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Author: Subject: Druken Aga Challenge (DAC) #3 - Closed (but open to discussion)
aga
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Druken Aga Challenge (DAC) #3 - Closed (but open to discussion)

Synthesis of Nitric Acid
(as proposed by WGTR)

Objective: Make at least 100ml of 30w% Nitric Acid in the easiest and cheapest way possible.

Prize €250 / $309 / £197 whatever the exchange rates are at the time Reagents available:- 1. Any plants or rocks that you, or anybody else, can find in a 5 mile radius of your home. 2. Any product available from a supermarket. 3. Gasoline, Diesel, Vegetable Oils. 4. Common Bacteria or Fungii 5. Steel, Iron, Copper, Aluminium, Zinc ... 6. Anything an Animal ejects Voluntarily while living. Prohibited Reagents: All chemicals that can be bought in their pure or pure-ish form. Nitric Acid in any form. Unicorn Extracts. Elf Dust/Leprechaun Powder. Equipment available: Standard glassware, any household item, or improvised item(s) made from household item(s). Anything that a non-chemist would have access to, like a Spoon, Drill, hammer, lathe ... Prohibited Equipment: Advanced Glassware (not normally available to a home chemist), quartz tube & furnace, Any Voltage > (250 * 1.41) V. 'Standard Glassware' is What i have in my lab. That's the Definition. U2U me if you think what you need to use might not be what i have in my lab. The Ideal is to make a useful quantity of Nitric Acid in a way that we all could make it, and be shown/described in a way that others could copy. As it's a DAC, Violation of that Ideal will disqualify an entry that fits the rules, yet is not of any Use at all to others. Submissions should be ONE POST ONLY in this thread (edit as needed) and include photos that can be seen without following links, chemical formulae and Amounts, and temperatures where relevant. NOTE: the Single Post must show how it is done, in detail, so it can be copied, and verified. Opening date : 1st January 2015. DO NOT POST ENTRIES BEFORE THAT DATE. Closing date for entries : 24th January 2015 The Winner will be the one who posts the Best overall solution, and i will take the opinions of others into account when judging. Prize Winner(s) will be announced after Assessing, Judging and then Testing the procedures, likely before the end of Jan 2015. The winner gets the stated Prize. If any submissions look really great, and don't win, they could get a prize too. All prizes paid by paypal. As always, my inebriated word is final, unless it's not. Edit: Max Voltage changed to fit where i live as well (blush) [Edited on 24-11-2014 by aga] [Edited on 10-8-2016 by zts16] Metacelsus International Hazard Posts: 2408 Registered: 26-12-2012 Location: Cambridge, MA Member Is Offline Mood: Double, double, toil and trouble Would a distillation apparatus be advanced glassware? Also: What counts as a supermarket? Does a convenience store count? Would Target (which has a food section) count? [Edited on 24-11-2014 by Cheddite Cheese] As below, so above. aga Forum Drunkard Posts: 7030 Registered: 25-3-2014 Member Is Offline Nope. I have lots of that, so it's Standard Glassware. Edit: Would anyone interested in chemistry NOT have distillation kit ? Or an Allhin condenser or a Vigreux column ? Next they'll be asking if a buchner filter is OK ... [Edited on 24-11-2014 by aga] Bugger. My Buchner funnel is Plastic, so Standard PlasticWare is also OK. [Edited on 24-11-2014 by aga] aga Forum Drunkard Posts: 7030 Registered: 25-3-2014 Member Is Offline Any Store that Normal (i.e. non chemists visit) are Ok. Remember that the procedure must be repeatable, so if your local store has a Sale of Cheese Slices that are actually 100% nitric, then no banana. Little_Ghost_again International Hazard Posts: 985 Registered: 16-9-2014 Member Is Offline Mood: Baffled  Quote: Originally posted by aga Any Store that Normal (i.e. non chemists visit) are Ok. Remember that the procedure must be repeatable, so if your local store has a Sale of Cheese Slices that are actually 100% nitric, then no banana. FECK Dont ask me, I only know enough to be dangerous Arcuritech Harmless Posts: 34 Registered: 19-8-2012 Location: Scraping fused boria from a crucible. Member Is Offline Mood: Shuestring budget?! All I got was an aglet!!  Quote: Originally posted by aga Would anyone interested in chemistry NOT have distillation kit ? Or an Allhin condenser or a Vigreux column ? Next they'll be asking if a buchner filter is OK ... What if you don't have any of those things cause you're poor as hell and can't spare money for glass that you can trust not to crack under heat? "If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn't be called research." -Albert Einstein "There are few things -- whether in the outward world, or, to a certain depth, in the invisible sphere of thought -- few things hidden from the man who devotes himself earnestly and unreservedly to the solution of a mystery." -Nathaniel Hawthorne ("Roger Chillingworth") Oscilllator International Hazard Posts: 659 Registered: 8-10-2012 Location: The aqueous layer Member Is Offline Mood: No Mood  Quote: Originally posted by Arcuritech What if you don't have any of those things cause you're poor as hell and can't spare money for glass that you can trust not to crack under heat? I made my first red fuming nitric acid using a glass tube from a fluorescent bulb, some PVC pipe to form a water jacket, some garden hose, and a$15 filter flask. The nitric acid was high enough quality that I was able to make 2 cottonballs of nitrocellulose that I could ignite on my hand without getting burnt.

