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Author: Subject: Breaking surfactants in OTC products
mycotheologist
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[*] posted on 22-6-2012 at 06:51
Breaking surfactants in OTC products


I was experimenting with various methods of making chloroform a while ago and I tried using household bleach that I got at the supermarket and I could definitely smell chloroform but it didn't separate into 2 layers. When I poured the bleach into the beaker, some suds formed so I knew there was a surfactant in there. There is around 50mL of water for every mL of chloroform so distilling would be too impractical. I tried adding loads of NaCl in order to saturate the water and thus, force the chloroform out of the aqueous phase but it didn't work, it didn't separate into 2 layers like I thought it would. Any other tricks I should know about?
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peach
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[*] posted on 22-6-2012 at 08:55


Firstly, don't use 'thick' or 'toilet' bleach, both of which create a mess.

Secondly, don't use brand name stuff, it's 'well expensive, like', use own brand thin bleach.

Thirdly, a large percentage of bleaches around Europe (if that's were you be) don't contain hypochlorite anymore; specifically to prevent the formation of 'trihalomethanes'.

There isn't really an easy way to get rid of / round the surfactants, as they're added in quantities large enough to be effective when highly diluted.

Quote:
There is around 50mL of water for every mL of chloroform so distilling would be too impractical.


This is where thinking outside the box, and inside a large paint / jerry can, may be of assistance. Although those surfactants may reappear as a lot of foam, I've never tried distilling it from bleach before.

There are outlets (in the UK and around) that sell high percentage, surfactant free bleach.

Failing that, chlorine into sodium hydroxide solution, brew your own bleach minus the surfactant.

If the goal is inhaling the chloroform, it's definitely not worth the effort. You'll feel dizzy for about two minutes then tired for the rest of the day.

[Edited on 22-6-2012 by peach]
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mycotheologist
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[*] posted on 22-6-2012 at 16:20


Quote: Originally posted by peach  
This is where thinking outside the box, and inside a large paint / jerry can, may be of assistance. Although those surfactants may reappear as a lot of foam, I've never tried distilling it from bleach before.

I like your thinking. I could cut a hole in the lid and fit it with a tube of some sort and use an ice bucket as a condenser. As for a heat source, I could use a trick mushroom growers use to heat their incubators. Put the bucket inside a second bucket which has a fish tank heater submerged in water. Only problem is they don't go above around 30C. I just came across this article:
http://pcbheaven.com/exppages/Removing_the_built-in_thermost...
which gets me thinking. With a bit of electronics know how, you could convert a fish tank heater into a portable, submersible heating element.

Quote: Originally posted by peach  

If the goal is inhaling the chloroform, it's definitely not worth the effort. You'll feel dizzy for about two minutes then tired for the rest of the day.

While I would probably try it if I had pure CHCl3, I wouldn't be too inclined to huff chloroform as its not the safest or healthiest substance to ingest. If I was to choose a solvent to inhale, I'd go for diethyl ether. Back when they discovered chloroforms anaesthetic properties, they believed it was safer and superior to ether and nitrous oxide and as a result, it was widely accepted by doctors and used as their primary tool for inducing anaesthesia. Until patients began dying of heart attacks that is. I can't remember the name of it but theres a good documentary on the history of anaesthetics. If I'm not mistaken, chloroforms anaesthetic properties were discovered by Humphrey Davey who inhaled every solvent he came across lol.

EDIT: Modifying an aquarium heater would probably be a pain in the ass. Something like this:
http://www.mwands.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&p...
would be better.

[Edited on 23-6-2012 by mycotheologist]
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[*] posted on 23-6-2012 at 01:18


If you smell it why not distill it out?



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peach
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[*] posted on 24-6-2012 at 08:06


Quote:
While I would probably try it if I had pure CHCl3, I wouldn't be too inclined to huff chloroform as its not the safest or healthiest substance to ingest. If I was to choose a solvent to inhale, I'd go for diethyl ether. Back when they discovered chloroforms anaesthetic properties, they believed it was safer and superior to ether and nitrous oxide and as a result, it was widely accepted by doctors and used as their primary tool for inducing anaesthesia. Until patients began dying of heart attacks that is. I can't remember the name of it but theres a good documentary on the history of anaesthetics. If I'm not mistaken, chloroforms anaesthetic properties were discovered by Humphrey Davey who inhaled every solvent he came across lol.


Yup, one of the earlier examples of formal chemistry / pharmaceutical battles.

Quote:
I particularly liked the example for cocaine, Fraud snorting it up whilst working, noticing his face going numb, passing it to his Dr mate, his mate rubbing it a frog's eye and giving it a poke with a knife, then rubbing it in his own eye and giving that a jab. Good stuff... back to basics. :D
I like your thinking. I could cut a hole in the lid and fit it with a tube of some sort and use an ice bucket as a condenser. As for a heat source, I could use a trick mushroom growers use to heat their incubators. Put the bucket inside a second bucket which has a fish tank heater submerged in water. Only problem is they don't go above around 30C. I just came across this article:
http://pcbheaven.com/exppages/Removing_the_built-in_thermost...
which gets me thinking. With a bit of electronics know how, you could convert a fish tank heater into a portable, submersible heating element.


Know of this trick do I, the bucket within a bucket. I have, in my past, worked at a mycology place. Whilst working there, I also converted a practically new fridge someone had left hanging around to an incubator for plate work. Leave it unplugged, drop a fish tank heater into the salad bin, pour in some water, add a squirt of bleach to keep it germ free, turn it on, leave. That'll keep it around where it needs to be. Simultaneously, I had a big 210l drum hanging around and a bakery next door. I bought some sacks of sugar from the supplier (dirt cheap), tossed that in the drum with a pack of turbo distillers yeast, another submersible heater, filled her up, stacked some packaging around the drum as insulation, ba-booom! That baby was fizzing (literally) the next day.

In terms of distilling things from paint cans and so on, you can use either a hotplate (try the tip / dump to see if there's one hanging around for free with the white goods) or (if you're careful) a camping stove.

Click this link to witness.

I used that can over and over and over and had to knock the solids out of it, and then roast it as high as the stove would go, to get the benzene out. Scored about 2.5 or 3l from memory, about 125 to 250ml at a time.

I would knock the solids out and then inspect the can for signs of failure around the seam.

That fitting I have on the top of the can is called a tank connector, flanged tank connector, tank to 15mm connector or some variation on that. You'll find them around the plumbing isle of any DIY store. They're about $3-5 in the US I'd guess.

All I had to do was drill a hole in the lid and screw the thing on, then tighten up the compression fittings to make that arm. Took about 15 minutes sat out in the sun, nice...
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mycotheologist
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[*] posted on 26-6-2012 at 15:08


Thats a nice setup, thats way more sophisticated/less caveman like than what I had in mind. Also, I was thinking of one of those large plastic paint buckets:

due to their large volume. They wouldn't be able to handle high temperatures but I doubt 60C for chloroform would cause any problems. Also the chloroform would be too dilute to react with the plastic. There are probably large metal tubs like that though. I have a big 5 litre metal container of toluene/xylene paint stripper, you could distill out of that. I've seen another one of your improvised setups before, your ingenuity impresses me.
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[*] posted on 5-7-2012 at 11:58


Perhaps it would be possible to freeze the chloroform out of the reaction mixture?I have done it in the lab after extractions of amphiphilic compounds( although not detergents).



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