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[*] posted on 26-6-2011 at 16:38
Potassium carbonate from banana skins


I read on few pages that average banana contains about 460 miligrams of potassium while the skin of those bananas contains 40% of that potassium. That is about 180 mg of potassium per skin.

Since there are threads about isolation of potassium carbonate from wood ashes, I think it's better to isolate it from first dried and then burned banana skins. Ten banana skins on average would yield 1,5-2 grams of potassium, but if it's just potassium ion, there would be actually more by weight of potassium carbonate. That is a lot more than K2CO3 from wood ashes, as some people have extracted few kilos of wood ashes to get very small amount of it.

What do others think about that, is it better to isolate is from burned banana skins or wood ashes? Maybe I will perform an experiment with that and show the results.
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[*] posted on 26-6-2011 at 17:59


In terms of availability, wood ashes are abound [almost] anywhere. In contrast, 'naners might be seasonal or even rare for some. Extracting the potassium salt from banana peels would still be messy IMO.

On the other hand, it would be interesting to confirm roughly what proportion of elements (Na, K, Mg, etc)+ are present in a typical banana. It will depend on the local soil and (probably) the species.

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[*] posted on 26-6-2011 at 19:09


Sounds promising at least to the extent that your ashes should be highly enriched in potassium. Which approach is better depends on your resources and goals, of course...
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[*] posted on 27-6-2011 at 02:55


It depends on which one is more accessible for you. For me it would be banana skins.



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[*] posted on 27-6-2011 at 04:20


Quote: Originally posted by LanthanumK  
It depends on which one is more accessible for you. For me it would be banana skins.


Just how many chimps do you have out back? :)
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[*] posted on 27-6-2011 at 04:48


None, only humans who act like chimps.
If I wanted to synthesize K2CO3, I would start with 1 banana skin, not 100. Cero fireplaces make no ash.




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[*] posted on 27-6-2011 at 05:37


Hmm i did try this out before but I never really calculated the yields. I remember burning 5 peels till they turned to ash then washing the ash with some distilled water. The filtrate did leave some white stains on the side of the beaker when it was evaporated. Never tried this again since potash can be bought at the pottery store for cheap. I could give this a go again though. Since bananas are really cheap and tasty so why not lol
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[*] posted on 27-6-2011 at 08:51


Quote: Originally posted by Random  
I read on few pages that average banana contains about 460 miligrams of potassium while the skin of those bananas contains 40% of that potassium. That is about 180 mg of potassium per skin.e I will perform an experiment with that and show the results.


When done with this here dobe several other ideas.


Potassium carbonate was formerly manufactured almost entirely
from wood ashes. The ashes were treated with water, filtered, and
the solution evaporated. Nowadays, in addition to the above
source, most of the " potash " of commerce is obtained from three
sources: (a) from beet-root, (b) from the sweat of sheep, and
(c) from potassium sulfate. (a) The molasses from beet-root sugar
is allowed to ferment, and is then evaporated. A black mass
containing the potash is then obtained. (b) One-third of the weight
of the sweat of sheep is potassium compounds. The washings of
sheep wool are evaporated to dryness, and then heated in retorts.
What is left is carbon and various potassium salts, which are then
separated. (c) Potassium sulfate is obtained as a byproduct in
many processes. It is converted to the carbonate by a process
noted later under the manufacture of sodium carbonate.

An elementary experimental chemistry
By John Bernard Ekeley
1900
Google.com/books

See also

MANUFACTURE OF POTASSIUM SALTS
FROM SUINT. [Suint is French for sheep sweat.]
BY WILHKLM BOTT, PH.D.
Journal of the Society of Chemical Industry, Volume 2
1883

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[*] posted on 2-3-2012 at 07:37


after you would burn it though how would you get the K from all the ashes?
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[*] posted on 2-3-2012 at 07:47


He'll get its carbonate from the ash ─ I once saved my cigarette (cough!) ash for a few days, as an exercise, dumped it in water, filtered and evaporated to crystallise!
I got quite a bit more (mixed?) carbonate than I'd expected . . .




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[*] posted on 2-3-2012 at 07:55


so if ou mix it with water then evaperate it after draining you would have potasium?
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[*] posted on 2-3-2012 at 09:15


@ Pul,

Not to mention the bonus K you got from the KNO3 added to even out the tobaccos burn
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[*] posted on 2-3-2012 at 09:43


Yumm



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[*] posted on 3-3-2012 at 15:17


If I had banana skins, I would definitely try it. Wood ashes is a real mess and the yields are ridiculous.

