Epoxy and brewing...

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tireater

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I am trying to build an all grain MLT...
I have used epoxy for a lot of things...Is there any reason not to use it in a MLT or any cooler...?
Why can't you just epoxy a nipple in the wall ...where you want it and epoxy over what you don't wan't...
I use alot of Simpson Strong Tie and it is good to over 400 deg and finishes nice...Thanks for the replys...
 

Catt22

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To properly answer your question, one would need to know the specifics of each epoxy you might be using. Even then, one would probably need to run a bunch of lab tests and such to be sure.

I have been able to add a spigot to one cooler and one kettle using home gathered fittings for no-weld installations and have not found it necessary to use any kind of epoxy or sealant. O-rings form the seals and the rest is simply drilling the correct size holes with the proper tools. It's not hard to do at all. Some familiarity with common plumbing fittings is all you need and that can be gained on the fly if necessary.
 
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tireater

tireater

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I am very familar with plumbing...I used to plumb diving bells and chambers...I have also done several houses...
I sure I can go to home cheapo and do it with o rings and stuff...It is about as simple as it gets...
It just seemed cleaner with epoxy...I think I saw one MLT that had a fiber washer inside it...How do you clean that?
 

Sawdustguy

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I don't think the issue is wether it is a clean way of doing things or not. The issue is wether the epoxy will get soft at temperatures up to 190*F or so and if it will release toxins or nasties into your mash. Before you set out and use epoxy I would check and see if there are any toxins in it, how it behaves at temperatures up to 190*F and does it color the taste of the beer. It is not as straight forward as "will epoxy work"?
 
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tireater

tireater

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After it dries in 8 hours...you can drill and tap this epoxy...It is very hard and high temp...
It seems like a small filet around a pipe nipple in 5 gal or 10 gal cooler has almost no surface area...
Is this like the #7 bottle thing...My friend uses them all the time and I can't tell in his beer....
It seems like a nipple and a hose barb is more sano and understandable than a valve coming out of the first cooler...
Why would a valve lead to another valve...?
On the MLT...you could epoxy a small piece of tube in the center of the lid...KISS and it does not touch the wart...
 

Catt22

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There is also the problem of getting epoxies and adhesives to stick to the polyethylene cooler shells. It's almost like teflon in that regard. The fiber washer shouldn't be a problem as it is only exposed pre-boil so there shouldn't be a big concern about it harboring bacteria and it can be cleaned normally as the MT itself is cleaned. I would not use a fiber washer inside a fermenter though.
 
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tireater

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Good points...I am still trying to figure out all this stuff...The epoxy will stick to pcv forever...but some plastic is slippery...
What is the difference between pvc and cpvc...Thanks
 

Sawdustguy

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Chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC) is a thermoplastic produced by chlorination of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resin. Uses include hot and cold water pipe, and industrial liquid handling.

Polyvinyl chloride is produced by polymerization of the monomer vinyl chloride (VCM), as shown. Since about 57% of its mass is chlorine, creating a given mass of PVC requires less petroleum than many other polymers. It can be made softer and more flexible by the addition of plasticizers, the most widely-used being phthalates. In this form, it is used in clothing and upholstery, and to make flexible hoses and tubing, flooring, to roofing membranes, and electrical cable insulation. It is also commonly used in figurines and in inflatable products such as waterbeds, pool toys or jump houses.

[Rant On]
I am not a fan of CPVC or PVC. PVC (polyvinyl chloride) plastic is manufacturered with poisonous chemicals such as mercury, dioxins, and phthalates, which may cause cancer and harm the immune and reproductive systems.
[Rant Off]

I have no PVC pipe in my home. Use at your own risk. To each his own.
 

Catt22

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Good points...I am still trying to figure out all this stuff...The epoxy will stick to pcv forever...but some plastic is slippery...
What is the difference between pvc and cpvc...Thanks
I do not share the same concerns about the use pvc or cpvc. I use some cpvc in my system, but no pvc except some that does not contact the beer.

My point about possible problems with adhesion of epoxy or sealers to polyethylene was in regard to the material the coolers are made from. I think most of it is polyethylene (PE). PE is very slippery stuff and there are only a few things that will adhere to it and those are rather rare and expensive. I found this out when trying to find something to glue sheets of PE together for another project. Maybe coolers are made from a different material, but it sure looks like PE to me. Even solvents don't touch it so it cannot be solvent welded like pvc, at least not with commonly available solvents. Even pvc cement won't stick to it. You could test this easily on the bottom of the cooler or other inconspicuous spot.
 

rcm_rx7

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I was able to get cpvc cement to adhere to it for my cooler mlt. And some epoxies such as JB weld are advertised as non-toxic...I don't think it would bother me to use it, but some are more paranoid
 

ChemE

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I'm the technical service manager for an industrial epoxy manufacturer and there is no way I would use our products in my MLT and I damn sure wouldn't use JB Weld which is utter crap. You need to find a product which is FDA approved for direct food contact with hot liquids. Epoxies have phthalates to plasticize them which are not good for you to eat. Besides that many many epoxies have pigments which can and do leach heavy metals readily into water. Ours leach small amounts of lead, arsenic, cadmium, mercury, and chromium just to name a few.

Would you get sick or die from an epoxy in your MLT? Almost certainly not. Is it worth the very slight risk? To me its not. Let me know if you have any other questions about epoxy adhesives though. This is a subject I'm fairly expert in.

Kind regards,
ChemE
 

HomebrewJeff

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As ChemE said, something rated for food contact is really what you should be looking for. Many of the items we homebrewers use in brewing are used differently than they were originally intended or rated for.

I see many people looking to use PVC pipe in a mashtun, because it's safe for "hot water", but the pH of the mash is significantly lower than regular water, and I believe there is a serious concern of leeching chemicals.

Same thing for copper. It's safe for hot/cold water, and can/should be used pre-fermentation. However, it's NOT safe for fermented beer.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that there are many things that you will find that "will work". However, unless it specifically safe for our application, you are taking a risk. Not just to yourself either, but anyone who ends up drinking you beer. It's not worth it, IMO.
 
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