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Author: Subject: Campa-chem original as formaldehyde source?
SuperOxide
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Campa-chem original as formaldehyde source?

The other day when I was at Walmart, out of boredom I started looking at random products that I thought might contain interesting chemicals that could be of use. I stumbled across a product called Campa Chem Original (products website), and on the back it said it contained formaldehyde. I took some photos which can be seen below (or full sizes on Imgur).

I had a hard time finding an MSDS that specifically said it was for the Campa Chem Original product, and not the Campa Chem Natural or some other Campa Chem product. The MSDS I found is actually on SM (link), but again, since it doesn't say "original" in the product name, I'm not 100% sure it's the same thing.

I was was wondering - Does anyone have experience using the Campa Chem Original as a source for formaldehyde? The product label says it contains formaldehyde in methanol, but if I wanted to create a formalin solution, could I just add some water then distill off the methanol?

I did search the forums here and didn't find too much on it, so I thought I'd start a thread about it. I apologize if there is a thread that I didn't see.

[Edited on 24-12-2020 by SuperOxide]
aromaticfanatic
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I've used this stuff to make hexamine. The hexamine synthesis seemed to work with it and I got a flammable solid that was very blue colored from the color of the campa chem.

paulll
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Mood: It's fine. Really.

I read this about an hour ago and now I have formaldehyde. Good find, thanks for that!
SuperOxide
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 Quote: Originally posted by aromaticfanatic I've used this stuff to make hexamine. The hexamine synthesis seemed to work with it and I got a flammable solid that was very blue colored from the color of the campa chem.

Awesome! You were able to use it as-is with the methanol in it?
Also, I looked around for hexamine based fuel tablets in the camping/fishing aisles, didn't find anything. I asked a few employees and got a dumb look, lol. I took pictures of the products and I figured I'll look up the MSDS for them if I needed them that badly. But if this product works for formaldehyde that well, then I probably wont need the fuel tablets.

 Quote: Originally posted by paulll I read this about an hour ago and now I have formaldehyde. Good find, thanks for that!

Haha, no worries, glad I could help! Imagine my face when I picked up a random product in the RV/Camper aisle and saw "Contains formaldehyde" :-O

[Edited on 25-12-2020 by SuperOxide]
SuperOxide
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 Quote: Originally posted by aromaticfanatic I've used this stuff to make hexamine. The hexamine synthesis seemed to work with it and I got a flammable solid that was very blue colored from the color of the campa chem.

If I wanted to get rid of the color, do you think simple distillation would suffice?
aromaticfanatic
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Quote: Originally posted by SuperOxide
 Quote: Originally posted by aromaticfanatic I've used this stuff to make hexamine. The hexamine synthesis seemed to work with it and I got a flammable solid that was very blue colored from the color of the campa chem.

If I wanted to get rid of the color, do you think simple distillation would suffice?

From a 30 second non in depth google search I saw the term methanol-formaldehyde-water ternary azeotrope pop up so you could get rid of the color impurity as well as some other gunk but you would still have the three components. Keep in mind I didn't look into it too much.

I never did test if what I had was truly hexamine but it burned and seemed to behave a bit like hexamine in terms of crystal structure and the like. I never did a melting point test or anything so it could have been something else. I should check if I may have made something else back then. I used ammonia and the campa rid.

SuperOxide
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 Quote: Originally posted by aromaticfanatic From a 30 second non in depth google search...
Geez, dunk on my Google-fu why don't you.

 Quote: Originally posted by aromaticfanatic ... I saw the term methanol-formaldehyde-water ternary azeotrope pop up so you could get rid of the color impurity as well as some other gunk but you would still have the three components. Keep in mind I didn't look into it too much.
I see, well maybe separating the water or methanol out of the ternary azeotrope is something I can play around with as well.
I know this is just garage chem, but if I can purify the formaldehyde before I experiment with it, that would be ideal.

Thanks again, aromaticfanatic.
aromaticfanatic
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Quote: Originally posted by SuperOxide
 Quote: Originally posted by aromaticfanatic From a 30 second non in depth google search...
Geez, dunk on my Google-fu why don't you.

