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MR AZIDE
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[*] posted on 17-6-2012 at 10:33
Lithium and Sodium



Would It be OK to store Lithium and sodium metal, in WD-40.?

I cannot find mineral oil anywhere, so I figured WD-40 would be stable.

I ask this before I spend a few Quid on busting open Ultimate Lithium batteries, and before I have another go at electrolyzing Na out of molten NAOH. ( albeit very small amounts)

( I found that Na will even react with cooking oil, to form a white, slimy coating)

Edit.....What about storing Li, Na in white spirits??, which appears according to MSDS sheets is Naphta, / petroleum

[Edited on 17-6-2012 by MR AZIDE]
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Endimion17
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[*] posted on 17-6-2012 at 10:46


Kerosene is a worldwide staple for storing sodium.

WD-40 would be OK, but I've just read that the propellant gas isn't butane anymore, but carbon dioxide, which would make a crust on alkali metal surfaces.

I'd suggest you to open your lithium batteries shortly before using lithium. They contain lithium in the form of a foil which is prone to oxidation and crumbling to waste. The only wy to somewhat prevent this is to pack the foil in a small, airtight bottle with as much kerosene/oil as possible, to limit the amount of air above it.




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inspector071
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[*] posted on 17-6-2012 at 10:47


Do pharmacies in the UK not carry mineral oil as a laxative? They come in 350 mL or so bottles over here in the US.
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MR AZIDE
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[*] posted on 17-6-2012 at 11:01



Thanks for the info on the WD-40, Endimion17.!!

When I managed to isolate some small bits of sodium, I had these in the WD-40, and could see tiny trains of bubbles releasing from the liquid.
I naturally thought that this was the Na reacting and releasing H2, but now I realise it was more likely acting as a little nucleating site, and releasing the CO2 contained in the liquid.

I have some 'FLAT' WD-40 in a can thats about 10 years old, Ill need to drill a hole in the side of the can to get the WD-40 out, considering its age it may contain no CO2



[Edited on 17-6-2012 by MR AZIDE]
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vmelkon
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[*] posted on 17-6-2012 at 11:19


Why don't you just put it in a glass tube and weld it shut? (if you are looking for a long term storage)
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[*] posted on 17-6-2012 at 12:15


Quote: Originally posted by inspector071  
Do pharmacies in the UK not carry mineral oil as a laxative? They come in 350 mL or so bottles over here in the US.


Dunno but hardware stores in the UK definitely stock clear kerosene (lamp oil).




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m1tanker78
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[*] posted on 17-6-2012 at 15:08


The 'bubble train' is observed even when you dunk sodium into freshly opened mineral oil. It helps if you heat the MO before hand in a metal container until it stops frothing. The down side is that this tends to tint the oil but it settles out after several days.

If you're interested, here is a thread that's dedicated to cleaning alkali metals although it's mostly aimed at sodium.

I'd stick to MO or kerosene. Look in the laxatives section of a few pharmacies and you're bound to find it. Many here swear by kerosene but I can't personally vouch. Mineral oil has worked great for me. Toluene is next but oh that flammability.. :(

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[*] posted on 18-6-2012 at 05:29
Mineral Oil


I've always used Liquid Paraffin (250ml amber bottles) from UK pharmacies such as Boots, and it's been fine for Li and Na storage. Quite cheap too!
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[*] posted on 18-6-2012 at 20:03


I have often wondered how suppliers of Li metal pack and ship the stuff. Li is so light that any hydrocarbon (SG ~0.89) causes it (SG ~ 0.59) to float largely out of the liquid. Perhaps some of our professional chemists that use the stuff can tell us.

My personal experience with a strip extracted from a battery several years ago is that it begins to oxidize immediately, probably to hydroxide due to humidity. This being denser falls to the bottom of the oil. Along with this a black coating is observed (Li3N? But I thought that only occurred at higher temps.) This black also sinks. On adding water the black turns white under the oil. The white stuff is fairly soluble in water and can be shown to be the hydroxide. My sample degraded completely over about 3 years in spite of a tight container.
Edited to correct to Li3N
Der Alte


[Edited on 19-6-2012 by DerAlte]
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elementcollector1
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[*] posted on 18-6-2012 at 21:18


My samples of lithium (same source, Energizer batteries) have this black coat, but otherwise they're not degrading. If there was a cheap solvent to make them shiny again...
I believe the tarnish is a mixture of hydroxide, carbonate and nitride (I'm pretty sure this forms at roomtemp).
Possible solvents could be anything lighter than lithium (tetralin comes to mind).




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MR AZIDE
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[*] posted on 19-6-2012 at 10:39



I suppose you could be carefull, and stuff the lithium into petroleum jelly or vaseline, ensuring the lithium is completely incased in it, with no air gap at the top of the storage bottle.

White spirit, contains apparently 100% naphta, which is pretty close to kerosene anyway.

If the lithium floats on this, then why not force the lithium to stay at the bottom of the liquid, by inverting a a smaller container, over it in the main storage bottle, or keeping the lithium in the bottom of the bottle by placing glass wool, all immersed in the storing liquid, above the lithium.
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Rogeryermaw
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[*] posted on 19-6-2012 at 11:53


many oils and solvents contain dissolved oxygen as they were not produced with the idea of storing reactive metals. http://kamland.lbl.gov/twiki/pub/Main/MuonSpallationTargetMa... this site has data on the solubility of oxygen in a plethora of different fluids. whether or not it works i can't say, but i have been told that it is partially effective to apply vacuum to fluids you wish to store reactive metals in. this will remove some dissolved gasses(so i have been told).
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[*] posted on 19-6-2012 at 18:08


Quote: Originally posted by DerAlte  
I have often wondered how suppliers of Li metal pack and ship the stuff. Li is so light that any hydrocarbon (SG ~0.89) causes it (SG ~ 0.59) to float largely out of the liquid. Perhaps some of our professional chemists that use the stuff can tell us.



sheet lithium is shipped as a roll inside a round metal can that's been filled with argon and then sealed. Lithium can supposedly be stored like this for decades if the can doesn't get damaged.

lithium blocks are probably shipped this way too
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[*] posted on 19-6-2012 at 18:38


Other sources supply dry ingots vacuum packed in heavy aluminized Mylar.

