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WangleSpong5000
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[*] posted on 23-12-2017 at 07:23
Methylated spirits query


I have a query regarding a particular brand of australian methylated spirits.

So we all know diggers brand methylated spirits which contains 95% ethanol and 5% water. The MSDS dosent mention any denaturants but apparently it does not have too. It appears to contain denatonium benzoate to make it unpalatable but some claim it also likely contains some kind of ester. One member on this board (and many other sources elsewhere) claimed it contained what was possibly cyclohexane.

My question is this: Can I use a product such as this as a solvent or a reagent? Are trace amounts (or small amounts) of other such chemicals going to create problems in this regard? I know absolutely nothing about how things of this nature could potentially interfere or otherwise adversly affect a reaction. I imagine this is an incredibly complex subject in it's entiretly... interesting but beyond me frankly.

Thanks :)

*Disclaimer = Yes this subject has been mentioned in other threads many times. Yes I have read those threads. No I did not find the answer I seek. Yes I could have looked harder... technically I could 'look harder' indefinatley or at least until I expire so you understand the bind I'm in... :P

... Not meaning to sound obnoxious btw it's just that this forum can be very... umm... Intense? Unforgiving? Scary? Yes to all three but I kind of like how this place dosent suffer fools gladly... I actually thought I knew a fair bit about chemistry before I came to this place. I now know that I actually know sweet fuck all about chemistry. You have no idea how happy I am that I now know this.




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[*] posted on 23-12-2017 at 07:53


I would think that there would also be methanol in there as well. That's usually what the "methylated" part of methylated spirits means. To answer your question, it depends on what you're trying to do specifically but the denaturants will probably not interfere with simple reactions like esterifications, ether synthesis or ethyl halide synthesis. It would be better to distill it before use, though, preferably through a Vigreux or packed Hempel column. Especially if the ethanol is to be used as a solvent. If esters and/or ketones are in there, reflux with a few grams of sodium or potassium hydroxide for a couple hours before distilling.

[Edited on 23-12-2017 by Crowfjord]
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WangleSpong5000
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[*] posted on 23-12-2017 at 08:03


There's is definately no methanol in this product. I also assumed that this would be the case but in Australia methanol is no longer added to denatured alcohol and/or methylated spirits.

Too many next level alcoholics were dying or going blind I assume...




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[*] posted on 23-12-2017 at 18:39


I have tried but have not found detailed info on the composition of diggers methylated spirits.
I use mine for cleaning and non critical stuff but not where quality counts. There is a product around called bioflame. It is 99+% ethanol with trace of denatonium benzoate and the remainder water. Clocks in at around $9 per litre. I get mine from Home hardware as Bunnings tends not to stock it.

Your comments on Board culture - I think the bottom line is that thinking is encouraged while sponges and other bottom-feeders are not. I have actually found this to be a very supportive and encouraging online community and unbelievably valuable for my chemistry knowledge: probably the most supportive online community that I have encountered. But yes, you are right: we don't suffer fools gladly.




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[*] posted on 23-12-2017 at 20:19


Quote: Originally posted by j_sum1  


Your comments on Board culture - I think the bottom line is that thinking is encouraged while sponges and other bottom-feeders are not. I have actually found this to be a very supportive and encouraging online community and unbelievably valuable for my chemistry knowledge: probably the most supportive online community that I have encountered. But yes, you are right: we don't suffer fools gladly.


I really really like this place, and that is a huge understatement. Without sounding like a massive arse kisser I truly am in awe of some of the people here... the intellect, the experience, the passion, but mostly the expectation of nothing less than the best, if that makes sense? I've been on many, many chemistry and science forums before and don't get me wrong, those places had some wizards also but something was lacking... perhaps it was the nature of the forums, perhaps something else but this place is somewhere where I feel I can learn so so so much and at this point that involves me pretty much shutting my mouth when it comes to anything chemistry related...

I will always, however, be hyperbolic, insufferable and relentless when it comes to the discussion of Liberty and Freedom, and that has it's place here most definately. But don't mistake my hyperbole in relation to those subjects as having any crossover into the way I wish to deal with the subject of chemistry in a place like this... I like the way things are done here as I imagine that those who seek mastery of a thing would act in a similar fasion...

Lol I do crap on alot don't I?

Yes! It appears it is not a simple matter to find out exactly what is in Diggers Methylated Spirits! Thanks for the advice on the 'bioflame' j_sum1, I'll check it out real soon. I'm loving the Aussie contingent on this board! There are quite a few of us :D

Fucken Straya! Get a dog up ya caarrrrnt! hahaha oh dear :)




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[*] posted on 23-12-2017 at 21:19


Quote: Originally posted by WangleSpong5000  

Fucken Straya! Get a dog up ya caarrrrnt! hahaha oh dear :)

Um... kia ora Bro.




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[*] posted on 23-12-2017 at 21:42


Quote: Originally posted by j_sum1  
Quote: Originally posted by WangleSpong5000  

Fucken Straya! Get a dog up ya caarrrrnt! hahaha oh dear :)

Um... kia ora Bro.


I truly have absolutely no idea what that means... now I really want to know!

Ok so I'm guessing using Denatured EtOH as a reagent is not really an option which I suspected. It wouldn't be an issue at all if I had some dosh. Just buy some grain alcohol from dan murphies but come to think of that now seems much more boring than doing it the hard way... I have a very small amount of EtOH i distilled from Vodka and I can't be certain of it's concentration as I am sans a hydrometer. Also I used a glass bottle that used to contain ginger beer for the EtOH and while I thought i washed it thouroughly i musn't have as when i take a whiff of the stuff all i can smell in ginger...

I've decided to go on the hunt for as many different alcohols as is possible and practical. Before I delve into other experiments I think I'd really like to expore the chemistry of esters as it seems relatively simple, it will create an array of nice smelling things and it's completely above board from a legal standpoint. I'll probably be a bit less cautious once I suss out excatly what the laws are for Australians...


[Edited on 24-12-2017 by WangleSpong5000]




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[*] posted on 23-12-2017 at 23:47


https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kia_ora

There are heaps of threads on the trials of ethanol acquisition and purification. I am by no means an expert. It seems however that the best route to undenatured ethanol is fermentation followed by distillation and dehydration. At least that seems to be the consensus for most jurisdictions.


Esters are fun. Good idea to try to acquire a range of alcohols. Not many are otc to my knowledge. But if you are prepared to buy from chem suppliers they are not restricted. Just expensive.




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[*] posted on 24-12-2017 at 03:16


It had me wondering about this
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kia-Ora
(as a mixer, perhaps)

Whether meths will do as a solvent/ reactant depends on the circumstances. It's usually fine for cleaning glassware.

It's difficult to purify unless you have a good still.
If you have a good still you can start from drinking alcohol which as better known impurities.

[Edited on 24-12-17 by unionised]
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WangleSpong5000
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[*] posted on 24-12-2017 at 08:23


Quote: Originally posted by j_sum1  
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kia_ora

There are heaps of threads on the trials of ethanol acquisition and purification. I am by no means an expert. It seems however that the best route to undenatured ethanol is fermentation followed by distillation and dehydration. At least that seems to be the consensus for most jurisdictions.


Esters are fun. Good idea to try to acquire a range of alcohols. Not many are otc to my knowledge. But if you are prepared to buy from chem suppliers they are not restricted. Just expensive.


I thought that may have been a Maori expression. The 'Bro' at the end is a fair ly big hint + now that I've read the expression out loud I feel pretty stupid for not making the connection haha :D the truth is I'm originally from England so I'm more likely to say: "Hello John! How ya been my son? Good yeah? Nice one bruv... I'll see you at the boozer later innit..."

I've read all the big threads re EtOH but there are loads of smaller ones but I think the main ones cover everything already... I came to the same conclusion re fermenting my own EtOH. Seems easily the most cost effective and it's on the cards in the near future but in the meantime I found myself kind of at a loss-ish for an inexpensive stopgap solution. I had my suspicions about denatured alcohol not really being a viable option... after all if it was so easy to seperate the bittering agents and whatever else I think alot more ppl would be drinking the stuff. I think cheap Vodka may be ok in the timebeing for small amouts of 95% EtOH but the 'bio-flame' option seems the best option... I already distill paint stripper for the DCM and in the brand most likely used for us I think the second largest component is EtOH after DCM.

I figure I won't go as nuts with the alcohols as I'd like. Like you said, theres a load that are fairly obscure and at this early stage I just really need to think about aquiring all the basics first. I found locally sourced OTC 98% sulfuric acid as drain cleaner in an independant hardare store near me. Was very pleased about that as it appears hard to find in Aus (excluding ordering it or being a plumber and having easy access to the MoFlo brand.) I think I need to be a thinking alot more about aquiring more inorganics... CaCl2, ZnCl2, and other ionic compounds not to mention Pottasium permangante and things of that ilk... I'll figure it out in time...




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[*] posted on 24-12-2017 at 18:33


I have distilled the diggers brand metho and after distillation of a full litre I actually thought that the remaining stuff in the pot contained pyridine. It has that kind of fishy rank smell to it. The resulting alcohol was distilled a second time under vacuum and extensive drying over freshly activated 3a molecular sieves which works well. There is a BBQ&fireplaces chain of stores that sell bio ethanol in 5l bottles at a decent price which is quite pure already but with extra distillations it became great quality ethanol. The purest I have made though comes from turbo yeast and sugar. It requires significant work up but you can get a decent quality ethanol which can be consumed too if that’s your thing. For pretty cheap-minus the cost of energy to heat and distill it.
I would also recommend distillation of diggers brand acetone too. It’s worth it. There is a petroleum based oily residue left in the pot from my experiences. The effort taken to clean it up was worth it to get a reasonably clean acetone.




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[*] posted on 24-12-2017 at 21:45


Quote: Originally posted by NeonPulse  
I have distilled the diggers brand metho and after distillation of a full litre I actually thought that the remaining stuff in the pot contained pyridine. It has that kind of fishy rank smell to it.


Yeah I've been trawling around the net a fair bit re diggers mystery ingredients and I recall pyridine being mentioned at some point.

I'm watching your youtube vids (saw the link in your sig) and checked out (orr rather am checking it out as I type this... great tune in that vid by the way!) your one on anhydrous EtOH from rum. Now I know rum can contain various side products as a result of the fermentation process and some of these things are desired as they give rum(s) a certain flavour... esters for example, and was curious if it makes the distillation/purification process significantly more difficult (or at least more fiddly... as a process, extra steps for ex) than say, something like vodka which is made in such a fashion as to avoid such extra products.

Sorry if thats a stupid question. I'm new to distillation in general and beginning to learn that there are certain chemicals that are very hard to seperate via distillation alone...

I'm also not really interesting in EtOH for drinking. I'd rather just have a lemonade with one of my ADD meds opened up and mixed into it. Thatds If I want a drink to quench more than just my thirst haha. Yeah so basically as a solvent and a reagent is what im after. I think im going to try all the obvious methods and see how i go.

Any advice on types of yeast or things of that nature?




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[*] posted on 25-12-2017 at 22:47


When i attempted a fractional distillation of the stuff, (the purple stuff).
The main fraction boiled off around 72-73*C, i live pretty close to sea level so i doubt atmospheric pressure had much impact.

I had thought it was acetonitrile since the ternary aziotrope between ethanol, water and acetonitrile boils around this temp.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azeotrope_tables
When i tasted it, it had absolutely no bitterness, only a chemical type taste. (hard to describe)

I tasted it by putting a drop or 2 on my tongue. There should be absolutely no reason why this would be dangerous as the accessibility of the product is far to easy for something of extreme toxicity.
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