mayko
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 Quote: Originally posted by aga Any Voltage > (110 * 1.41) V.

Does this mean no static electricity, which is on the order of kilovolts?

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"Chemicals, chemicals... I need chemicals!" - George Hayduke
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Metacelsus
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Yes. Anti-static bracelets must be worn at all times.

After all, alcohol is very flammable; we wouldn't want Aga catching on fire while replicating it.

But seriously, the standard for domestic outlets in Europe is 220 V AC, and it might be hard for European members to do the challenge if it's limited below that.

[Edited on 24-11-2014 by Cheddite Cheese]

As below, so above.
Oscilllator
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Its 240V in Australia but I'm sure Aga meant that we could use mains power, just that we weren't allowed to step it up to a couple thousand volts to make a birkland-eyde reactor.
WGTR
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The Great Drunken One will have to clear up this question with his words of wisdom, but I think he is saying that step one of the project can't be "Now, simply climb a telephone pole and hook some wires up to the 10,000V line...", or "put a long rod in the air and wait for a lightning storm to come by...", or even "now hire an electrician to install 440V in your lab..." It has to be practical.

I plan on putting some thought into this project in the coming weeks. I have exams, essays, and work to do, so things might be a little busy until mid December. I'll run some ideas past aga before getting too involved, but I have the same sort of goal in this; that is, to make this project attainable to a wide variety of people. Some technical skill would be required for the idea that I'm thinking of. A trained squirrel wouldn't be able to do it (do we have any squirrels here?). At the same time, the parts would be widely available, and the project would be documented well enough to make it look easy.
aga
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Go on then.

No more Volts than the standard domestic AC mains supply voltage in your location, or the DC version of that.

If you have access to a 6volt 2000A supply, that wouldn't be Repeatable, and would vapourise the bannana.

j_sum1

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Mood: Metastable, and that's good enough.

aga, love this challenge. So practical. Even if I don't play, the write-ups will be extremely valuable.

Are we necessarily limited to the supermarket or are we allowed to visit the hardware store, garden centre or pharmacist?

blogfast25
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 Quote: Originally posted by Arcuritech What if you don't have any of those things cause you're poor as hell and can't spare money for glass that you can trust not to crack under heat?

If you can't afford running shoes don't enter a running competition.

One can try and create a level playing field but it will never be as flat as a new parking lot.

"Some animals are more equal than other animals."

Nice challenge, Oh Drunken One. Now you need some takers!

[Edited on 24-11-2014 by blogfast25]

Metacelsus
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 Quote: Originally posted by j_sum1 aga, love this challenge. So practical. Even if I don't play, the write-ups will be extremely valuable. Are we necessarily limited to the supermarket or are we allowed to visit the hardware store, garden centre or pharmacist?

Aga said "any shop where normal people go," so I think a hardware store would be fine. I can get sulfuric acid at a local hardware store, and fertilizer at a garden store, which will make the challenge pretty easy.

