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Author: Subject: The best country to pursue amateur chemistry in.
rot
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 Quote: Originally posted by woelen It indeed is bad to see all kinds of reagents disappear. In the Netherlands there is another strategy. Chemicals are becoming more and more dilute. They remain available, but only at high dilutions. This is not for reasons of drugs making (NL is quite relaxed with respect to owning precursors, such as I2, P or K2Cr2O7), but for reasons of safety. All chems must be idiot-proof. If we wait a few years more, then we only can buy flavoured water over here with acid scent, ammonia scent etc. E.g. HCl used to be 30%, now it is < 10%. NH3 used to be 25%, now it is < 5% NaClO used to be 10% active chlorine, that has dropped to 4% Acetic acid was 32% for household cleaning, now it is just 4% or if you are really lucky 10%. H3PO4 used to be 85%, now it is < 8%.

I actually haven't noticed ANYTHING changing. I can still, in ordinary stores, buy 30% HCl. I can't buy 10% NaClO solution, but it can buy pure NaClO Powder (bleaching powder)
You're right about NH3 it's now 5% but it's very easy to make >25% NH3 by bubbling ammonia through water (NH4NO3 + NaOH)
H3PO4 is <8% indeed, but as far as I know it has always been this way. it's very easy to concentrate it though, first make it's sodium salt by reacting with sodium hydroxide. then mix with sulfuric acid to displace the acid and distill.
Sodium hydroxide is also available as pure white prills. I can also buy 5Kg and 20Kg Ammonium Nitrate (77% pure, easy to purify). No KNO3 but I make this very easy from ammonium nitrate and potassium chloride, wich is diet salt and I can buy this at €2 per 350g. I have no problem obtaining nearly every substance I want. there's always a way to synthese it from OTC items.
I am a fish
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Bleaching powder contains calcium hypochlorite, not sodium hypochlorite. Furthermore, it usually isn't pure. (It's made by passing chlorine over calcium hydroxide, and this also generates calcium chloride and calcium chloride hypochlorite.)

1f /0u (4|\\| |234d 7|-|15, /0u |234||`/ |\\|33d 70 937 0u7 /\\/\\0|23.
neutrino
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>it's very easy to concentrate it though, first make it's sodium salt by reacting with sodium hydroxide. then mix with sulfuric acid to displace the acid and distill.

I don't quite get it. You can't distill phosphoric acid nor sodium sulfate/bisulfate. Are you sure you aren't confusing paart of this with HCl?
rot
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no, I ment phosphoric, but I didn't know you can't distill it.
woelen

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 Quote: Originally posted by rot I actually haven't noticed ANYTHING changing. I can still, in ordinary stores, buy 30% HCl. I can't buy 10% NaClO solution, but it can buy pure NaClO Powder (bleaching powder) You're right about NH3 it's now 5% but it's very easy to make >25% NH3 by bubbling ammonia through water (NH4NO3 + NaOH) H3PO4 is <8% indeed, but as far as I know it has always been this way. it's very easy to concentrate it though, first make it's sodium salt by reacting with sodium hydroxide. then mix with sulfuric acid to displace the acid and distill. Sodium hydroxide is also available as pure white prills. I can also buy 5Kg and 20Kg Ammonium Nitrate (77% pure, easy to purify). No KNO3 but I make this very easy from ammonium nitrate and potassium chloride, wich is diet salt and I can buy this at €2 per 350g. I have no problem obtaining nearly every substance I want. there's always a way to synthese it from OTC items.

You have not known the situation of 20 years ago, when I started the chemistry hobby (inbetween I also abandoned it again and picked up again 5 years ago). But, 20 years ago, things were really different:

25% NH3 at every supermarket
10% available chlorine NaClO at every supermarket, some even had 12.5%
bleach powder (35% available chlorine, impure Ca(ClO)2/CaCl2 mix) at every supermarket
30 .. 35% HCl at every hardware store
32% or 80% acetic acid at every drugstore (food vinegar essence, to be diluted before use)
85% H3PO4 at drugstores, no need to search a long time, first shop usually was a hit
68% HNO3 at drugstores, idem
96..98% H2SO4 at drugstores, idem
Pure KMnO4, K2Cr2O7, KClO3 and KNO3 I also could buy as an 18-year old boy without problem in multiple drugstores, just in the town, where I lived. No questions, just telling me that I have to be careful with it.

