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Author: Subject: Sodium Borohydride from chinese supplier
*FWOOSH*
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Sodium Borohydride from chinese supplier

So after a lot of research and looking around I ended up purchasing a 25kg drum of NaBH4 from a supplier off of Alibaba. I made sure to go through Paypal rather than something like Western Union, and they were actually fine with that, they just had me cover the paypal fee. They said they would ship it via Fedex.
I plan on testing the purity by comparing the amount of hydrogen produced upon reaction with water to a sample of known quality from Chemsavers. The chinese stuff is supposed to be 98+%.
Payment sent last night so lets see how this goes.

Any thoughts?

[Edited on 15-10-2013 by *FWOOSH*]
bismuthate
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25kg! Are you sure you don't mean 25g? Why do you need that much? How much did it cost?

I'm not a liar, I'm just an enthusiastic celebrant of opposite day.
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Blue Matter
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Goodness how much was it 5 grand. If this is legit I might be knterested in 500g if you are willing to sell.

[Edited on 15-10-2013 by Blue Matter]

*FWOOSH*
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I mean 25 KG.
The thing is, I DON'T need anywhere near that much. But I use it quite often and I got tired of feeling like I was throwing money down the drain every time I reduced something in macroscale, especially if I screwed up and had to start over.
So I spent a while looking around and found that these chinese suppliers sell it at $10-30 /kg, but that's only on orders of hundreds of kilos and/or tons. Long story short, I found someone willing to sell small (down to just a couple kilograms ) quantities. I got ~40% off after shipping (which is really quite expensive...) for getting 25 kg instead of 5 kg so I went for it. Final total after a bit of haggling was$1400, not sure if customs duties are gonna be required by fedex on delivery.

If this is legit I do plan on selling most of it, thus this post. I want to avoid getting ahead of myself and pricing things before I have it in hand, but I'd be pretty excited to share this with you guys.

Or it could be a poorly though out scam and I'll just have to get a refund from paypal.
Crossing my fingers.
kristofvagyok
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Just an idea: check it's purity after it arrives. The company where I worked ordered something from China, 2k USD/kg and they send some gypsum for this price. So we've just got the most expensive gypsum ever made.

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*FWOOSH*
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@kristofvagyok
I included that in the OP
I was planning on testing it by comparing hydrogen formation on reaction with water (maybe dilute HCl, or just both for the hell of it) with that of some NaBH4 I got from Chemsavers recently.
I've heard all sorts of horror stories about Chinese "suppliers", but that is some damn expensive gypsum hahaha
bfesser
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A procedure similar to the first one I linked to in a <a href="viewthread.php?tid=25421#pid294293">LiAlH<sub>4</sub> topic</a>, then? If this works out for you, I'd be one of the many interested potential customers.

*FWOOSH*
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@bfesser
Something like that, there're a couple threads in here on testing metal hydrides. I don't think it's the best way to do a quantitative test, but if I compare it to a good sample and run it a couple times I should get a fairly accurate measure of relative quality. I think it'd be pretty awesome to give you all access to more reasonably priced NaBH4, stuff's just too f***ing expensive for us hobbyists.
Random
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Be careful if it's dilluted with for example carbonate you may think it's actually pure. Take this into consideration.
*FWOOSH*
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I was actually just thinking about that, that's why I was thinking using a dilute acid and just water. I might see how it handles a basic solution too, as NaBH4 is relatively stable in that environment. If it's another chemical that produces hydrogen on contact with water it should give a different result than the pure sample upon mixture with acid and/or base. Carbonate should only produce hydrogen in dilute acid. I was thinking I might send a reputable member of this forum a sample too, just so they can verify everything. But I'm threatening to get ahead of myself again
stoichiometric_steve
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 Quote: Originally posted by Random Be careful if it's dilluted with for example carbonate you may think it's actually pure. Take this into consideration.

BaCl2 will show the difference.
*FWOOSH*
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Good Idea

Thanks Steve, I'll keep that in mind.
Another thought I had was to mix the powder thoroughly when I get it, to make sure adulterants or lower grade isn't hidden between layers of genuine borohydride.
That has the potential to be quite awkward if were to unwittingly sell it to someone

[Edited on 16-10-2013 by *FWOOSH*]
woelen

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Why not titrate the material against iodine.

Weigh a certain amount of your NaBH4 (e.g. 50.0 mg). Dissolve in water, to which some NaOH is added. In such solutions, the NaBH4 hardly looses any H2 if the solution is kept cool and only kept around for a short time. If you cannot weigh out 50.0 mg, then weigh out 1.00 gram, dissolve this in 200 ml of water and take 10 ml of this solution.

