Sciencemadness Discussion Board

Sources of Conc. H2SO4 in the United Kingdom (England)

HeliumPersulphate! - 20-10-2008 at 10:13

I have been searching for some conc. H2SO4, but no luck so far. I understand that it is sold as an impure 90-96% strength drain cleaner or drain opener. Could anyone name some brands? (I reside in the UK, by the way).
Has anyone tried the 'Bullitt' brand?
A lot of these H2SO4-based drain openers contain dyes and additives. I was wondering if it is possible to remove these impurities with activated charcoal? Obviously, filtration through cellulosic media such as filter paper is out of the question! The problem is that I do not have access to distillation at the moment (I have yet to acquire the glassware).
Are there any UK brands of conc. H2SO4-based drain opener that do not contain additives or dyes? As an individual, would it be easy for me to acquire 'professional' grade drain opener, or even reagent/technical grade conc. H2SO4 from a chemical company?

[Edited on 20-10-2008 by HeliumPersulphate!]

Jor - 20-10-2008 at 11:00

I do know a UK-source of chemicals, but I can't order from, it, I live in the Netherlands.

Picric-A - 20-10-2008 at 11:20

I use Wilkinsons own brand drain opener.
The only impurity is a dye which des it red. To remove this like a couple of drops of H2O2 can be added to oxidise it away.
If A.R grade is needed you could always distill it...
Uptill now i have had no problems with it though...

Formatik - 20-10-2008 at 13:21

I'd never recommend drain cleaners as an H2SO4 source. I had one, that just to clear it up I had to use a very large amount of conc. H2O2 to clear it up, so much so it wasn't worth purifying. After the H2O2 treatment and boiling, it was not entirely colorless.

But if you must, never get anything that at the least specifically doesn't say "concentrated sulfuric acid" on it. Because then there is definetly other junk (dyes, foaming agents, carbon, &c.) in there.

For filtering you could try some glass fibers, but I have some doubts if this will work.

H2SO4 is the master chemical, so it's not hard to get from a supplier. But it will be significantly more expensive than drain cleaner.

Nick F - 21-10-2008 at 06:00

I use "One Shot", available at B&Q. It's purple, but has never caused me problems.

Picric-A - 21-10-2008 at 07:55

Distillation of wilkinsons 'Drain opener' yield a extremly small amount of solid residue, being mostly dye, indicating contamination is small. Even then i always distill it if the requirement needs fairly pure H2SO4, otherwise i use it as it is, eg, for making SO2 from Cu + H2SO4...
After finding a source who sells it for £6.99 for 98% pure one litre i dont buy wilkinsons drain opener as even that cost £5.99 for 1L :O

panziandi - 21-10-2008 at 13:38

Indeed LP sells alot of chemicals to the public in the UK and are very cheap. I used to use some drain cleaner years ago before buying it from LP! Some drain unblockers seemed better than others one was red when I got it, another was very slightly tanned. Both yielded a thin oil film on top of water when it was diluted. The diluted acid also had a faint smell. I never used diluted drain unblocker ever I always purchased dilute sulphuric acid form my local chemist.