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Author: Subject: Starting a Home Lab
zasx20
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smile.gif posted on 14-6-2011 at 16:19
Starting a Home Lab


Hello
I have always wanted a home chemistry lab, but i don't know where to start or what are the risks involved(Other than the chemicals themselves)? I have had 2 full chemistry sets and 3 partial ones and I know a decent amount about it. Once i do this I would like to do chemistry for YouTube and whatnot. Also what are the basic laws on home chemistry. Any answer or opinion is appreciated.:)
Thanks
Zasx20(Aten747)& Team "P"
NOTE: i have absolutely NO intentions of doing anything illegal what so ever. i am just looking to explore chemistry.
[Edited on 15-6-2011 by zasx20]

[Edited on 15-6-2011 by zasx20]
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LanthanumK
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[*] posted on 14-6-2011 at 17:05


Use the "Search" button on the top of this forum page. You can search in any specific area that you want on this site for any past discussions.

If your questions are not answered directly by a search, you may contact a user that offers help, such as me (lakraskci@hotmail.com).

It is best not to start or end with explosives or drugs. Commonly available elements like copper are good to start with.

You can look up MSDS (material safety data sheets) for your chemicals to know their hazards.

I'm sure other members can come up with much more.




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bob800
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[*] posted on 14-6-2011 at 19:09


Some great books for starting out are The Golden Book of Chemistry Experiments, and Experimenting with Chemistry: Experiments for the Home Lab. Also, the Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry Experiments is a newer book which includes a section on setting up a lab, which is quite helpful. Some basic chemistry knowledge is presented in the Golden Book of Chemistry Experiments, but you should get a real chemistry textbook if you want to learn more.

There's no need to buy a ton of equipment and chemicals right at first, just slowly build up your lab as you learn. A set of test tubes, a few beakers and Erlenmeyer flasks, and an alcohol burner is enough equipment for many more experiments than you might expect.

The "laws" about home chemistry are really a sort of grey area, though they have been discussed on this forum if you search. The bottom line, however, is that the police could easily get you if they really wanted. For example, there's a disclaimer on almost every household chemical: "It is a violation of federal law to use this product in a manner inconstant with its labeling". So technically if you sprayed your cleaner 8-10 inches instead of 5-6 inches, you could violate federal law! Basically, just keep your hobby low-profile, use an excess of common sense, respect your neighbors (i.e. don't flood your backyard with Cl<sub>2</sub>;), and you should be fine. Also, have a look at the DEA list I and II chemicals (if you're in the US): http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/chem_prog/34chems.htm. The list II chemicals are almost impossible to avoid (like HCl), but they're so common that it won't really matter.

Chemistry can be dangerous; it can be extremely dangerous if you don't use common sense. But so can anything else in life. Most inorganic chemicals in the books I mentioned present no terrible safety risk, except for the mercury/lead/arsenic salts used in the Burton Hawk book. If you're unsure of the toxicity of a chemical, just do a google search for the name of the compound followed by "MSDS". Also (more common sense here!), make sure you understand what you're doing! It's good practice to keep a notebook and write out an equation for each experiment you do. Just think ahead and use common sense!

Also, you'll probably be asking soon for a source of chemicals. As frustrating as it is, most of the members here are hesitant to openly give out chemical supplier names due to irresponsible use of them (i.e. making explosives, drugs, etc.). However, keep in mind the vast amount of chemicals available OTC, especially at hardware stores! I can buy sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid, copper sulfate, sodium bisulfate, sodium carbonate, etc. from local stores! A majority of the chemicals used in the Golden Book of Chemistry Experiments should be available locally.

Another fantastic source of experiments is a website made by our genius/moderator woelen: http://woelen.homescience.net/science/index.html.

Good luck on setting up your lab, and keep reading Sciencemadness!
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woelen
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[*] posted on 14-6-2011 at 22:38


A page, specific for starters is also available on my website:

http://woelen.homescience.net/science/chem/misc/homelab.html

This gives some info on which chemicals to start with, which glassware to buy, etc. Start off moderately and select a subject which you really would like to investigate. Based on that decision you can start with a set of chemicals, needed for that direction of chemistry.

Some relatively safe and easy to investigate subjects from inorganic chemistry are:
- transition metal chemistry (redox reactions, complexes, precipitation)
- halogen chemistry (requires some more care as elemental halogens are toxic)
- synthesis of your own chemicals (e.g. making CuCl2.2H2O, making NiSO4.6H2O) from very basic materials
- electrolysis (requires a decent power supply, a modified PC ATX power supply is OK: http://woelen.homescience.net/science/chem/misc/psu.html).

