Sciencemadness Discussion Board

Sodium Acetate fun

Hopeless - 1-7-2007 at 21:23

HI Ya,

i was looking into way s of making Sodium Acetate @ home for fun i came across the wiki Sodium Acetate from sodium bicarbonate and vinegar

then i found this one while googling..
Vinegar + sodium hydroxide

I wonder what is the difference between the two? i am away from home and can't do both experiments...

also check this cool experement out!!

wow! neat.

bereal511 - 1-7-2007 at 21:25

If you value your money, sodium hydroxide is relatively more expensive than sodium bicarbonate.

Otherwise, essentially nothing if you just want sodium acetate. Both are bases, just sodium hydroxide is significantly more toxic and caustic.

chemkid - 2-7-2007 at 14:11

Make your life a lot easier - use sodium bicarbonate.

Sodium hydroxide is often a pain in the neck to find and is also very caustic. Therfore you need googles, glassware etc etc. to make sodium acetate rom it.

Further more, start off using only a little bit of sodium bicarbonate and add vinegar until it stops reacting because the vinegar is only 5 percent acetic acid. After everything has reacted (the whole thing is neturaul/no more bubbles) there there should be sodium acetate in the bottom of the contianer. Try to get it to dissolve by stirring. If it doesn't disolve that is a good sign. Now use this solution to do as is done in the movie.

Hopeless - 2-7-2007 at 19:10

bereal511 thanks I was thinking NaoH was a bit toxic in making the Sodium Acetate

p.s. thanks chemkid for the tip.. :)

pantone159 - 2-7-2007 at 19:50

I used Na bicarbonate and acetic acid, with just a little more than a 1:1 molar ratio of acetic acid:Na bicarbonate, then evaporated to dryness, so the excess acetic acid evaporated away.

No need for NaOH unless it is somehow more convenient for you, it is a lot more hazardous.

16MillionEyes - 13-7-2007 at 08:05

Does anyone have any idea why a solution of sodium acetate turns yellow when heated for a long period of time (to isolate crystals)?

Darkblade48 - 13-7-2007 at 15:20

The discolouration might simply be due to impurities in either of the chemicals you started off with.

16MillionEyes - 14-7-2007 at 07:42

Well, when they are first dissolved in room temperature water the solution remains clear but when heat is applied for some period of time the solution turns yellow. I've also isolated the crystals by freezing and the solution remains clear and crystals white so it must mean the heat is doing something to the solution. What kind of impurities might cause the change in color anyway? Preservatives?

Cesium Fluoride - 14-7-2007 at 22:13

I was making some sodium acetate today and I got the yellow color once the solution became concentrated. I then continued to boil it down and obtained a tan paste. However, I found it interesting that when I dried this in an oven, it turned into an almost perfectly white powder, which looks a lot more pure. I always thought the discoloration was due to organic impurities in the vinegar (because it's produced from fermentation), but now I'm not so sure.

kaviaari - 14-7-2007 at 23:18

And you can of course recrystallize the sodium acetate from water in order to get rid of nearly all the impurities. Neat, tidy and easy.

[Edited on 15-7-2007 by kaviaari]

16MillionEyes - 15-7-2007 at 06:46

It certainly does turn white. I think this is due to the formation of the anhydrous form of the sodium acetate as the same tan powder was heated for a period of time. My sample turned whiter when I did this but since I was doing it on a stove it isn't as easy to keep it from "popping" while being heated so I got the anhydrous form partially.
I believe the yellow color must come from the impurities in the vinegar, whatever they might be.