Sciencemadness Discussion Board

Electrolisys Production of NITRIC ACID, Hydrogen Perocide, & MORE!

quicksilver - 20-5-2010 at 14:17

Since we have explored the production of CHLORATES, I have come upon older literature to produce high grade Niric Acid, Hydrogen peroxide, per-sulfates, and a great deal more chemicals than previously thought. The good news is that anodes and cathodes may be made of MUCH more common materials than MMO, Ti or other metals difficult to find or buy! What are used is copper, graphite, iron, etc. This is wonderful news.
Additionally in every good situation there exists a challenge. The techniques generally require much higher current levels than would function with chlorate. But that is no great obstinacy.

I am posting a book that should be studied may any who have interest in the above synthesis. I hope you all enjoy it and find practical use for the techniques therein

Attachment: the_manufacture_of_chemicals_by_electrolysis.pdf (825kB)
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stygian - 20-5-2010 at 17:25

I am quite sure this is in the forum library already.

Sedit - 20-5-2010 at 19:59

I know its on my site and it was posted over at thevespiary sometime ago, I can assure you this book is pretty cool. If its the one im thinking about it talks about producing Nitrites and HNO3 from peat moss under electrolysis.....peat moss for christ sake how cool is that.

Don't know how cost effective it turns out in the end but its still pretty damn neat to have another mineral acid from nature without the use of H2SO4.

quicksilver - 22-5-2010 at 07:29

Whether or not it existed up in the library here or elsewhere isn't a big deal. But that the methods may be able to be utilized more effectively certainly is. We have (many of us) explored Electrolysis to a degree well enough to take advantage of the techniques therein and make them function. I, for one, am going to do what I can with this material as it poses a great opportunity.
I have made several pounds of chlorate, etc and have available some damn good power supplies. If there is a remote chance that there is a technique for making 1.50 or better HNO3 in bulk; that should certainly be a worthy goal. I have little use for high percentage hydrogen peroxide but there are a great many people who would consider HMTD if they could get yields of decent capacity with 30% hydrogen peroxide.

densest - 23-5-2010 at 10:30

I -think- the peat moss -> NO3 procedure looks a lot like the NH4 -> NO3 by bacterial oxidation on peat moss in the French paper from 1900 or so (just pre-Haber process). If someone ever tries this, it would be very interesting to see if glass wool, asbestos, or other non-biological support media could be used. I didn't see anything (please correct me if I misread) which showed any way to replace the nitrogen as it is drawn off as nitrate. Using a bale of peat moss to get 10 ml of acid would be cumbersome and expensive in effort even if the moss and electricity were free. Figuring out if it is a bulk or electrode-surface effect would be interesting - an electrode-surface reaction might lend itself to a much smaller cell. Another question would be whether the oxygen comes from the water or the atmosphere - is hydrogen liberated? What is the optimum pH and the change of pH in operation?

So much to play with and so little time & space & money :mad:

quicksilver - 24-5-2010 at 06:43

If it was bacteria; it would (logically) only be a very mild starting agenda as the level of acidic percentage would break down any organic tissue at a certain point. I believe that H is liberated but in amounts MUCH smaller than we would see w/ chlorate, etc. I believe that O is liberated at high levels. Superficially I see the peat moss as a jump start mechanism, but I may be quite wrong. What I was thinking is that the electrolysis of nitrates (by themselves) reach a certain point and remain flat. But IF the electrolysis is "jump started" over that level it may continue to a much higher percentage.
When using electrolysis on a solution of CAN to see what degree of separation I could affect the nitrates [from the clay & binders], I noticed that within a very short span of time (10 min @ 30 amps) the solution began to yellow & became extremely acidic to litmus. Used were stainless steel anode & cathode. At another point I tried stainless and graphite.
To digress here; the separation (of Calcium Ammonium nitrates from binders) using electrolysis does work quite well. I do not believe that any additive cheap enough to be financially feasible added to ammonium nitrate (to make it unusable) cannot be overcome in some way.

not_important - 24-5-2010 at 07:50

It is a bacterial ammonia to nitrate oxidation.