To my opinion, organic chemistry is a much harder subject to start with. Reactions usually are slower and incomplete, you need much more glassware and other equipment. There are a few interesting organic chemistry reactions, also for starters (e.g. making iodoform), but this kind of easy reactions are few. In inorganic chemistry there are many more possibilities




The art of wondering makes life worth living...
Want to wonder? Look at https://woelen.homescience.net
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#maverick#
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[*] posted on 14-6-2011 at 22:47


also make sure you have an area dedicated to chemistry even if it means a table in your basement, no food in the lab ever, always wear goggles & gloves, keep everything well labeled and organized and have msds's on hand also keep a notebook and keep a list of the reagents you have how much of it and the date purchased, also proper shelving and chemical cabinets would be ideal, but at the very least be very organized, keep small amounts of solvents in wash bottles and the bigger jugs/ cans seperatly, because police look for this type of stuff when identifying meth labs, so better to be safe than sorry.

sorry if this post didnt make very much sense its late =(




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[*] posted on 30-6-2011 at 02:28


My laboratory has created the family for three years.
The beginning of the creation,I was reading junior high school.
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barley81
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[*] posted on 30-6-2011 at 14:58


I am also starting a home lab. I have found great deals on basic equipment. Keep an eye out for sales (on Ebay, Craigslist, Sciencemadness). You never know what you may find. If you live in the US, here are some brands of locally available chemicals:

Zep/Rooto Root Killer, pure copper sulfate (check label)
(home depot, lowes)

Rooto 100% Lye Drain Cleaner, pure NaOH
(Ace hardware)

Rooto Professional Drain Cleaner - conc. H<sub>2</sub>SO4, pure by the looks of it
(Ace hardware)

Arm and Hammer Washing Soda - sodium carbonate (decahydrate)
(Stop & Shop, other groceries)

No Salt/Nu Salt - potassium chloride
(grocery)

Bonide stump remover - sodium metabisulfite
(Home depot, lowes)

Spectracide stump remover - potassium nitrate (not that pure)
(Lowes only)

Epsom salts - magnesium sulfate heptahydrate
(CVS)

Ace Janitorial Strength Ammonia - good quality, surfactant free 10% ammonia

Many organic solvents can be bought at hardware stores - Acetone, MEK, toluene, turpentine, xylene, denatured alcohol

Roach killer/insect killer, comes in a "ketchup-style" squeeze bottle with nozzle - boric acid
(Sold at various hardware stores)

31.45% HCl, sold as muriatic acid, also at hardware stores

(impure):
Hydrated lime - impure Ca(OH)<sub>2</sub>
Garden sulfur - 90% sulfur
Nitrate of soda - sodium nitrate
(sold at garden stores)

In the pool section of Walmart:
"HTH Brom-Start" sodium bromide
Various types of pool shock (for generating Cl<sub>2</sub>;):
Calcium hypochlorite
Sodium dichloroisocyanurate

Pool chlorinator tablets - trichloroisocyanuric acid
pH lowering agent - sodium bisulfate

This is just a few of the chemicals you can buy at the store. Try Readily Available Chemicals for more. I know this is repetition, but it is (hopefully) convenient repetition. Good luck!
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LanthanumK
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[*] posted on 30-6-2011 at 15:04


You can get pickling lime, which is food grade, at Walmart: its only ingredient is calcium hydroxide.



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barley81
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[*] posted on 30-6-2011 at 17:57


Do you know what the brand is? Sounds like a great source of lime! Is it from the store in Union?
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[*] posted on 30-6-2011 at 19:49


barley81 has a good list there. Make sure you buy kosher salt as it does not contain KI. The site made my a SM member has a great guide for generally where you can find OTC chemicals, redily available chemicals, can be found here: http://www.hyperdeath.co.uk/chemicals/. I recently made a video on where I buy things: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LCuSiUE9tQ. The illustrated guide to home chemistry has great info on where to set your lab up, and this is very important. Choosing a good location is key.



My YouTube Channel

"Nothing is too wonderful to be true if it be consistent with the laws of nature." -Michael Faraday
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LanthanumK
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[*] posted on 1-7-2011 at 02:59


I'm not sure about the brand of Ca(OH)2. I was just looking around in the "Home Living" section and saw it in the middle of the store, along with pickling salt.



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