As below, so above.
WGTR
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Unless the store-bought fertilizer was a non-nitrate salt, it probably wouldn't count for the competition. The point is that nitrates are about as difficult to buy as nitric acid in some areas. If, however, you harvested nitrates from your local source of bat guano, perhaps that would count. At least that's what I gather from the rules.
plante1999
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I would like to mention that allowing the use of Transformer to make birkeland reactor would probably be a good thing. If we shorten the rules we get:

- No nitrates
- No High voltage
- No quartz tube

To be honest, with theses three rules alone you almost ruled out the possibility something will be posted.
Zyklon-A
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Yeah, he said "Prohibited Reagents: All chemicals that can be bought in their pure or pure-ish form" This should include both sulfuric acid and pure nitrates. How about using oxidizing nylon?
It can be hydrolyzed in either very hot water or an acid like so:

[click to see]
I'm not sure how the nitrogen could be isolated without reducing it back to N2, nylon doesn't burn, but after hydrolyzation it might do something. It's worth a shot.
I realize I shouldn't be giving away possible methods, but I doubt I will be able to do this myself, with my lack of free-time...

[Edited on 24-11-2014 by Zyklon-A]
Praxichys
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Potting soil should contain the required bacteria to convert ammonia to hydroxylamine and then to nitrate. This is the fate of anhydrous ammonia after it is injected into soil for farming.

Hypothetically, a periodically-aireated mound of potting soil kept out of the weather, sprinkled with urine daily, will begin to effloresce with nitrates after a few months. These are then leached out of the soil, the liquor filtered, and then boiled down to a syrup of nitrates. Most of the chlorides are filtered out, and all that is needed is to add sulfuric acid (or perhaps phosphoric) to the syrup and distill to recover nitric acid.

If you want to house a fetid pile of piss-soaked soil somewhere, and have the unique pleasure of turning it daily, that is.

Even worse than that - Hypothetically, a fermenter is constructed from a plastic bucket and a handful of soil as added as a starter culture. All urine generated in the household goes into the bucket daily. A fishtank air pump keeps it aireated while the bacteria convert the urea into nitrates. I would NOT want to be the guy who has to boil that mess down to a syrup.

But perhaps more pleasantly, the same effect could be achieved by sprinkling the soil - or feeding the fermenter - with a prepared weak solution of urea, as long as urea is not prohibited by this competition. Diesel exhaust fluid is a quite pure solution of urea in distilled water, and might work well.

As fun as peeing in a cup for 5 months sounds (and convincing the girlfriend to do the same... for science?), I will not be able to start this until the weather warms up. (This is NOT a basement activity!) If there are no winners by April, I will officially give this a try.

With pee, of course.

aga
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You can't just Buy sulphuric acid, nor nitrate-based fertilizers to then go down the well-trodden 'distill to get conc nitric' route.

Even I could do that, so it would certainly not be challenging to you.

If you were to Make Sulphuric, concentrate it, and Make Nitrates, then distill, that'd be more like it.

The 'can't buy pure chemicals rule' does not include table salt, water, vinegar, booze, fags, hamburgers - stuff like that.

Bat guano would be fine, so long as the process includes details of where you might find bat dung.
Presumably in the Bat Cave, all over the Bat Mobile's windscreen.

Think more like McGuyver.

Edit:

If January is too short a time, then there need be no Closing date.

If there are No entries before January, the challenge will stay open until the beer runs out, which doesn't look like anytime soon.

[Edited on 24-11-2014 by aga]

Little_Ghost_again
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Ok I am up for this, From the bat comment I am going down the chicken shit route, no seriously we have chickens! there do do is very high in nitrogen. So count me in

Dont ask me, I only know enough to be dangerous
aga
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Cool.

Bat Man versus Chicken Ghost in the battle of the doo doo ...

Texium (zts16)

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Interesting. When I first saw this, I thought "Wow, aga must be really drunk if he's going to give away that much money just for making nitric acid!" then I read the rules and realized that this competition is a lot more difficult and involved than it first appears. I will try it, but I don't know exactly where to start since it's actually a lot easier for me to get ahold of pure nitrates and sulfuric acid than other less convenient materials...

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Little_Ghost_again
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Well the way I see it chicken whats it is very high in nitrogen, so there has to be a start point there somewhere.
The cheese would have been easier .
We got a pigeon loft as well that hasnt been touched in 60 odd years! there is hundreds up there, maybe thats worth a look. Ok off to do some erm digging!

Dont ask me, I only know enough to be dangerous
Zyklon-A
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