I think you are overlooking a very important aspect of the HNO3 entry:
The peat deposits are treated in situ by electrolysis

that is you dig pits in the peat bog, use wood stakes to hold the peat in place, and bury the anode pots with limestone in those pits. The important chemistry is taking place out in the peat bog, which is the source of the nitrate. A bale of peat moss wont do much, it doesn't have the active microbial community and lacks the sources of decaying organic matter and combined nitrogen input from nictrogen fixing blue-green algae.

So unless you happen to live on the edge of a peat bug, this method is not likely to be very useful.

Now, if you could come up with an electrochemical oxidation of NH3/NH4(+) to NO3(-), you might have something useful.

quicksilver - 24-5-2010 at 10:18

I read and re-read that & believe you're correct.....I supposed I wanted it to be more than was there; it's somewhat confusing. Why not just start with a solid nitrate, etc? I thought the author meant to achieve some substantial acid. {But yet, how could this be and not destroy the organism?} Therefore I thought it was a "jump-start" of a electrolysis process to bring the production of acid to a certain strength.
I think I may just attempt to develop an electrolysis cell with a nitrate, allow for a lengthy period at moderate current and measure. The "what if's" in this are too attractive not to experiment.

:D I wonder if there WERE acid plants on the edge of peat bogs? :D

hissingnoise - 24-5-2010 at 10:45

If the Nodon Process worked as the book said it did, peatlands would at some time, have become industrialised for the production of HNO3. . .
And AFAIK, it isn't possible to produce HNO3 by electrolysis of inorganic nitrates.
We're stuck with H2SO4/KNO3 distillation for HNO3, I guess!

Bikemaster - 24-5-2010 at 12:57

I am not sure that it is impossible, in the lead dioxide plating process we produce nitric acid. ..

Contrabasso - 24-5-2010 at 13:27

IMO The peat bog when live will be a natural nitrogen fixing reaction like some other in-soil reaction systems. Now if electrolysis will assist in concentrating this then so much the better. I suspect that it will not be 70% nitric that is the product!!

bdgackle - 26-5-2010 at 13:56

This process is the same as that used by aquarium hobbiests to convert ammonia to nitrate in their filters.

In this setting, inert media is often used. The bacteria in question is aerobic. The key to an effective filter is high surface area and high flow of oxygenated water. If I recall correctly, the species that do the nitrogen fixing are relatively slow growing -- they can double in population about every 14 hours. There are actually two species -- one gets you from ammonia to nitrite, and the next from nitrite to nitrate.

Concentrations are low. In a healthy aquarium, levels of ammonia and nitrite are well under 5ppm. Nitrates can get into the several hundred ppm before the fish start to suffer. Basically, the bacteria breeds until it matches the ammonia output of the fish in the tank. Sudden changes in population cause a brief spike in ammonia concentration, followed by one in nitrite concentration.

Good sources of the bacteria would be a sample of healthy aquarium filter media. The root nodules of legume plants also contain the correct bateria (clover, beans, etc).

Chapter 2 of "Industrial nitrogen compounds and explosives" in the library (Martin?) discusses this process as a replacement for the then dwindling supplies of Chile saltpetre. The experiment there claimed 6.5kg calcium nitrate in 24 hours from 1 cubic meter of peat. Doesn't sound like this particular experiemnt was "in situ", but I have only read the excerpt from the paper printed in the above book.

I think a similar process could be tried flowing aerated water through modern aquarium media after innoculating from an aquarium or legume plants. Pet stores contain test kits suitable for monitoring ppm levels of ammonia, nitrite and nitrate to verify bacteria action.

If we found the optimum temperature and ammonia concentration, I think we'd have ourselves an unlimited nitrate supply.

All this has exactly nothing to do with nitric by electrolysis, but hopefully sheds some light on the peat bog discussion.