Sciencemadness Discussion Board

Where to buy - Boiling Chips

johnny_questions - 19-5-2016 at 18:28

Good day,

This is my first post on these forums and I would like to start by thanking everyone for all the insightful information that I have found here. My question today is for those of you living in Canada, I am looking for a good lab supplies company that sells to consumers and offers carbon boiling chips at a reasonable price. Anyone know of such a business or website?



Sulaiman - 19-5-2016 at 22:17

I do not know of a supplier
but the carbon rods in 6V lantern batteries are made to be porous
maybe a suitable substitute ?
(ater the dirty work of battery dissection (keep the high purity no-mercury zinc pots), burning/vapourising off the wax, breaking into sections, chemically cleaning and drying :D

Texium - 20-5-2016 at 07:59

Depending on what you're doing, even just using some chunks of clean, natural marble or granite would work if it doesn't contain acid that could react with it, especially if you're distilling and it won't contaminate your product.

DraconicAcid - 20-5-2016 at 08:10

Break a ceramic bowl into chunks.

macckone - 20-5-2016 at 19:57

In the us rosching rings are available from brewing suppliers.

johnny_questions - 20-5-2016 at 19:57

All great ideas, thanks. I am not especially satisfied with the thought of potentially unknown contaminants from say marble/granite or ceramic chunks. Any suggestions on a method of thoroughly cleaning such things?

Amos - 20-5-2016 at 20:03

All of my boiling chips are pieces of very pure quartz from local geodes. They're rugged and do an excellent job. If that's something you can come by easily, I'd give it a try. Strong acids should work well to clean any robust silicon dioxide-based material.

careysub - 20-5-2016 at 21:08

How about the silica gel that comes in those little packets everyone gets in packages?

crystal grower - 20-5-2016 at 22:55

Try activated carbon for aquarium filters.

ganger631 - 20-5-2016 at 23:46

Why dont people suggest regular lime glass? I use chipped glass from glass bottle and use them as boiling chip for distilling sulfuric acid. No problem so far.

diddi - 21-5-2016 at 00:27

I use smashed up quartz also :)

macckone - 21-5-2016 at 06:27

Aquarium cbarcoal is going to have contaminants that while safe for fish may not be good for reactions. You want food grade charcoal from a brewing supply. It will be free of anything that would impart taste. Glass is good but tends to lack pores for nucleation. Silica gel will be pretty pure and have pores. Ceramics do not contain volatiles but some metal oxides may dissolve in strong acids. Most rings are ceramic but are made from components are generally confined to alumina silicates with sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium as additions.

100PercentChemistry - 21-5-2016 at 06:47

Depending on the use I use broken glass rods ;)

hissingnoise - 21-5-2016 at 11:52

I have tried quartz chips and found that they leave visible scratches in flasks!

Mailinmypocket - 21-5-2016 at 12:25

Check an aquarium supply store. There are some filter medias that are highly porous material, they vary in dentities but they serve as support medium for biological filters. Break that up (or buy a variety with smaller grains, some are the size of actual boiling chips) and they work a treat for the purpose of being boiling chips!

Biological Filter Media

S.C. Wack - 21-5-2016 at 12:34

Quote: Originally posted by johnny_questions  
carbon boiling chips


johnny_questions - 21-5-2016 at 18:41

I've given the idea of cutting open a Brita filter some serious thought. Is there any difference between activated charcoal for say a water filter and Walter stern 501A grade boiling chips?

Mailinmypocket - 21-5-2016 at 19:01

You're just looking for something inert enough (depending on what chemicals it's interacting with) and with lots of pointy edges to provide nucleation points. Boiling chips are just that. I would take boiling chips before anything but otherwise charcoal, aquarium bio-support ceramic stuff or broken dishes work best. The bio media stuff is made to have many surfaces for the bacteria to colonize

Like this:

image.jpeg - 120kB

[Edited on 22-5-2016 by Mailinmypocket]

johnny_questions - 22-5-2016 at 17:16

Matrix by seachem shown above is actually available near me for pretty cheap and according to the SDS is 100% pumice which I believe (correct me if I'm wrong) can withstand even conc sulfuric acid quite well. Hmm! I think I found my solution...

careysub - 23-5-2016 at 05:43

Quote: Originally posted by johnny_questions  
Matrix by seachem shown above is actually available near me for pretty cheap and according to the SDS is 100% pumice which I believe (correct me if I'm wrong) can withstand even conc sulfuric acid quite well. Hmm! I think I found my solution...

Pumice is of variable composition. Any explosive gas release in molten magma creates pumice - its formation is a mechanical process - and so its composition depends entirely on the magma from which it formed.

You''ll want to test your pumice with acid and base I expect to check for stability in those conditions.

The fact that pumice generally floats on water may need to be taken into account (but might well sink in lighter solvents). Since bumping usually starts on the bottom of a flask this may not be desirable. I had thought about perlite, but did not suggest it because it is so extremely light.

I should also mention two types of highly porous inert hydroponic media which should work very well: LECA (lightweight expanded clay aggregate) and growstones. The former are round pellets, which you would probably want to crack into pieces and the latter are irregular chunks. Growstone is pure glass, LECA is clay fired at a very high temperature.

johnny_questions - 23-5-2016 at 12:45

LECA seems like a messy option given the amount of dust it creates and growstone isn't readily available in my area, what about ceramic rings? How do you gents feel the following would compare to say lab grade column packing raschig rings?


RogueRose - 24-5-2016 at 14:04

I broke a glass earlier and thought I would try using it for boiling chips and it seems there are no bubbles coming off of them as compared to the ceramic chips I have in the flask.

Is this because the sides of the glass are too smooth?