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Author: Subject: patient experimentation in the sun
Polverone
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[*] posted on 9-7-2004 at 17:29
patient experimentation in the sun


I rather enjoy phenomena that take a long time to manifest themselves, because I can run experiments investigating them over a period of weeks, tending to them like a gardener. Since I live where the summer is warm and sunny, I decided that I would try various experiments using the heat/light of the sun to see what sort of changes it effects.

One of my longer-running experiments, going on for well more than a month now, was an investigation of heat/light/air effects on sodium polysulfides (described at the end of "What Was this Substance?";)

Another experiment: a small jar half-full of windshield deicer (mixture of methanol and ethylene glycol) had some KOH dissolved in it and has been sitting in the sun for more than a month. Every few days I briefly open the lid, in case oxygen is needed. Very slowly, some small needlelike crystals are forming at the bottom. Potassium oxalate?

In another experiment, I left methanol and sulfamic acid to react in a tightly capped jar. I don't think they've much reacted at the temperatures achieved by direct sunning, but the sulfamic acid *has* been growing itself into beautiful long sparkling crystals.

In another experiment, I left a few mililiters of ether floating on top of water in a sealed clear plastic bottle, exposed to the sun, and I periodically open it to admit fresh air. There should be some interesting oxidation products in there when I finally get around to processing it.

In another experiment, I mixed NH4NO3, water, and copper carbonate and left the mixture to sun in a cottonball-plugged bottle. The liquid has turned a rich blue, but the carbonate doesn't seem to be consumed very fast. This experiment, like my attempted reaction of methanol and sulfamic acid, really does seem to need artificial heating. I'd hoped to prepare copper nitrate and then react it with lead, as it was suggested to make lead acetate by reacting copper acetate with lead.

In one of the most interesting long-term experiments, I mixed agricultural dusting sulfur with powdered trichloroisocyanuric acid. I initially added chloroform in hopes of achieving a slighlty more intimate union. The mixture was left in a narrow-necked bottle outside in the sun. The chloroform soon evaporated. Over a period of days I saw and smelled an interesting reaction. Clear yellow droplets of liquid accumulated on the glass, and a vaguely unhealthy odor came from the vessel. As the days went by, the droplets grew larger and moved further up the bottle. At the same time, the sulfur seemed to disappear entirely from the lower portion of the bottle. Solid sulfur and the liquid (S2Cl2?) both seemed to gradually creep upward under the influence of heat. By the time I took the bottle in for cleaning, I was unfortunately unable to recover any of the liquid. However, I shall try it again since it was relatively fast (compared to my other endeavors) and so interesting.




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[*] posted on 10-7-2004 at 10:10
A suggestion


Cannot try this for my own as I by now have no place in the sun - and where I live its not so sunny anyways.... :D

Toluene, dry EtOH and some acetone are put into a pyrex container and irridated with an UV lamp. The pyrex (or similar) is necessary to cut the smaller wavelengths which would lead to unwanted reactions). The acetone works as a photoactivator - it catches the UV-energy and transmits it to the actual reactands.
The authors claimed that this will produce phenyl-2-propanol although yields are told to be VERY small (0,01% in 12 hours with a 400W Hg lamp, AFAIK).
(it was posted at the-hive)
Nevertheless a interesting experiment in my eyes - a liter toluene/EtOH/acetone mixture in a flat, closed glass-vessel made from pyrex, these flat Lasangne cooking dishes might come handy here, placed onto some Al-foil in a sunny place for a month......
Workup would be a charm too - just distilling/boiling carefully away the starting mixture will tell if it works.
A simple light-trap might increase the efficiency and can be built from cardboard and foil with no problems.

Just an idea....
;)

ORG
(I can look the article up and some related patents I found if you are interested)




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Polverone
Now celebrating 18 years of madness
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[*] posted on 10-7-2004 at 10:23
how fascinating!


I am indeed interested. It sounds like a great long-term experiment. Will ordinary soda-lime glass work, or must it be pyrex to stop/pass the right frequencies? I should try to find out what the intensity of UV in sunlight is...

Edit: how dry is "dry?" Would 95% EtOH work? CuSO4-dried EtOH? Can I just mix the toluene and EtOH and boil away some of it to remove the water azeotropically?

[Edited on 7-10-2004 by Polverone]




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