Sciencemadness Discussion Board
Not logged in [Login ]
Go To Bottom

Printable Version  
Author: Subject: What just happened?
Hazard to Others

Posts: 192
Registered: 7-10-2015
Member Is Offline

Mood: No Mood

[*] posted on 4-12-2015 at 08:11
What just happened?

Yesterday I made a batch of NC with AN/H₂SO₄ and pure medical grade cotton balls.

After plenty of washing with tap water I placed it in a hot bicarb solution and began to work it around with my bare hands, almost no reaction occured as it was already quite neutral from the previous washes, after a short while of kneading I was interrupted by a phone call so I dried my hands off a bit on my pants and picked up the phone, as I was walking around I could smell a very faint ammonia smell but couldn't find the source, eventually I realized the smell was coming from my hands so I went back to the NC only to find it producing bubbles of ammonia gas and quite rapidly I might add :o

So what was going on there? The only thing I could guess was something to do with the ammonium sulfate and sodium bicarbonate reacting but I find this unlikely due to how well it was washed before being dropped in the bicarb solution not to mention that one would expect ammonium carbonate and sodium sulfate rather than ammonia gas.

[Edited on 4-12-2015 by OneEyedPyro]
View user's profile View All Posts By User
National Hazard

Posts: 299
Registered: 7-12-2014
Location: Hungary
Member Is Offline

Mood: No Mood

[*] posted on 4-12-2015 at 12:27

(NH4)2SO4 reacts with NaHCO3 to form ammonium carbonate.
(NH4)2CO3 decomposes in hot water, and also sublimates.
View user's profile View All Posts By User

Posts: 28
Registered: 26-10-2015
Location: GJ, India
Member Is Offline

Mood: Curious

[*] posted on 6-12-2015 at 00:23

It's clear that the cotton balls might have absorbed a good amount of ammonium sulfate while nitrating
Which can be hard to wash out. For thorough washing, It'd help if you tore apart cotton into little bits and wash it.
Otherwise the ammonium sulfate traces will react with sodium bicarbonate solution to form ammonium carbonate
Now, you used hot solution and ammonium carbonate readily decomposes in hot solutions giving off ammonia

2NaHCO3 + (NH4)2SO4 --> NH4)2CO3 + Na2SO4 + H2O + CO2

(NH4)2CO3 --> 2NH3 + H2O + CO2

Generation of ammonia usually won't be a problem when cold water is used
moreover, after it's dried, all the ammonia smell is gonna go away anyway..
View user's profile View All Posts By User

  Go To Top