 Quote: Originally posted by aromaticfanatic ... I saw the term methanol-formaldehyde-water ternary azeotrope pop up so you could get rid of the color impurity as well as some other gunk but you would still have the three components. Keep in mind I didn't look into it too much.
I see, well maybe separating the water or methanol out of the ternary azeotrope is something I can play around with as well.
I know this is just garage chem, but if I can purify the formaldehyde before I experiment with it, that would be ideal.

Thanks again, aromaticfanatic.

the 30 second thing was just to make sure you knew that I simply skimmed over some stuff and am not 100% sure if they actually formed an azeotrope. I'll add the link real quick.

https://www.buffalobrewingstl.com/chemical-equilibrium/k.htm...

Here's another site I found that might be of use to you:

https://patents.justia.com/patent/6478929

There were some other sites that talked about separating the three components via membranes and stuff but I think that's not what you're going for.

If I were you I'd just set up fractional distillation with good ventilation and just start distilling. Record the temperature of every fraction. You can collect each fraction or you can also just let it all collect in a flask and you would probably have methanol water and formaldehyde without the coloring and ither non volatile agents.

I would recommend not distilling to dryness since my stuff seemed pretty thick. I would imagine that the glycols formed from the formaldhyde and water or methanol could be responsible for this but leaving a bit of liquid left might save you from having to painstakingly clean a gunked up flask.

Either way good luck and share your results as I'm sure people on here would love to see the results of your experiment!

UC235
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You do know that formalin normally contains 10-15% methanol to limit polymerization of the formaldehyde, right? Without it, you get paraformaldehyde. In solution it is present as hydroxy and methoxy-terminated polyoxymethylene oligomers. That old MSDS specifies that for shipping purposes it is "Formaldehyde solutions, with not less than 25% formaldehyde" meaning it is quite strong. I would imagine it's basically formalin with dye and like every other commercial product probably added salts and thickeners to make using it for illicit purposes difficult.

Perhaps it can be converted to a crude paraformaldehyde as in this thread: http://www.sciencemadness.org/talk/viewthread.php?tid=19529

Given the solid's poor solubility in cold water in the absence of acid or base and alcohol and insolubility in many organic solvents, perhaps the crude solid could be effectively washed free of dye and other contaminants by trituration.

SuperOxide
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 Quote: Originally posted by UC235 You do know that formalin normally contains 10-15% methanol to limit polymerization of the formaldehyde, right? Without it, you get paraformaldehyde.
I remember reading that on Wikipedia, but it obviously slipped my mind, so thanks for pointing that out. I'll definitely read up on formaldehyde/formalin a bit more before I experiment with it, just so I can use it safely and don't make any stupid mistakes.

 Quote: Originally posted by UC235 That old MSDS specifies that for shipping purposes it is "Formaldehyde solutions, with not less than 25% formaldehyde" meaning it is quite strong. I would imagine it's basically formalin with dye and like every other commercial product probably added salts and thickeners to make using it for illicit purposes difficult.
Right, that's what I was assuming as well. I wasn't 100% sure that the MSDS document I linked to was indeed referencing this specific product (just the document lacking the Original in the product name gave me some room to doubt).

By the way, UC235, I love your YouTube channel! Absolutely amazing stuff. I used your video of phthalic acid extraction from DEHP gloves as somewhat of a guideline - Still no idea how you got such a great yield, lol. Please keep it up!

Thanks again.
SuperOxide
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I purchased the 1 quart bottle today (cheaper than I thought, I was expecting like $10, it was less than$5), and I plan on distilling it to get rid of some of the color. The MSDS says it should distill over at ~99°C, so that's pretty convenient. I may post some pictures of the results, just to share if I was able to get rid of the color or not.
unionised
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Distilling a solution of a gas can be challenging...
Imagine you were trying to distil a solution of ammonia in water. How well would that work?
How do you plan to trap formaldehyde vapour (boiling point minus 19 C)?

[Edited on 29-12-20 by unionised]
SuperOxide
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 Quote: Originally posted by unionised Distilling a solution of a gas can be challenging... Imagine you were trying to distil a solution of ammonia in water. How well would that work? How do you plan to trap formaldehyde vapour (boiling point minus 19 C)? [Edited on 29-12-20 by unionised]

I saw that formaldehyde vapour boils at -19C on Wikipedia. In a comment above, aromaticfanatic pointed out that formaldehyde + water + methanol mixture forms a ternary azeotrope.
I don't think I'll have time to try it out this week, probably next week. So I'll have some time to research it a little more. Regardless, I'll probably do a small test run to begin with.
macckone
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A couple of notes:
1) if you boil formaldehyde solution you get some formaldehyde escaping and some polymerizing.
2) formaldehyde is very soluble in water and solutions usually contain methanol or ethanol to stabilize it
3) that blue crude is the devil
4) paraformaldehyde can easily be dissolved in water by heating to 65C.
5) paraformaldehyde will release high purity formaldehyde gas when dry heated.