As far as dissolved oxygen is concerned, if you have the resources you can remove oxygen from most solvents (down to a few ppm level) by vigorously bubbling dry nitrogen or argon through it for 20 - 30 min. This process (purging or sparging) will be somewhat slower in viscous liquids.

Simply applying a vacuum to liquids will bring a large fraction of dissolved oxygen out of solution quickly, but it is nowhere near as efficient as purging.

To minimize resource consumption a home experimenter should use vacuum first followed by a 10 - 15 min vigorous purge.





[Edited on 20-6-2012 by Zan Divine]




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[*] posted on 19-6-2012 at 18:42


Wrap the Lithium foil around a small glass stir rod or something similar so that the Lithium will sink as this will save you a lot of waste and allow for much longer storage.




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[*] posted on 19-6-2012 at 19:28


Quote: Originally posted by elementcollector1  
Possible solvents could be anything lighter than lithium (tetralin comes to mind).


Neither tetralin nor any other solvent found @ STP in any lab is lighter than lithium. Look all you want, you won't find one.

Even 2-methyl butane has a density of .6201 g/mL at 20 C. Pentane is slightly denser. Butane is a gas. So...

[Edited on 20-6-2012 by Zan Divine]




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elementcollector1
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[*] posted on 19-6-2012 at 19:41


Awww.... there goes my college dreams... thanks, Zan. >:P
Anyway, what of a stainless steel mesh net that is submerged in the oil for lithium? Would allow oil flow while keeping the lithium all the way under the oil.




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[*] posted on 20-6-2012 at 11:01


Quite possibly a lead...

Liquid butane (.573g/cc) can be stored in a soda bottle at RT, with an internal pressure less than 150PSI. Soda bottles are rated for greater than 200PSI, and I've stored 10 s of cc s on liquid butane at RT for years, one is a demonstration bottle filled only with butane and a bobber, it's very fun to swish around such a light liquid. Or one can keep it in the freezer- Butane is a liquid at -0.5*C. Even a standard soda cap can withstand great internal pressures without leaking or rupturing... The cap I have on even my oldest bottle is only minorly deformed (you would be too, with an internal pressure near the same!). But the amount is nearly unchanged since it was filled.

But back to my point- Dropping an ingot of lithium in a bottle filled with butane will submerge most of the ingot in liquid butane- What's exposed has little chance of oxygen exposure, due to the bottle being backfilled with gaseous butane and with internal pressure. And from from a accidental opening at RT (or violent rupture, should something happen, other than fire!!), it will hiss like an angry bottle of soda, boil off the butane untill it's either back to 0*C or out of butane to boil.
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[*] posted on 21-6-2012 at 06:01


Quote: Originally posted by elementcollector1  
Awww.... there goes my college dreams... thanks, Zan. >:P
Anyway, what of a stainless steel mesh net that is submerged in the oil for lithium? Would allow oil flow while keeping the lithium all the way under the oil.


That would work. But so would filling the bottle all the way up with your mineral oil or whatever you want to use. Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best.




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MR AZIDE
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[*] posted on 21-6-2012 at 11:45


Of more interest to UK people, but I bought a pack of the Ultimate Li AA size batteries today, from Morrisons market......£3.99.........quite a bit cheaper than most places. Argos are charging £7.49 for the SAME PRODUCT!!

I think £3.99 for a nice lump of Li metal with no questions asked OTC Is a decent price.

Moral, look around for certain things, some places sell really cheap.
BTW I didn't find mineral oil, although there is Baby oil, which is a thinner liquid.

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[*] posted on 21-6-2012 at 11:49


What Morrison's market?



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MR AZIDE
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[*] posted on 21-6-2012 at 12:01


Morrisons........the Supermarket.......
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[*] posted on 21-6-2012 at 12:07


Oh I see, were they on offer and is it available in all stores nationwide do you think?



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[*] posted on 21-6-2012 at 12:22


It sounds like you are tempted Hexa...are you not....?????:P

Dont think it was on offer, Morrisons usually to a lot of good offers though. I think it their price thats all. You cant even get these batteries in Homebase.
I wouldve grudger paying £7.49 for batteries Im going to bust open.


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[*] posted on 21-6-2012 at 12:39


Just a short note for storing lithium.

In the lab we have several kilos of lithium (yes, a lot) what is stored in mainly 2 ways:

1: under argon in a sealed ampoule. This way is used at the small granulated extra pure lithium.

2: under wax in a relative big jar, sealed with some parafilm. Large 50-100g chunks are stored this way and as it looks like, it is there for about 50-80 year now and there is almost no oxide layer on its surface, it is absolutely clean.

And also there is the original package of the chem. suppliers, it floats in parraffin oil, but I think this is the most oxidized from all.
Here is one bottle from Merck:
http://labphoto.tumblr.com/post/22919446779/a-bottle-of-lithium-from-merck-the-black-in-the




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