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Author: Subject: Make sodium by carbothermal reduction?
Onesiton
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[*] posted on 9-8-2017 at 07:51
Make sodium by carbothermal reduction?


Quote from wikipedia:
Quote:

Metallic sodium was first produced commercially in the late 19th century[47] by carbothermal reduction of sodium carbonate at 1100 °C, as the first step of the Deville process for the production of aluminium:[48][49][50]


How can I obtain sodium carbonate (from comercial bicarbonate) and do such carbothermal reduction at home (using domestic materials, not special machines)?

[Edited on 9-8-2017 by Onesiton]
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Magpie
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[*] posted on 9-8-2017 at 08:06


Buy washing soda instead.



The single most important condition for a successful synthesis is good mixing - Nicodem
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elementcollector1
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[*] posted on 9-8-2017 at 08:26


For the first step, baking soda can be dehydrated in an oven at high temperature to yield sodium carbonate and water.

For the second, you'd presumably need an excess of carbon and a sealed container to do it in, as well as inordinately high temperatures (something like 1000 C or higher), if I recall. There are several easier ways for the amateur to get their hands on sodium metal, if that is your goal.




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Onesiton
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[*] posted on 9-8-2017 at 12:42


I know that there are easier ways for make sodium, but these usually implies the use of magnesium (if I have magnesium, why make sodium?) or similar more electropositive alkali metals.

What I want is to find a purely homemade way of making it, as if I was an alchemist without access to any of the more advanced materials (well, be an amateur is basically the same)...


[Edited on 9-8-2017 by Onesiton]
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JJay
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[*] posted on 9-8-2017 at 12:55


Magnesium is easier to get than sodium. You can reach temperatures exceeding 1000 C over a Bunsen burner, but at such high temperatures, the sodium will boil off, so you need a retort or something similar... possibly you could do it in quartz, but sodium carbonate attacks quartz at those temperatures, so you'd probably be better off using iron.



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[*] posted on 9-8-2017 at 14:45


The problem with carbothermal reduction of sodium is that at the temperatures needed to make the reaction entropically favorable both sodium and the carbon dioxide product are gases. These will then react in the gas phase to convert back to sodium carbonate and carbon. This is also why magnesium is not made by carbothermal reduction-- it too will react in the vapor phase and destroy your product. Instead, for magnesium silicothermic reduction is applied. The silicon dioxide is a solid at reaction temperatures, and it stays in the pot while the desired metal is boiled off. This may work for sodium too, but I've not tried it.
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[*] posted on 9-8-2017 at 15:29


^^ ding ding ding

Magnesium is also not too hard to electrolyse; the chloride melts at 714 C, the bromide at 711 C, and the eutectic of these salts probably has an even lower melting point. Also, magnesium is not more electropositive than sodium; it just forms a more stable crystal with oxygen.

I don't think that producing sodium gas is a practical option. I'm not sure how to condense that.
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[*] posted on 9-8-2017 at 19:50


Carbothermal reduction of sodium produces carbon monoxide as a byproduct; that is the function of the carbon in the carbothermal reduction.

I'm guessing you could use an apparatus similar to those that some amateurs have used to produce phosphorus: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhFyVDBmDVk Obviously you would want to place the outlet in mineral oil or something of that nature rather than water.

Cody of Cody's Lab has made videos on distilling alkali metals (for example, this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSJGwnERIVU). It doesn't look hard if you have the right equipment.

This experiment would produce carbon monoxide and have a high likelihood of a dangerous fire, so obviously it shouldn't be attempted without taking appropriate precautions (fire safety protocols, talking it over with your policy representative, etc.).




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[*] posted on 15-8-2017 at 02:31


I know this is kind of unrelated but I found a video on making sodium or potassium by the reduction of their hydroxide using aluminium. https://youtu.be/5JdPQucTjjg
Note video in in Russia.
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[*] posted on 15-8-2017 at 08:46


Quote: Originally posted by Onesiton  
(if I have magnesium, why make sodium?)
[Edited on 9-8-2017 by Onesiton]


You can get magnesium in bulk for cheap. There are lightweight industrial alloys that are mostly magnesium (many airplane parts, some car parts), and if you know what to look for, you can get a lot of magnesium.




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[*] posted on 20-8-2017 at 15:27


Yup! You can buy Magnesium for about 10 bucks a pound. Might even have an old Magnesium engine block, quietly corroding away, somewhere out on the back forty. Sodium is more difficult to obtain. Sometimes you can buy Sodium, and sometimes...you cannot.

Now, you guys probably saw this video long ago, but for those that haven't been exposed.

NurdRage produces, Metallic Sodium, from home made ingredients.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCrFFVVcPUI

Kudos!

[Edited on 20-8-2017 by zed]
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