At the moment, you can find 30% HCl, but it becomes harder and the shops carrying it are getting less and less.
Conc. H2SO4, I only have one reliable source left locally, hopefully they do not stop selling it.
For all other chems, I have my sources now, but they certainly are not common and a starting chemistry hobbyist needs a few years, before he has a reasonable network of sources for chemicals. Fortunately, there still is a 'hidden economy' where a lot of chems can be obtained legally, but the main public certainly does not know of this.

On the other hand, I think it is better as it is now. At the current social climate it would not be good to have potentially dangerous chems available at every street corner, so to speak. The kewls usually stop searching if they cannot find a source within 5 minutes, the real hobbyists certainly find their souces, through contacts on forums and so on and in the course of a few years most people can have the chemicals they want. But, indeed, patience is important nowadays.

[Edited on 27-1-06 by woelen]

The art of wondering makes life worth living...
Want to wonder? Look at https://woelen.homescience.net
neutrino
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Hidden economy? Are you referring to places like brewery and lapidary suppliers that sell useful materials locally? Or are you referring to the shadier things your country is famous for...
rot
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Hydrogen peroxide is also 3%. It's also very expensive too, €1 for 100mL. to make 1L of 30% H2O2 i'd need a 100 bottles = €100. I've not been able to find a source for more concentrated h2o2(unless ordering on the internet, I don't like that. you're easily traced)
garage chemist
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I live near France and can simply drive over there to go shopping.

There you can get 20% ammonia solution for about 0,90€ per liter. Similar prices for 23% HCl and acetone.
Also sodium chlorate weedkiller, though the 99% stuff is banned there now, which is a shame (bought some of it just before it got banned).
But a 45% aqueous NaClO3 solution is still available and can simply be evaporated to get 99% NaClO3. Or electrolysed with some dichromate and platinum anode (Pt wire, less than 1g Pt is used) to get NaClO4 (I've built a small but powerful perchlorate cell capable of making about 500g NaClO4 a week).
woelen

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 Quote: Originally posted by neutrino Hidden economy? Are you referring to places like brewery and lapidary suppliers that sell useful materials locally? Or are you referring to the shadier things your country is famous for...

I refer to both. A lot of specialist companies are selling chemicals, which are quite interesting (acids, transition metal salts, sulfites/bisulfites).
Inside the EU (especially Germany I think, but also in the Netherlands) there also are quite some sellers, who apparently have more obscure sources of chemicals, which, however, form a very nice way to get a lot of chems at amazingly low prices. In this way I recently obtained 500 ml of Br2, but also NaIO4, KIO4, KIO3, SeO2, Na, Li, Ce(NO3)3, Ln(NO3)3, and a lot of other quite special chems, which cannot be obtained in any other way. Apparently there are a lot of old labs, which are shut down now with the expansion of the EU. Their chemicals are not destroyed, but have a second life in a kind of 'hidden economy'. These old chems (30+ years old) many times have Tchech, former East German, Rumanian, Russian, etc. labels. Many chems, however, even after 30 years are perfectly fine for home experiments and the communists also were capable of making nice pure chems .

[Edited on 27-1-06 by woelen]

The art of wondering makes life worth living...
Want to wonder? Look at https://woelen.homescience.net
Ashendale
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Talking about 30 year old chemicals, my dad used to be a photographer (that's 30-35 years ago, when he was young), and now recently he found his old chemical supplies. I have an old bottle of NaNO3 in my hand, label says 99,8% purity, compared to my "modern" NaNO3 with 99,18% purity. I'm aware that the numbers may be false, but I do believe they are correct.
Also my school lab still has USSR time chemicals. Hey, NaCl is the same NaCl it used to be 30 years ago.
Of course, chemicals were VERY cheap compared to Western states. There was a saying that 1 ounce of well dried rubles (sp?) is worth 1 USD
And of course, chemistry sets. There was a major problem some months ago when a kid brought to school an ampule with dilute potassium cyanide, obtained from old chemistry set.

As for amateur chemistry, it isn't a problem here at all, it's almost surprising that 95% of the people who know I'm interested in chemistry say something like "Hey, that's cool, I hope you succeed in whatever you're doing" instead of "Bomb maker". My parents and teacher are both supportive, altough occasionally my mother walks into my room when I'm doing experiments and asks the same silly question I hate: "Are they dangerous?"
And for last, well, there are those kewls who occasionally blow themselves up by empting pyrotechincal rockets and mixing them in iron(!!!) tubes. But then again, you can't fight the general stupidity.
Magpie
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My wife bought me a childrens' "Smithsonian Microchemistry" set at a yard sale. All the chemicals were in tiny bottles with childproof caps holding no more than about 2g. The kit is a mostly plastic assemblage made in China. Bottles were labeled as follows:

"WARNING" labels:

borax powder
universal indicator
magnesium sulfate
methylene blue
calcium nitrate
citric acid
ammonium chloride
sodium sulfate
copper sulfate
postassium iodide
ferrous sulfate

"DANGER" labels:

calcium hydroxide
sodium silicate
aluminum amonium sulfate
Fehling's solution
sodium carbonate
biuret reagent

"POISON - DANGER", and skull and crossed bones symbol:

cobalt chloride

In all cases the lables also had first aid instructions and direction to call the Poision Control Center.

The set was opened but never used. After looking at all the labels the poor parents were probably too terrified to even open any of the bottles.

The single most important condition for a successful synthesis is good mixing - Nicodem
tito-o-mac
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Singapore boasts many new chemistry facilities such as the National Univesity of Singapore as the government has pumped in millions to boosts research on biochemistry, stem cells and nanotechnology. But for explosives, I don't think so.
MEXCHEM2006
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Mexico is the best place to do chemistry , you can find anything under the sun for sale.
solo
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Stick to the question at hand:......

The best country to pursue amateur chemistry in.

The discussion is not why or the politics, as that would take the thread to another topic........solo

It's better to die on your feet, than live on your knees....Emiliano Zapata.
franklyn
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Home of the brave

Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men
who signed the Declaration of Independence?

Five signers were captured by the British as traitors,
and tortured before they died.

Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.
Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army;

Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or
hardships of the Revolutionary War.

They signed and they pledge their lives, their fortunes,
and their sacred honor.

What kind of men were they?

Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists.
Eleven were merchants,
nine were farmers and large plantation owners;
men of means, well educated,
but they signed the Declaration of Independence
knowing full well that the penalty would be death if
they were captured.
Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and
trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the
British Navy. He sold his home and properties to
pay his debts, and died in rags.

Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British
that he was forced to move his family almost constantly.
He served in the Congress without pay, and his family
was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him,
and poverty was his reward.

Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer,
Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.

At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that
the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson
home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General
George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed,
and Nelson died bankrupt.

Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed.
The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.

John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying.
Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill
were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests
and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his
children vanished.

Take a few moments while enjoying your 4th of July holiday
to remember these patriots for the price they paid.

Remember that freedom is never free!

It is for this reason I'm partial to corrupt government where
one is afforded the most egalitarian constituemcy service

Magpie
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Franklyn, that is quite a story - certainly more than I learned in my American History class in high school. There it was just about glory and sacrifice, but not the horrible details.

Just what exactly do you mean by:
 Quote: It is for this reason I'm partial to corrupt government where one is afforded the most egalitarian constituemcy service that money can buy.

The single most important condition for a successful synthesis is good mixing - Nicodem
franklyn
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Sorry Magpie if I gave offense. I was responding to this
" The best country to pursue amateur chemistry in."

The flip side is to do just as they did on principle
not that it would behoove anyone to do so.
Practicality matters.

.
Magpie
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No, no, franklyn...no offense taken. I was just trying to understand what you meant.

I like Colin Powell's recommendation that every US citizen should re-read the declaration of Independence every 4th of July. Yes, it is ideality. But what an ideal!

Sadly I don't feel that the US is the best place to practice amateur chemistry. Drug cookery and 9/11 have eliminated us from the top contenders.

The single most important condition for a successful synthesis is good mixing - Nicodem
chloric1
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Magpie,

I disagree. The USA is not what it used to be but socialism has Europe in its grasp and liberal policies/socialism always mean restricted freedoms. There are still ALOT of chemicals available to the sharp home chemist here. I can still buy ammonium perchlorate, nitrates,chlorates, barium, acids, alkalies, and salts in bulk. It is more difficult but doable. Remember the CPSC litigations that led to pyro restrictions? Well, certain suppliers listed there quantity restrictions opening the door for new suppliers. It really is hard to fight open market policy.

The USA has more space and potential for privicy that other countries so even if you can obtain more chemicals elseware you have to deal with a myriad of onlookers unless you experiment on a rooftop or closed garage. Some third word countries would follow close behind USA in freedom for the home chemist but USA offers more selection, opportunites to support your craft financially, and opportunites to find secluded locals to practice.

In the theater of life its nice to know where the exit doors are located.
Magpie
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Chloric 1, I really can't disagree with the points you have made. Yes, we are not as socialist as the European countries, but yet some of them allow chemicals to be bought, like Ac2O and phosphorus, by private citizens.

The thing that really bothers me about the US is the blanket policy of the mainstream suppliers that do not allow sales of chemicals to private individuals - no doubt due to government pressure. Also, the general public and government officials assume that if you have a home lab you are making illegal drugs or bombs. They make no exceptions for legitimate activity...I mean you are assumed guilty until proven innocent at great cost.

The single most important condition for a successful synthesis is good mixing - Nicodem
entropy51
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 Quote: Originally posted by chloric1 The USA has more space and potential for privicy that other countries so even if you can obtain more chemicals elseware you have to deal with a myriad of onlookers unless you experiment on a rooftop or closed garage. Some third word countries would follow close behind USA in freedom for the home chemist but USA offers more selection, opportunites to support your craft financially, and opportunites to find secluded locals to practice.

Chloric, you don't have to be out in the boonies to practice amateur chemistry in private. Trust me. I know someone who engages in this activity in the middle of a very crowded metropolitan area. It just requires a strategic location of your fume hood exhaust! I suppose pyro would be different, but that's not my interest, at least not intentionally!

It seems to me that many European members of the forum have MUCH better access to chemicals than the American members.
benzylchloride1
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Magpie, I started with the same Smithsonian chemistry set when I was 10. I kept the chemistry set at school and conducted experiments with it. Many people thought that the chemicals were dangerous. This is the best chemistry that is currently available to the general public; it is a far cry from the old fashioned sets. In my state I can buy many chemicals; 35% H2O2, sodium hydroxide, sulfuric acid, and others. There is even a store several hours away from me in a major city that sells concentrated nitric acid to individuals, along with other chemicals and glassware. I live in a fairly remote area and most of my neighbors have seen my lab and were interested in it in a positive way.

[Edited on 9-7-2009 by benzylchloride1]

Amateur NMR spectroscopist
Magpie
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from benzylchloride1:
 Quote: I live in a fairly remote area and most of my neighbors have seen my lab and were interested in it in a positive way.

I believe that in the more remote areas people are more tolerant of each other as they are more dependant on each other. They may become snowed in and their life will depend on you helping them. Also, if your lab catches on fire or you emit noxious fumes it will not affect them.

I live in a residential neiborhood on a standard city lot. I get along well with my neighbors but no way will I talk about or show them my lab. All that has to happen is that I might get crosswise with one of them and, well, you know the rest.

The only people with whom I have shared my lab is my brother (who thinks I'm just paranoid), and a trusted ex-colleague who is a chemical engineer.

I don't talk about my love of chemistry or have anything reminding visitors of this in my home. If people know any of this they will make jokes about you being a drug cook or a mad bomber. I don't give them that opportunity. My public persona is a retired guy who does a little fishing, wood working, and pottery.

The single most important condition for a successful synthesis is good mixing - Nicodem
watson.fawkes
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I have de novo answer to this, which seems completely obvious to me. and I just have to get it off my chest. The best country to pursue amateur chemistry in is whatever country you happen to be in at the time.

The question being answered up-thread might properly be worded "What's the best country to move to to pursue amateur chemistry?", and that seems like a rather different question.
entropy51
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Magpie, "My public persona is a retired guy who does a little fishing, wood working, and pottery."

And makes a little acetic anhydride in his garage when no one is looking.

You are a true Renaissance Man of the 21st century!

We can all only aspire to such a wonderful retirement.
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 Sciencemadness Discussion Board » Non-chemistry » Legal and Societal Issues » The best country to pursue amateur chemistry in. 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