedals and the air whooshing around your legs and
    frame helps the dust storm.

    Your chain merrily rolls round and round in a microscopically filthy cloud. If it's oiled, the
    minute crud sticks happily to the oil. If it's waxed, the stuff gets mashed into the wax. If it's
    not lubricated with oil or wax, you're doomed anyway by dry metal-to-metal contact.

    How abrasive is this fdisgusting mess? Depends on your point of view. It eventually ruins all
    chains, but they actually last a hell of a long time if you think about it. It's basically a very
    fine polishing paste with a fair amount of tiny grit mixed into a lot of carrier.

    Clean and oil a chain and your gears, then run the chain through a paper towel, wipe the front chain
    ring off, and set the clean but oily paper towel aside.

    Now ride fifteen miles on the nicest pavement that you can find and wipe the chain and front chain
    ring down again with another paper towel. It will be black, having picked up dust.

    Off-road is worse. Much worse.

    The tiny fibers may in fact be tiny fibers--there's plenty of minutely shredded plant matter on the
    pavement. Think of the fluffy dandelions and disintegrating leaves. The dust particles themselves
    are too small to see with the naked eye.

    If "dirt" isn't a good enough description, try "silica," since a lot of it involves particles ground
    off grains of sand, hard stuff that wears out the inner surfaces of chains.

    Carl Fogel
     
  4. Doug Huffman

    Doug Huffman Guest

    Dirt is tossed onto your chain by the wheels. Dirt is made of small inorganic and organic particles.
    The inorganic particles may be abrasive.

    Why do they stick to your chain? When the particles do stick to your chain then how do they get into
    the load bearing joint?

    "Jim, N2VX" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > I recently switched chain lube from wax to the latest sheep dip named Dumonde. Of course after a
    > couple weeks the chain was filthy.
    >
    > So I took it off and cleaned it using a solvent in a clear plastic bottle. After the first wash I
    > put the used solvent aside for later disposal and repeated the process. It looked very dirty, no
    > surprise there. Nothing sank to the bottom so the dirt wasn't sand or dirt.
    >
    > I looked a few hours later and it started to settle out. The dirt that I could see almost looked
    > like little tiny fibers.
    >
    > The question: What is dirt made of? I don't ride offroad so it must be stuff picked up from the
    > air. How abrasive is it?
    >
    > Thanks, Jim
     
  5. Doug Huffman <[email protected]> wrote:
    : Dirt is tossed onto your chain by the wheels. Dirt is made of small inorganic and organic
    : particles. The inorganic particles may be abrasive.

    lots of poo. don't forget the poo.
    --
    david reuteler [email protected]
     
  6. N2vx Jim

    N2vx Jim Guest

    On 4 Nov 2003 19:19:44 -0800, [email protected] (Carl Fogel) wrote:

    >"Jim, N2VX" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    >news:<[email protected]>...
    >> I recently switched chain lube from wax to the latest sheep dip named Dumonde. Of course after a
    >> couple weeks the chain was filthy.
    >>
    >> So I took it off and cleaned it using a solvent in a clear plastic bottle. After the first wash I
    >> put the used solvent aside for later disposal and repeated the process. It looked very dirty, no
    >> surprise there. Nothing sank to the bottom so the dirt wasn't sand or dirt.
    >>
    >> I looked a few hours later and it started to settle out. The dirt that I could see almost looked
    >> like little tiny fibers.
    >>
    >> The question: What is dirt made of? I don't ride offroad so it must be stuff picked up from the
    >> air. How abrasive is it?
    >>
    >> Thanks, Jim
    >
    >Dear Jim,
    >
    >It's dirt, for lack of a better word. Your front tire kicks it up in the form of dust as it rolls
    >along the dusty, dirty pavement. So does your rear tire, spinning next to the chain. The turbulent
    >air from two spoked wheels and your thrashing pedals and the air whooshing around your legs and
    >frame helps the dust storm.
    >
    >Your chain merrily rolls round and round in a microscopically filthy cloud. If it's oiled, the
    >minute crud sticks happily to the oil. If it's waxed, the stuff gets mashed into the wax. If it's
    >not lubricated with oil or wax, you're doomed anyway by dry metal-to-metal contact.
    >
    >How abrasive is this fdisgusting mess? Depends on your point of view. It eventually ruins all
    >chains, but they actually last a hell of a long time if you think about it. It's basically a very
    >fine polishing paste with a fair amount of tiny grit mixed into a lot of carrier.
    >
    >Clean and oil a chain and your gears, then run the chain through a paper towel, wipe the front
    >chain ring off, and set the clean but oily paper towel aside.
    >
    >Now ride fifteen miles on the nicest pavement that you can find and wipe the chain and front chain
    >ring down again with another paper towel. It will be black, having picked up dust.
    >
    >Off-road is worse. Much worse.
    >
    >The tiny fibers may in fact be tiny fibers--there's plenty of minutely shredded plant matter on the
    >pavement. Think of the fluffy dandelions and disintegrating leaves. The dust particles themselves
    >are too small to see with the naked eye.
    >
    >If "dirt" isn't a good enough description, try "silica," since a lot of it involves particles
    >ground off grains of sand, hard stuff that wears out the inner surfaces of chains.
    >
    >Carl Fogel

    Thanks to Chris and Carl for the replies.

    You are both right, I didn't think too hard about stuff kicked up by the wheels. Roads are always
    dusty and then there's plant-related fluff, too.

    It was funny how the dirt didn't settle out for some time. This time of year there's probably all
    sorts of pulverized plant material in the air.

    The other funny part is how fast a chain gets filthy. It doesn't take long.

    Jim
     
  7. Carl Fogel

    Carl Fogel Guest

    "Jim, N2VX" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > On 4 Nov 2003 19:19:44 -0800, [email protected] (Carl Fogel) wrote:
    >
    > >"Jim, N2VX" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > >news:<[email protected]>...
    > >> I recently switched chain lube from wax to the latest sheep dip named Dumonde. Of course after
    > >> a couple weeks the chain was filthy.
    > >>
    > >> So I took it off and cleaned it using a solvent in a clear plastic bottle. After the first wash
    > >> I put the used solvent aside for later disposal and repeated the process. It looked very dirty,
    > >> no surprise there. Nothing sank to the bottom so the dirt wasn't sand or dirt.
    > >>
    > >> I looked a few hours later and it started to settle out. The dirt that I could see almost
    > >> looked like little tiny fibers.
    > >>
    > >> The question: What is dirt made of? I don't ride offroad so it must be stuff picked up from the
    > >> air. How abrasive is it?
    > >>
    > >> Thanks, Jim
    > >
    > >Dear Jim,
    > >
    > >It's dirt, for lack of a better word. Your front tire kicks it up in the form of dust as it rolls
    > >along the dusty, dirty pavement. So does your rear tire, spinning next to the chain. The
    > >turbulent air from two spoked wheels and your thrashing pedals and the air whooshing around your
    > >legs and frame helps the dust storm.
    > >
    > >Your chain merrily rolls round and round in a microscopically filthy cloud. If it's oiled, the
    > >minute crud sticks happily to the oil. If it's waxed, the stuff gets mashed into the wax. If it's
    > >not lubricated with oil or wax, you're doomed anyway by dry metal-to-metal contact.
    > >
    > >How abrasive is this fdisgusting mess? Depends on your point of view. It eventually ruins all
    > >chains, but they actually last a hell of a long time if you think about it. It's basically a very
    > >fine polishing paste with a fair amount of tiny grit mixed into a lot of carrier.
    > >
    > >Clean and oil a chain and your gears, then run the chain through a paper towel, wipe the front
    > >chain ring off, and set the clean but oily paper towel aside.
    > >
    > >Now ride fifteen miles on the nicest pavement that you can find and wipe the chain and front
    > >chain ring down again with another paper towel. It will be black, having picked up dust.
    > >
    > >Off-road is worse. Much worse.
    > >
    > >The tiny fibers may in fact be tiny fibers--there's plenty of minutely shredded plant matter on
    > >the pavement. Think of the fluffy dandelions and disintegrating leaves. The dust particles
    > >themselves are too small to see with the naked eye.
    > >
    > >If "dirt" isn't a good enough description, try "silica," since a lot of it involves particles
    > >ground off grains of sand, hard stuff that wears out the inner surfaces of chains.
    > >
    > >Carl Fogel
    >
    > Thanks to Chris and Carl for the replies.
    >
    > You are both right, I didn't think too hard about stuff kicked up by the wheels. Roads are always
    > dusty and then there's plant-related fluff, too.
    >
    > It was funny how the dirt didn't settle out for some time. This time of year there's probably all
    > sorts of pulverized plant material in the air.
    >
    > The other funny part is how fast a chain gets filthy. It doesn't take long.
    >
    > Jim

