Sciencemadness Discussion Board

Obtaining cheap NaOH and KOH in the US

Scratch- - 22-2-2005 at 15:06

Hello, I'm new to these forums. I am very interested in chemistry, unfortunatly I have very little funding for my experiments. I get about $40 a month that I can use for chemistry. I would like to make and ampoule a liquid NaK alloy for display. Does anyone know someplace that sells dirt cheap 99+% NaOH and KOH to the US?

Magpie - 22-2-2005 at 18:50

Try the search function on this forum.

I have found Red Devil Lye (NaOH) at Safeway for $4.50/lb.

I've seen 35% KOH available as a beer line cleaner for $7.50/lb. Those selling soft soap making supplies should also have it.

BromicAcid - 22-2-2005 at 19:35

Yes, liquid soap manufacturing uses potassium hydroxide rather then sodium hydroxide, try eBay, but I've seen it in some hobby shops. You're in luck since you want to make the alloy in that it's easier to make in some ways then either sodium or potassium alone, i.e., electrolysis of the mixed hydroxide gives the alloy with a melting point around 180C which is very low in my opinion for electrolysis of an ionic compound, however... and this is a big however.... sodium potassium alloys at room temperature are rediculously reactive, how to deal with at high temperature, I mean, it can be done, expecially since it might well be a liquid at STP depending on the ratio and may be pipetable off the top. Never the less, best of luck. Oh, and electrolysis of molten KOH/NaOH, that would be an advanced experiment with more hazards then I care to list here.

Reverend Necroticus Rex - 22-2-2005 at 21:12

I don't think it could be done without inert gas shielding, which I know Scratch plans to use, or perhaps forming the alloy in a closed vessel of some sort.

I intend to try this myself when I have the space to perform the electrolysis in, but I can't seem to find the argon in the UK, I have been into all the local welding shops, and none of them seem to sell it:(

BTW Scratch, this is my username here, in case you didn't guess;)

[Edited on 23-2-2005 by Reverend Necroticus Rex]

BromicAcid - 22-2-2005 at 21:45

Gas shielding....?

At 180 C you can get away with a layer of mineral oil on top, you just need to put a ring of some inert material around the very top of the anode, just to stop the mineral oil floating on top from coming into contact with it. It is my experience that this is a bad thing. Anodic oxidation in molten hydroxide electrolysis is nothing to scoff at, it eats organics like no-one's buisness.

Process for producing alkali metals in elemental form

Eclectic - 23-2-2005 at 10:07

Scratch- - 23-2-2005 at 12:38

I was going to do the electrolysis seperatly and then combine them so they have the least amount of time to oxidise before I ampoule them.

Will an e-seller do?

UpNatom - 23-2-2005 at 12:59

That's strange Rev, that you can't find argon.
Anyway you can now

Scratch- - 23-2-2005 at 13:51

Heres what im planning on doing: