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Author: Subject: Strange Draincleaner and Stickytack
Saerynide
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[*] posted on 3-7-2004 at 20:33
Strange Draincleaner and Stickytack


Ive got this acidic drain cleaner which I do not know what it is. Axehandle and I have been trying to figure out what this mystery liquid is for quite a while. Ive tied asking for the ingredients, but with no luck. Company said it was trade secrets... what bull... They should at least have an MSDS for safety! Anyway, here's its extremely confusing properties:

1) Attacks Al and Zn very violently, heating up while doing so
2) Attacks lead and leaves a white powdery coating on it
3) Tarnishes stainless steel slowly, like after a couple minutes
4) Doesnt do anything to sugar. It remains undisolved, and unchanged
5) Doesn't make HCl when salt is added to it
6) The salt and drain cleaner attacked my glass dish! It looks like the part where the mix was on is melted slightly... :o
7) Bleaches terracotta coloured tiles white (I tried to boil this down outside to see if it was H2SO4, and my god, this is scary shit when it boils. It popped alot and the last pop was so bad that it shot 3/4 of the testtube's contents out and spattered it 10ft away :o)

8) Its clear with a brownish tinge like the H2SO4 I made (but this could be due to dyes)
9) Electrolysing this stuff makes a translucent flaky precipitate.
10) The anyhydrous precipitate powder is not soluble in water.
11) Electrolysis also turns it colourless, then neon yellow after a while, like a pale highlighter, but heating it turns it the same brown colour again.
12) Boiling also makes a white powder (the same one?). I looks and feels like chalk (its left on the side of the testtube by the acid running up when it pops)

13) It bubbles alot when you dunk sticky tack/blue tack in it. After a long time, the stickytack is white and kinda spongey.

14) Does not attack copper to a great extent. I left a penny in there all night it was only darkened by next morning

15) Turns green organic matter brown (like mold :D), as if it was burnt

How it attacks Al/Zn but not Cu at room temp, and bleaching tiles (even marble ones - the manufacturer said so) points to it being HCl, but as it is being electrolysed, I smell nothing of chlorine. Instead, it smells like a sulfur oxide. When it reacts with Zn or stainless steel, it also smells like a sulfur oxide.

And then the thing about not releasing HCl gas when salt is added shows it could be HCl, cause of the common anion affect, right?

But the lead, would point to H2SO4... so would the scary-ass popping. As for the sugar, maybe the acid's too dilute to do anything to it? And theres the burnt mold, but does HCl burn stuff like that too?

About the precipitate, I have really no clue. The colour can not be removed by boiling, so I dont think the precipitate has anything to do with the colour. Also, I dont think anyone would want to dye draincleaner tan brown, would they? There's colors to make it look more menacing than golden brown... like red or black or green! :D So Im starting to think its like my contaminated H2SO4...

So far, I think this may be a mix of dilute HCl and H2SO4.

What do you guys think about this?

Oh yeah, if anyone wants to do me a little favour that I would greatly appreciate, could they please try:
1) stickytack in HCl
2) stickytack in H2SO4
3) stickytack in HCl and H2SO4

Anyone who's read this far deserves a cookie :D




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[*] posted on 3-7-2004 at 20:59


Have you thought about some fluourine based compound? such as NH4F:HF?
The fact that it doesnt attack stainless steel (SS) doesnt mean much, as it is pretty unreactive. HCl/H2SO4 dont react with it fast. Also, glass was attacked, and HF is one of the few things that do attack it.

Anyway... could you do the following tests?

1. If you evaporate it at 100 deg C, what remains? A white powder? What happens if you heat it up more? Does it evaporate (suggesting an ammonium salt, in part)
What do evaporating vapours smell of? Can you collect them? I bet they will be acidic :)
2. If you dip it into a SS loop, and hold under a Bunsen, any flame change?
3. If you add a carbonate, bubbles occur?? (They better should!) Precipitates at all? I.e., if you add CaCO3, or Na2CO3 (respectively)?
4. What happens if you add an oxidant, such as KMnO4? To get a reference, add (careful, Mn2O7 is explosive) KMNO4 (aq) to dilute H2SO4. Observe colour changes, and compare to your stuff being subjectd to dilute KMnO4. Do you get gases at all?
5. What happens with NaOCl, or H2O2? Be careful once again.
6. You neutralise the mix , and add to it a variety of salts, such as KCl, NaCl, BaAc2, CaAc2, PbAc2, FeCl2/3, NiCl2, CoCl2 etc etc... which may help you in discerning the products.

Of course, what is much more likely is that you have a mixture of compounds, thus making the identification of each more difficult.

Anyway.. I suggest you have a look at an analytical inorganic chemistry book - they have nice little charts that picture how to trace the different ions. It's going to be hard, but not impossible - and if you perservere, it will be fun :D

[Edited on 4-7-2004 by chemoleo]

[Edited on 4-7-2004 by chemoleo]




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[*] posted on 3-7-2004 at 21:06


You can either prove/eliminate this by 2 steps.
1. mixing a diluted H2SO4 and HCl and then running the same tests you previously ran.
2. If you react with Al then you would get AlCl3 in soln and Al2(SO4)3, mix with AgNO3. I think you would percipitate both AgCl and Ag2SO4.

Also, make sure the silver nitrate is in excess for both salts so you can determine the molarity of the two acids.

[Edited on 7/4/2004 by sanity gone]
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[*] posted on 3-7-2004 at 23:07


Chemoleo:

It fizzes alot with baking soda, but I didnt mention that previously cause all acids do that :P

And no, I wasnt suicidal enough to try to smell what was coming off it while boiling it down. I was holding it with a metal wire 3 ft long away from me. Considering the fate the of my tiles, arent you glad I wasnt within spray range trying to take a whiff? :D

I have previously considered 3% H2O2 and KMnO4, but I was really worried what the hell I would do if I ended up with Mn2O7, which I could niether discard nor even move. Then there was the thread about exploding Caro's acid... you get the point. Im a chicken :P

I dont think the powder evapourates. The coating has been on my test tube for aeons and it still seems to be there. Well most of it anyways.

As for you mentioning, HF.. interesting. This stuff only seems to attack certain glasses. The glass dish I used wasnt pyrex. Its the kind of glass which the rims are visibly green... I put it in a few other glass containers and they look untouched :o But I could sworn one of my test tubes was disolving. It looked like it was, but the "disolving" part just washed right off and the glass was fine, as opposed the my now-kinda-lumpy dish :o

Oh yeah, my mother must emptied out my drain cleaner today! :mad: You're only sposed to use a few 100 mL and she used 3/4 the bottle, which was all that was left. :mad: Can't try the flame test...

And last problem. I wonder, what *is* it Im smelling about this drain cleaner... Its smell is very strange. Sometimes I swear its got sulfur in it, othertimes I think it may be ammonia, then Im sure I smell a halogen in there, HCl? HF?? :o I hate smells, they confuse me. Especially when I have to use intuition to guess/match them against stuff Ive never smelled before.

As for Sanity Gone, I wish I could use your method #1, but if I had HCl and H2SO4, I wouldn't be asking someone to help me with the stickytack :(

Also, I dont have silver nitrate or any of the other salts Chemoleo mentioned :(




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[*] posted on 3-7-2004 at 23:33


I have a draincleaner that is almost pure sulfamic acid, in the form of flakes. I'm not all that certain of it's properties though. Guess I'll go do the same tests with it.



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[*] posted on 4-7-2004 at 00:03


Mn2O7 aint bad shit, im sure you could move it very easily, its fun to 'play' with... :D:P

Sulfamic acid sound like an good idea of what it is from what ive read so far, id sugest doing a titration to find Molarity, reducing it to the powder, and seeing if the right grams per mole come out for sulfamic acid.




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[*] posted on 4-7-2004 at 03:53


Ive read some scary shit about Mn2O7. Its volatile and can blow up in your face... *shudder* I wouldnt be able to move it cause Id be too scared to go near it :P It sounds like its very pretty though... red purple or green depending on the direction of light.



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[*] posted on 4-7-2004 at 04:05


I have made Mn2O7 once or twice in small amounts, it only seemed to decompose pretty quickly when heated, not what I would call violent. Don't take my word on this though as I only made small amounts:D

I lit a small pile, and it just sort of went 'POOF!' and left a little cloud of purple smoke.

[Edited on 4-7-2004 by Reverend Necroticus Rex]




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Saerynide
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[*] posted on 4-7-2004 at 04:22


Annnnnyways.... back to the drain cleaner... :P

Froot! It would really really really help me if you could take a tiny bit of StickyTack and drop it into a solution of your draincleaner for me. Pretty please? :D

Reading the Merck index, this stuff does kinda sound like sulfamic acid. This stuff is extremely acidic, (From Merck Index: "A strong acid; pH of a 1% soln at 25degrees 1.18.";) yet Im sure its pretty dilute cause its not much denser than water. I haven't touched it yet, so I dunno how corrosive it is. But judging from the way it burns mold and a weed I poured it on, Id say I dont wanna touch it. Maybe I should try with a piece of ham or something, when I can get more drain cleaner...

[Edited on 4-7-2004 by Saerynide]




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[*] posted on 4-7-2004 at 05:04


Quote:
Originally posted by Saerynide
Ive tied asking for the ingredients, but with no luck. Company said it was trade secrets... what bull... They should at least have an MSDS for safety!


There are other ways of asking. You could try phoning them, and saying something along the lines of:

"Good Afternoon. This is Dr. [insert name], from the toxicology department of [insert name of hospital] Hospital. We have just recieved a request from the Accident and Emergency deparment, for information on [name of product], but we have no record of the product. Therefore, we urgently need to know its composition..."




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[*] posted on 4-7-2004 at 06:26


Sodium hydrosulphite?:D Ah, why don't you take some of it to school, ask for permission to do a cation test and anion gas(QA), say its a challenge, give a cookie to anyone who solves this thing..

It could be oxalic acid too.. or there's a possibility that this is a biological enzyme drain cleaner. This enzyme works in an acidic envronment..In this case, we are wasting our insights on an enzyme, thinking it is a chemical..




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Saerynide
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[*] posted on 4-7-2004 at 06:54


I tried social engineering by being a nice and innocent sounding customer very pleased with the product, and slowly asked for the info over a few emails, but no go :(

I considered trying that I needed it for some company safety policy as we are using their products, but I wouldnt be using sending using a lycos account in that case, would I? :( I couldn't think of a way to get around that problem. And theres no more rogue SMTP servers, and you cant get a reply using those anyways, since the replier'll probably realize your free webhost reply-to address....

Phone... that might prove costly on a payphone... considering the company's in another country :( I might just give it a try if we cant figure this out :D

Darkflame:
Take it to school?? Take it to SCHOOL??!! You've got to be mad! :D I'll gladly drink this stuff before taking it to *school* :P

Im pretty positive it's not an enzyme cleaner. If it was enzymes, I dont think it would be crystal clear. It would be kinda opaque and nasty looking like catalase suspensions. And plus, most biological cleaners say some crap like "environmentally friendly enzyme cleaner" (hardly what I call environmental if you're releasing catalysts that attack organic things into the water :mad: )

[Edit]: Lookie at this:

"Hazardous Decomposition Products: Nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides and ammonia gas. Concentrated solutions, when heated, will release sulfur dioxide and sulfur trioxide."

I thought I smelled something familliar.... :D



[Edited on 4-7-2004 by Saerynide]




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[*] posted on 4-7-2004 at 10:30


I don't know if this has been mentioned, or tried, but you can try adding a hydroxide and see if you get an ammonia odor, in case you still think it might be an ammonium salt.
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[*] posted on 4-7-2004 at 12:37


Ok I made a solution of pure sulfamic acid. The 'sticky tack' doesn't react. Zn doesn't react either, as you described. If this stuff attacks glass and ceramic tiles, surely it'll damage the drain system?



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[*] posted on 4-7-2004 at 12:47


http://darkfire.myftp.org/fun/chemistry/mn2o7/

Your best chance is a titration man, its much more scientificly sound than seeing what it does to stickytack:P Just mix up some NaOH, (or posibly KMnO4???) and get a molar amount, then weigh the powderd form and find the molar mass.




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[*] posted on 4-7-2004 at 12:59


"I lit a small pile, and it just sort of went 'POOF!' and left a little cloud of purple smoke. "
Never trust anyone who can pile up a liquid like Mn2O7, particulary when they are telling you it's safe.
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[*] posted on 4-7-2004 at 13:12


I must have made a mistake then:( I can't believe I forgot it's a liquid, I can't have had Mn2O7 then, it was sort of a dark greenish brown colored sludge,

I tried to make this using conc. H2SO4 and KMnO4, and got the green gaak I mentioned, my guess is that it must have been a very conc. permanganic acid, containing very little water however:(

But when a small amount was placed on a dish, and ignited, it did indeed decompose reasonably energetically.

[Edited on 4-7-2004 by Reverend Necroticus Rex]




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[*] posted on 4-7-2004 at 20:38


Thanks Froot :D

Hmph. I was really hoping I could finally know what this stuff was. Its been bugging me for such a long time :mad:

And about what you said about this stuff attacking tiles, I also wonder why it doesnt ruin drains.... :o It attacked my bathroom tiles when my mom dumped the rest into the drain :mad: My guess is that its safe to use in drains as PVC is resistant to HCl and H2SO4 at room temp (if thats what it really is).

Darkfire:
I'll titrate it with baking soda when I can get more. I'll try the flame test too. But KMnO4 is NOT going in there :P

Edit: I dont wanna sound naggy, but can someone who can spare a little HCl and H2SO4 to please try the stickytack/blue-tack/prestick or whatever its called for me? :(

[Edited on 5-7-2004 by Saerynide]




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[*] posted on 4-7-2004 at 22:55


If its a strong acid baking soda isnt really gonna work that well. A solution of KMnO4 is added for the titration, theres no way Mn2O7 can form if theres water in there.



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[*] posted on 5-7-2004 at 02:13


Could hydrogen peroxide be present?Oxidiser, you know..I've seen drain cleaner that contains NaOH, H2O2, HCL, and 'ol couple of other stuff. It was said on the label as the strongest drain cleaner formula..



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[*] posted on 5-7-2004 at 02:23


hmmm. It doesnt quite smell sour and foul like H2O2, but it could be. But wont H2O2 decompose over time, especially with other stuff present? This company says this stuff can be stored indefinately (in a cool dry place) :o



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[*] posted on 5-7-2004 at 10:41


Darkflame: It contained both NaOH and HCl:o?

Saerynide: HCl+ stickytack, lots of large(1mm) bubbles form quickly on the stickytack, but rarely leave the stickytack and rise to the surface of the HCl.
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[*] posted on 5-7-2004 at 20:08


Thanks Rogue :D The bubbles that come off the stickytack I dumped in where large ones too. Maybe we're finally getting somewhere :)



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[*] posted on 6-7-2004 at 02:26


Well it did contain both, dunno why, but they were separated. This particular drain cleaner was strange: it had two compartments! When mixed, its supposed to produce a corrosive foam that works so well..



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[*] posted on 6-7-2004 at 08:53


I would assume the other contents of the bottle(that you did not give) would produce the corrosive foam, because if all that was there was HCl and NaOH, you would just be cleaning with a salt water solution.:P
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