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Author: Subject: Fun with wool?? Ideas???
j_sum1
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[*] posted on 3-10-2023 at 01:56
Fun with wool?? Ideas???


A few cool things to do with cellulose: flash paper, gun cotton, dissolve in concentrated copper sulfate, make rayon... My next adventure will be to make different coloured flashpapers by neutralising using different carbonates.

I have some well-loved old merino wool t shirts. I was wondering if there were some interesting similar kinds of things beginning with a protein based fibre. Has anyone ever nitrated wool? Maybe hydrolyse it. Can the amino acids be separated easily? Make some kind of slime or something with interesting physical properties?


What ideas and suggestions?
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DraconicAcid
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[*] posted on 3-10-2023 at 06:47


I doubt it can be readily nitrated- it has far fewer than hydroxyl groups than cellulose, so there's not really any places to nitrate.

Hydrolyzing it can be done, but separating the amino acids from each other isn't trivial (apart from cysteine, which forms an insoluble ppt with copper, IIRC).




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j_sum1
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[*] posted on 3-10-2023 at 18:30


Can it be hydrolysed using concentrated alkaline solutions? I have never tried, but from my experience, wool is pretty inert.

Might be a quick project for the weekend.

[edit]
Strong alkali or hot concentrated sulfuric acid. As expected.
Quote:

From https://textilelearner.net/physical-and-chemical-properties-...

1. Effect of Acids: Wool is attacked by hot concentrated sulphuric acid and decomposes completely. It is in general resistant to mineral acids of all strength even at high temperature though nitric acids tend to cause damage by oxidation.

2. Effects of Alkalis: The chemical nature of wool keratin is such that it is particularly sensitive to alkaline substances. Wool will dissolve in caustic soda solutions that would have little effects on cotton. Strong alkaline affect on wool fiber but weak alkaline does not affect wool.




[edit]
for anyone watching...
This looks to be a good read and gives some options for denaturing and separating the main kinds of proteins in wool.
Quite what to do after that... Not really sure.
https://www.woolwise.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Wool-472...


[Edited on 4-10-2023 by j_sum1]
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mayko
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[*] posted on 6-10-2023 at 07:48


Experiment with dyes and mordants?

https://cen.acs.org/analytical-chemistry/art-&-artifacts...




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Chemgineer
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[*] posted on 7-10-2023 at 13:14


Is it a waste of time trying to make nitrocellulose with 80% sulphuric acid and 81% nitric acid? Is that too much water content?

I am really reluctant to distil sulphuric acid to raise the concentration for obvious reasons.
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[*] posted on 7-10-2023 at 18:09


Quote: Originally posted by Chemgineer  
Is it a waste of time trying to make nitrocellulose with 80% sulphuric acid and 81% nitric acid? Is that too much water content?

I am really reluctant to distil sulphuric acid to raise the concentration for obvious reasons.


Just use the sulfuric acid with a dry nitrate salt.
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EF2000
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[*] posted on 14-11-2023 at 23:25


Quote: Originally posted by j_sum1  

Has anyone ever nitrated wool?

Glauber had done it, obtained picrates: Fedoroff, Volume 8, P 285-286. Can't find the original procedure from his alchemical works, but I guess it requires a lot of wool and isolating any product would be a chore.

Also, of note is this video by DBX Labs: Nitrating Dog Hair/ How to Make Nitrocellulose/Guncotton, where dog's wool nitration produced basically nothing but shit. Though, there may be picrates in there?




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[*] posted on 21-11-2023 at 17:17


Ok. This project has gone to the back-burner for now. I have two dozen test tubes sitting on my lab bench with various treatments of the wool and they have been there for three weeks. And it is likely to be another three before i can get back to it. I hate it when that happens.

The project has refined somewhat. When I get back to it the plan will be to extract some cysteine or a cysteine compound from the wool. I like the idea of precipitating using Cu2+. Before that are the two processes of hydrolysing the peptide bonds and oxidising to remove the S-S crosslinking. I will need to develop and optimise a procedure. It is possible that some of what I have already done has completely destroyed the amino acids -- especially with the unexpectedly long standing time.
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[*] posted on 22-2-2024 at 17:37


One experiment I would like to see is making nitromethane from biomatter
Your pyrolize the material and mix the gas with no2 at 400c. Cool the gasses to below 100 and collect the crude, extract the product with acetone and then distille to purify.




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[*] posted on 22-2-2024 at 17:58


If you find a good way to hydrolyze wool to useful amino acids, let me know. I've got quite a bit of snakeskin that I've saved for god only knows what reason.



Please remember: "Filtrate" is not a verb.
Write up your lab reports the way your instructor wants them, not the way your ex-instructor wants them.
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