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Author: Subject: Harder to produce, yet most useful materials for "garage science".

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[*] posted on 25-11-2017 at 16:41
Harder to produce, yet most useful materials for "garage science".

What are, in your opinions the most commonly needed, yet harder to get by, for "diy science", in you opinion?

The reason I ask this is because there is such a thing usually called "last term project",( my department requires this) or something along those lines. I'm years away though but I wish to already choose one. (physicis engineering student)

I'm in love with the idea of producing my own sodium metal, out of electrolysisof NaCL,and also building my own chamber/furnace/whatever. And Arduimo PID, That is is, the idea would be focusing on small-scale.A niche marke perhpas; But I would wish(need( to also run tons of tests to get things optmized, workable and somewhat durable ofc. And opensource. For is to be chepeast possible too. and therefore acessible.

Then I thought maybe i could maybe design the device to be more flexible to accept different types of chemicals and processes. Too. Why not...

I'm probably reinventing the wheel here, but I I'd like to to know opinions on whetjer sodium is an alright choice, what I are other chemicals I could be focusing on, should I choose something I else entirely, should I expand?

I'll have 3 three years to work on this, I can make changes and adjustments along the way. More than enough (for example) time to disassemble an reassemble an entire truck, nut and nut, many times over.... Make changes, adjustments and so forth.

My focus would then to produce stuff which facilitates the lives of those doing diy science.

Any ideais. are appreciatate. Thanks.

[Edited on 26-11-2017 by camurgo]

[Edited on 26-11-2017 by camurgo]
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[*] posted on 25-11-2017 at 16:52

Phosphorus is the most obvious answer I think. The whole apparatus for making phosphorus is pretty much only useful for making phosphorus, and it's a big potentially toxic mess. However, it's going to be very hard to improve upon... phosphates are hard to reduce because phosphorus reacts with most reducing agents.

Sodium is actually quite easy thanks to a discovery of NurdRage using magnesium and dioxane to reduce NaOH. Interestingly, the reduction of phosphates with sodium is rarely mentioned or attempted.

[Edited on 26-11-2017 by clearly_not_atara]

[Edited on 04-20-1969 by clearly_not_atara]
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[*] posted on 25-11-2017 at 17:13

Len Lerner wrote a book on this. He presents synths for a bunch of useful reagents:
Sodium hydride and lithium hydride
Lithium aluminium hydride
Sodium and potassium azide
Potassium t-butoxide
Carbon disulfide
Carbon tetrachloride
Phosphorus pentachloride and phosphorus oxychloride
Thionyl chloride

There have been recent developments in the production of K (see the thread here), Na (nurdrage made a significant breakthrough), 1,4 dioxane (again nurdrage) and probably a few other things. There are several methods for producing sulfuric acid and none really simple or time efficient. Chemetix is currently working on apparatus for making nitric acid. Sulfur chlorides are becoming more routine -- Doug's lab has the best video I know. Chemplayer has brought a number of reagents within reach of the amateur chemist: methyl iodide springs to mind.

So, in a sense, a lot of the work is done. You could pick one of these, practice, refine and come up with a really polished procedure. Or you could launch out in totally new area. Red phosphorus might be an idea. there are (difficult) ways of getting white P from phosphates. And also a conversion process to get red P. But direct route would be welcomed.

Maybe a set and forget apparatus for making heavy water: Fill up a 10L container with distilled water, switch it on an com back three months later for a few grams of concentrated D2O. Perhaps an easy to assemble device for making liquid nitrogen. Permanganate would be cool. I can get it OTC but not all can and an easy synth has defied a few who have tried.

Just some suggestions.

Ninja'd by c-n-a on a couple of these. There's confirmation for ya though.

[Edited on 26-11-2017 by j_sum1]
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[*] posted on 26-11-2017 at 01:28

If I had a physics student genie - I'd ask for a spectrometer.

I can synthesize quite a few chemicals, most others I can buy or beg,
but analysis of experimental results can be so difficult and/or time consuming that I do not do it, even though it is so important.
Even highly rated chemistry youtubers 'guess' at their results.

A raw spectrum would be useful, but an automatic interpretation of the data to percentage of species would be my wet dream.
That would require an app. and access to standard data/spectra.
I want it small and rugged using my phone usb interface for data and power.
All I want is a chemical tricorder.

If you do go the way of open source chemical reactant production, consider in what ways idiots could misuse it.

P.S. You will know that your design is good when you see clones available via banggood

[Edited on 26-11-2017 by Sulaiman]

CAUTION : Hobby Chemist, not Professional or even Amateur
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[*] posted on 26-11-2017 at 12:28

If we are gonna daydream about instrumentation, give me a GCMS any day.

I could support it with what I have or could get at home, unlike an NMR. It's far more useful than IR, UV/VIS, or HPLC.

Interpretation is pretty straightforward, too.

The only downside is the price tag.
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[*] posted on 26-11-2017 at 19:03

So many great ideas and information. I'm glad this place exists.

I very much like the part of physics surrounding the reading/interpreting spectra in general. An initial idea I used to have, long ago, was indeed to work towards anything even slightly touching at all the goal of bringing GCMS-like tech closer to the hands of the everyday joe. -- And I'm a CS dropout, I can and like the idea of programing algorithms for spectra interpretation. -- But then I became much more interested in the control and design of chemistry processes. Most of all, how to if possible make such designs more accessible.

I like what "Open Source Ecology" aims to achieve. (but don't really know them, so to they just seem like people interested in bringing opensource tech to the people).

I'm not involved in any actual uni projects though (not that I'm even sure I would want that), just homemade disasters..

If I can get my degree, keep my repair shop going, and do some (mad) science in between, my life is fulfilled.

I'll be looking into phosphorus.
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[*] posted on 28-11-2017 at 10:03

Have you ever watched a breadmaker operate? Something like that, but hooked up to a distillation apparatus with solenoid-operated valves, where you can program in new reactions. So for standard synthesis reactions, you just load up the reagent hoppers, and set it, and come back to your finished synthesis. Especially useful for really long reactions.

Experimental chemistry hasn't benefited from computerization, to the extent that other sciences have, often because of the emphasis on following procedures exactly. The golden age of chemistry was probably the 19th century, when most chemistry knowledge was learned, but the best procedure 100 years ago is not always the best procedure today.

If you want an electromechanical synthesis apparatus, some ideas for one:

* Contact process where SO2 comes from burning sulfur
* Reconfigurable catalytic oxidizer that uses oxygen from the air, combined with heat and a catalyst. Make acetaldehyde from ethanol, benzaldehyde from toluene, etc. Catalyst should be fairly easy to swap out. This would probably be the most useful one, since it could be used to replicate a number of well-studied industrial production processes.
* Catalytic hydrogenation apparatus. This is the best method for organic reduction by far, and palladium on carbon usually only needs about 50 psi. Certainly doable.

[Edited on 11/28/17 by Melgar]

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