    Dear Jim,

    As for how long it took for the dirt to settle out, keep in mind how tiny the dust particles are.
    A lot of what finally settled is what you can see floating in a beam of sunlight in an otherwise
    dark room.

    The PigPen-like speed at which chains get dirty is due to the oil--instead of most of the dust and
    grime bouncing off a dry surface, every tiny bit of dust that hits an oiled surface is trapped like
    an flea on flypaper.

    This is why some people like wax instead of oil. They reason that the dry wax flakes off in tiny
    layers, continually presenting clean surfaces, and doesn't even trap dust like oil in the first
    place. Nor does wax carry outer but harmless grime into the out-of-sight working parts of the chain,
    which oil tends to do.

    Unfortunately, the inability of wax to flow in and out under varying pressure like oil is a serious
    drawback in terms of lubrication. The inner surfaces of oiled chains pretty much stay oiled, but
    with increasingly filthy oil. Once the wax has been squeezed, worn, flaked, or otherwise forced out
    from between two metal surfaces, it's gone and they squeak and grind.

    (This is a petrochemical abuser's quick summary of a perennial lubrication debate. Again, from a
    practical point of view, chains last a hell of a long time, no matter how you maintain them, when
    you remember the abuse that they endure.)

    As always, you can get better information in the FAQ:

    http://www.faqs.org/faqs/bicycles-faq/part3/

    (chains start at 8d or so)

    or at Sheldon Brown's web site:

    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/glossary-c.html

    (which is always worth wandering around in)

    Time to clean my chain.

    Carl Fogel
     
  8. On 05 Nov 2003 16:15:49 GMT, David Reuteler <[email protected]> wrote:

    >Doug Huffman <[email protected]> wrote:
    >: Dirt is tossed onto your chain by the wheels. Dirt is made of small inorganic and organic
    >: particles. The inorganic particles may be abrasive.
    >
    >lots of poo. don't forget the poo.

    Yeah, but that's not particularly abrasive so no need to worry on that score.

    Jasper
     
  9. G.Daniels

    G.Daniels Guest

    dirts outasight-search "soil, soil analysis, soil science, tech," ect fibers??? sinking???
    absbestos, fiberglass??
     
  10. On 5 Nov 2003 22:51:21 -0800, [email protected] (Carl Fogel) wrote:

    >(This is a petrochemical abuser's quick summary of a perennial lubrication debate. Again, from a
    >practical point of view, chains last a hell of a long time, no matter how you maintain them, when
    >you remember the abuse that they endure.)

    Indeed. I took off the chaincase from my clunker the other day for the first time, as the crank
    needed to be replaced (stupid thing broke at the pedal eye), and the chain turned out to be rusty
    and squeaky. Seems someone forgot to apply petrochemicals while refurbishing it in the
    secondhandstore. Still no visible wear on chainring & cog, though. 'Course, abusing a chain by
    running it through derailers and exposing it to the open air helps a *lot* in that wear equation.

    Jasper
     
Loading...
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
Loading...