Hope that helps.
roXefeller
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7 That high purity formaldehyde also likes to condense everywhere. I once stunk myself out of the lab trying to dry heat paraformaldehyde. Oh gosh.

One must forego the self to attain total spiritual creaminess and avoid the chewy chunks of degradation.
SuperOxide
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 Quote: Originally posted by macckone A couple of notes: [...] 2) formaldehyde is very soluble in water and solutions usually contain methanol or ethanol to stabilize it

Right, this one certainly does (methanol).

 Quote: Originally posted by macckone 3) that blue crude is the devil

Care to elaborate?... You mean the formaldehyde/CampaChem? Or the blue dye in it? (Or both?)

 Quote: Originally posted by roXefeller 7 That high purity formaldehyde also likes to condense everywhere. I once stunk myself out of the lab trying to dry heat paraformaldehyde. Oh gosh.

Oh jeez, I was going to do it outside, but if it's that bad maybe my neighbors would get a little curious (not that this is illegal I don't think, but my neighbor is a cop, which means he's likely pessimistic about any off label chemical use... or funky smells).

Maybe I should look for a different route to purify it. Thanks for the input guys.

[Edited on 31-12-2020 by SuperOxide]
roXefeller
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The blue devil is the dye/fragrance they put in it (for chemical toilets afterall).

I'm working up a fume hood, just can't get it done fast enough.

One must forego the self to attain total spiritual creaminess and avoid the chewy chunks of degradation.
SuperOxide
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Has anyone tried synthesizing methylamine HCl using this as the formaldehyde source?

This was one of the reactions I wanted to try, but since getting the blue dye out of the Campa-Chem isn't as easy as I thought, maybe it can be used as-is, reacted with ammonium chloride to yield [probably blue] methylamine HCl, then that can be purified to get the color out (probably just a recryst).
macckone
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Now you know why the meth is blue.
Fyndium
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W.W knew that with a couple of spoons of activated carbon the color can easily be neutralized, but when he noticed the color became a brand, he didn't tell no one it was in fact an impurity.

For the note, the stuff sold in EU does not contain formaldehyde, because of EU. At least I couldn't find, instead, every sales text states that "contains no formaldehyde".

[Edited on 14-1-2021 by Fyndium]
SuperOxide
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 Quote: Originally posted by macckone Now you know why the meth is blue.

 Quote: Originally posted by Fyndium W.W knew that with a couple of spoons of activated carbon the color can easily be neutralized, but when he noticed the color became a brand, he didn't tell no one it was in fact an impurity.

How did I not think of that... And that's one of my favorite shows of all time, lol.

Well, I think I will try the synth out sometime next week if I have time (the methylamine HCl synth, not the meth synth. Meth isn't my cup of tea).
If anyone has tried it, I would love it if you shared your results, but either way I will share mine.
My hope is that since purifying the campa-chem isn't as easy as I hoped, I can purify the chemicals I make using it instead. I'll see how that works out (with pics of the crude and purified versions).
aromaticfanatic
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Meth is actually not blue. That was all from the show. Some drug dealers put blue dye in their meth since people thought meth was actually pure when blue. Quite the opposite actually. Pure meth is a clear crystalline solid or a white powder.
SuperOxide
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 Quote: Originally posted by aromaticfanatic Meth is actually not blue. That was all from the show. Some drug dealers put blue dye in their meth since people thought meth was actually pure when blue. Quite the opposite actually. Pure meth is a clear crystalline solid or a white powder.

Yeah, It was just a joke, lol. Or at least I hope it was. I don't think anyone actually thinks meth is blue.

Man, I hope this doesn't turn into a meth thread >_<

[Edited on 16-1-2021 by SuperOxide]
macckone
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It is only blue if you use campa chem or add dye
Fyndium
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Quote: Originally posted by SuperOxide
 Quote: Originally posted by aromaticfanatic Meth meth meth Pure meth
meth