Determine how much I2 is needed to oxidize all of the NaBH4 to borate(III). One mole of NaBH4 requires 4 moles of I2. Keep in mind that only a very small amount of NaBH4 requires a large amount of I2 (one gram of NaBH4 requires almost 27 grams of I2). In the above situation (where you take 0.0500 grams of NaBH4) you need to weigh precisely approximately 1.5 grams grams of iodine and 1 gram of NaOH (which is a good excess amount).
Dissolve the NaOH in some water, allow to cool well, and then dissolve the I2 in this solution. Quickly add this solution to the solution of NaBH4 and stir well. After a few minutes, add a slight excess amount of acid to this solution, such that free iodine is formed again (brown color).
Titrate the amount of iodine with a solution of Na2S2O3.5H2O. If this titration tells you there was an excess amount of appr. 0.0053 mole of iodine, then you have nearly pure NaBH4. If much more iodine was left over, then your NaBH4 has less reducing power and is of inferior quality.

This method is much more precise than the production of H2 and is also easier to perform (provided you have a decent scale with which you can weigh small quantities of chemicals). The reduction is performed in alkaline solution totally and hence no H2 is formed. All of the BH4(-) ions is tranformed to some borate(III)-species in the alkaline solutions. Iodine is present as hypoiodite and maybe some iodate. Any excess hypoiodite and iodate quickly are transformed to elemental I2 if the solution is acidified again and the iodine remains in solution, because of all the iodide ions formed on reduction of NaBH4. With starch as indicator you can do a precise titration.

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The_Davster
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[split]

Kristofvagyok: If you are getting anything made or ordered direct from China, go through a sourcing agent. They love to fuck people they do not know over. A decent sourcing agent will 'make friends' with the desired companies and ensure you get the real stuff. They have a word over there, which I forget currently, that is especially for the role of personal relationships in business. A sourcing agent will also take on some risk for you and guarantee the stuff you are getting is good.
Oscilllator
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Unfortunately I am unfamiliar with the location "ooo esss ahhh." Where are you situated, and are you willing to ship to australia? I would be interested in buying about 500g.

Finnnicus
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Methinks its USA. uuu ssss aaaa
Wonder how much that is? (500g - USA to Australia)

BTW: I'm not interesting in buying any, if I've given that impression.

*FWOOSH*
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@woelen
I guess I didn't think of a titration. Sounds a lot more reliable than my original plan haha. I'd have to acquire some I2 first, but that shouldn't be much of an issue for this small a quantity. I coincidentally just acquired a couple burettes and some sodium thiosulphate so that's quite doable with my equipment, I live within driving distance of United Nuclear so I can probably just go pick up a bit of I2 sometime this week.
I have one of these:
http://www.amazon.com/American-Weigh-GEMINI-20-Portable-Mill...
For just such purposes, they're cheap and quite reliable. I've found that they're accurate within 3mg with careful use.

@Oscillator/Finnicus
I guess that may not have been as clear as I thought, but yes, it was supposed to mean USA. I would be willing to ship to OZ, but I'd need to brush up on the local regs first as it is a singularly difficult country to ship too. And If I need to use Fedex to ship it could get pricey. But like I said earlier, I don't really want to get ahead of myself and start pricing things until I know it's going to work out.

[Edited on 17-10-2013 by *FWOOSH*]
watson.fawkes
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 Quote: Originally posted by The_Davster They have a word over there, which I forget currently, that is especially for the role of personal relationships in business.
"guanxi" the word for silk thread, used for personal relationship of all kinds, not just in business.
bfesser
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17-10-2013 at 07:49
*FWOOSH*
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Package arrived about 10 minutes ago. Not a drum as I thought it would be, but a bunch of 1kg silver heat seal bags (sorta like the food grade stuff I think). Preliminary test (aka spoonful into cup of vinegar) shows a vigorous reaction producing highly flammable, lighter than air gas. Stuff smells rather unpleasant, I need to go take a whiff of my Chemsavers sample to compare I guess.Not able to titrate atm. I have class and I still need to grab that I2...
Maybe I can convince one of the instructors at my college to take a look at it in exchange for a free sample and save myself the hassle of buying Iodine. They're always complaining about how they don't have the budget for chemical purchases
palico
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So, you can introduce in your country 25 kg of borohydride without special authorization and being a simple client not an enterprise ?
*FWOOSH*
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It's not a controlled substance or precursor in the US. The only issues you run into are HAZMAT and customs duties. Is that what you were asking about?
It did take a significant amount of effort to arrange the whole thing, not as easy as going online and clicking "buy it now".

[Edited on 23-10-2013 by *FWOOSH*]
chemrox
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I'll take a kg.

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palico
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Yes, I was talking about the hazardness.
Blue Matter
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I will take 1-2 kilos depending on price and shipping

ldanielrosa
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It looks like you've got a lot of interested folks, myself included. I hope you don't sell out too quickly for others to get in on it.
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 Sciencemadness Discussion Board » Fundamentals » Reagents and Apparatus Acquisition » Sodium Borohydride from chinese supplier Select A Forum Fundamentals   » Chemistry in General   » Organic Chemistry   » Reagents and Apparatus Acquisition   » Beginnings   » Responsible Practices   » Miscellaneous   » The Wiki Special topics   » Technochemistry   » Energetic Materials   » Biochemistry   » Radiochemistry   » Computational Models and Techniques   » Prepublication Non-chemistry   » Forum Matters   » Legal and Societal Issues   » Detritus   » Test Forum