Wood is more available for me, but I'll try bananas and post results if I get any.




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[*] posted on 4-3-2012 at 02:21


Just a thought. There may be other merits to this experiment.
http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2389/will-smoking-b...
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[*] posted on 4-3-2012 at 11:46


Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  
Wood ashes is a real mess and the yields are ridiculous.


Eh, but then wood will burn to ashes all on its own while banana skins may not. Anyway, sure, banana skins will get you ashes highly enriched in potassium compounds... but to me it sounds easier to put a kilo or two of wood ashes in a bucket and leach them than to obtain 100g of banana skin ashes, even if the latter might have a similar quantity of potassium salts.




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[*] posted on 4-3-2012 at 12:09


Quote:
Eh, but then wood will burn to ashes all on its own while banana skins may not.


If you know anything about building fires, wood will most certainly does not burn on its own. It takes a while to get logs to start burning. For your entertainment and information, banana skins will burn.

Quote:
but to me it sounds easier to put a kilo or two of wood ashes in a bucket and leach them than to obtain 100g of banana skin ashes.


Ahem, have you tried leeching potassium carbonate from wood ashes? I can assure you that it's easier said than done. I assure you that burning banana skins sounds like a better alternative, even if I'd have to wait a few months to get enough banana peels.

Besides, I'm not in a hurry:)




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[*] posted on 4-3-2012 at 17:05


Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  
I assure you that burning banana skins sounds like a better alternative, even if I'd have to wait a few months to get enough banana peels.


Composting 101?! :)

Banana trees grow like weeds around here. I wonder how much K is in the stalks and leaves. I know, mostly water when freshly cut but if left to dry in the sun a few days then calcined...? (for curiosity's sake)

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[*] posted on 4-3-2012 at 17:36


Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  

Ahem, have you tried leeching potassium carbonate from wood ashes? I can assure you that it's easier said than done.


Indeed I have; I even posted my experience here: http://www.sciencemadness.org/talk/viewthread.php?tid=13527&...

I agree it's a pain (though it doesn't need to be quite as difficult as I made it on my first try), but the banana skin ashes would still require performance of a lot of the steps I did, just on a smaller scale.




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[*] posted on 13-3-2012 at 04:00


how much potassium carbonate is obtained from 1kg of wood ash
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[*] posted on 13-3-2012 at 10:47


Quote: Originally posted by Vikascoder  
how much potassium carbonate is obtained from 1kg of wood ash


When I did it, I got a solution that was so dilute I didn't bother evaporating the water.

I'd say about a gram or so, if not less.




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[*] posted on 13-3-2012 at 11:42


Quote: Originally posted by Vikascoder  
how much potassium carbonate is obtained from 1kg of wood ash


It varies depending on the source material. Hardwood ash is actually significantly poorer in potassium than that obtained by burning leafier or succulent plants. However, it's still about 4% K2CO3 (or KOH) by weight.
If you read my attempt (linked to above) I only got 106g of K2CO3 from 15kg of wood ashes, i.e. less than 1%. However, I experienced avoidable losses (or sacrificed yield) at numerous points along the way. If I were to do the experiment again I expect I could get 2%.




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[*] posted on 24-6-2012 at 15:19


This may help answer some questions.

http://pdfcast.org/pdf/chemical-composition-of-musa-sapientu...

I've got one question though, any real reason to extract the K from the banana peels? If you are like me I'm assuming it's for a home garden or something similar.

Any ice cream shop (banana splits) or fruit smoothie bar would probably be glad to collect a reasonable amount of peels for you if you are looking for larger amounts of peels.

My suggestion is to dry them first, flat on a piece of cardboard in a hot garage during the summer works well. Next a simple (relatively cheap) smoker box from any store selling grilling supplies should work. Start a fire on your grill and load the box w/ peels and wait.

Here's what I do different though. I use distilled vinegar on the ashes to make KCH3COO then filter the ash. Potassium Acetate is a great foliar feed on veggie plants.
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[*] posted on 19-12-2012 at 16:48


What about grass clippings, how much potassium/sodium content do they contain?



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[*] posted on 20-12-2012 at 08:22


Quote: Originally posted by elementcollector1  
What about grass clippings, how much potassium/sodium content do they contain?


A study, linked below, conducted for biofuel purposes, found that the ash content (basically total minerals) in various types of grasses varied from about 1%-10%. Switchgrass, in specific, was found to contain 5580 ppm of potassium by dry weight when fresh. The longer it lays around, the more potassium leaches out.

http://ncsungrant.sdstate.org/uploads/publications/SGINC1-07...




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