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Author: Subject: Sodium Silicate Solution
BeanyBoy
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Sodium Silicate Solution

Well,

After a fairly thorough search, it seemed time to ask.

Although I live just a few miles away from the maker of "Liquid Fire" 98% H2SO4, and have no trouble getting it, I am totally unable to find sodium silicate solution locally. NONE of the non-adulterated preparations are available here in the Midsection. No water glass. No Gunk Heaver-Duty Block Sealer. No Gunk Boiler Sealer. No Chemisil. No ChemHard. No Specco A-33.

No ceramic and pottery supply places, except for places that make finished pottery. Local hobby shops do not have Magic Rocks. And on and on and on.

Of course its available mail-order. I'm still trying to avoid mail ordering chems for now.

Permatex K-W Block Sealer appears to be a mixture of NA2Si3O7 + Fe2O3.

Is there a simple way to get the iron oxide to ppt out without additionally contanimating the NA2Si3O7?

-Confused Beaner
Polverone
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There are a number of different sodium silicates. Sodium metasilicate is commonly sold as a phosphate-free replacement for trisodium phosphate. You should be able to find it with other cleaning or painting products at a hardware store.

PGP Key and corresponding e-mail address
Pyridinium
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Ordering water-glass online isn't going to raise any eyebrows, if that's what you're worried about.

But... if you're so inclined to make your own, it can be done. Forget the whitewall tire cleaners and all that. You need to roast sand with sodium carbonate at high temperature, then leach the silicate out with water at high pressure and temp.

I am working on an experiment to make sodium silicate solution with an outdoor firepit, followed by extraction with a pressure cooker. In the original method it was done in an autoclave. It's one of many projects I'm working on, will post details if it works.
12AX7
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Why is pressure necessary? Dry water glass is soluble...

Tim

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BeanyBoy
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Will Stay Tuned

Ok, I had no pressing need other than recharging an empty Ski-Craft bottle (restoring the set being a tangent chem interest), was just hoping this would turn out to be an easy conversion, but wasn't particularly wanting to be spoon fed.

I'll stay tuned!
Pyridinium
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 Quote: Originally posted by 12AX7 Why is pressure necessary? Dry water glass is soluble... Tim

Dry water glass is, for lack of a better term, what I'd call "meta-soluble". The early method I have (c. 1950's) is from an inorganic chem text, and it specifically calls for an autoclave.
YT2095
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Ive made it with elemental Silicon in NaOH soln, but I only needed a small amount for a crystal garden.
sodium ethoxide in a sodaglass test tube would make some eventualy also, although Ive no idea how long it would take to do???

\"In a world full of wonders mankind has managed to invent boredom\" - Death
Twinkies don\'t have a shelf life. They have a half-life! -Caine (a friend of mine)
garage chemist
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The synthesis of sodium silicate from SiO2 is much more conveniently done with NaOH (anhydrous) instead of Na2CO3, since only 300-400°C (melt NaOH in metal can, stir in quartz sand and let it dissolve) are necessary for the reaction.
Industry uses Na2CO3 because it is cheaper, we would use NaOH because it is more convenient.

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12AX7
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I would use Na2CO3 because it's cheaper and more convienient. But I have the torches and furnaces that others may not...

Tim

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not_important
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And consider using diatomaceous earth instead of sand, as it is much finer and will dissolve more quickly. You can treat the diatomaceous earth with hydrochloride acid first, the wash it with water, to remove iron and magnesium which will add some colour and cloudiness to the waterglass.
garage chemist
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I read up in Ullmann about alkali silicate solutions, you need 1400°C to effect the reaction between alkali carbonate and silica. The same equipment used for making normal glass is used.
So the NaOH method is pretty much the only choice for us if we really want to make it ourselves.

There was also said that SiO2 can be directly dissolved in NaOH solution in an autoclave. So if you have to use an autoclave for dissolving the silicate, you might just as well dissolve the SiO2 in NaOH solution instead of premade silicate in water.

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kazaa81
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Elawr
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I have prepared small amounts of NaSiO2 by fusing lumps of Na2CO3 in a bed of nice clean white dry beach sand using an oxyacetylene flame. Probably a little overkill with the oxyacetylene, but ordinary propane blowlamp does not provide quite enough heat to do the job well. If you grind up the resulting clinkers well, it helps a lot getting the product to dissolve.

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BeanyBoy
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 Quote: Well, After a fairly thorough search, it seemed time to ask. Although I live just a few miles away from... yada, yada, yada... No blah, blah, blah.... Local hobby shops yada, yada, yada... Of course its available mail-order. I'm still trying to avoid mail ordering chems for now.

&ltsigh&gt

Well this is turning into a lively discussion.... but I think I've solved my problem. I didn't look close enough...

Turns out I also live in an area serviced by one of the last (?) walk-in chemical & lab apparatus dealerships. They were "formed in 1969 by chemists to furnish individuals, companies and laboratories with chemicals, equipment (new and used), glassware and supplies. Our specific goal is to provide cost effective supplies to both large and small customers."

Hot diggity dawg!
Elawr
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Please tell me more about this walk-in chemical and lab outfit of which you speak, BeanyBoy. Are you in the USA? I remember a store like that once in Birmingham, - Alabama Scientific Company. Sadly it went out of business over 5 years ago.

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BeanyBoy
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 Quote: Originally posted by Elawr Please tell me more about this walk-in chemical and lab outfit of which you speak, BeanyBoy. Are you in the USA? I remember a store like that once in Birmingham, - Alabama Scientific Company. Sadly it went out of business over 5 years ago.

I called on Friday asking about Saturday hours; they said to call first, which I did not, a mistake which cost a little gasoline.

I hate to be overly paranoid, But I'd prefer to not directly identify them, given the rate at which such resources are disappearing. However, I found them through a Google search, and in my previous posting in this thread, I placed inside double-quotes, a direct quote from the website. You can use that to find them, they will be the first Google hit you will get.

-The King of Bean Station Tennessee, Not
BeanyBoy
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A Visit to The Chemist's Shoppe

Quote:
Originally posted by BeanyBoy
 Quote: Originally posted by Elawr Please tell me more about this walk-in chemical and lab outfit of which you speak, BeanyBoy. Are you in the USA? I remember a store like that once in Birmingham, - Alabama Scientific Company. Sadly it went out of business over 5 years ago.

I called on Friday asking about Saturday hours; they said to call first, which I did not, a mistake which cost a little gasoline.

So I made sure to call ahead today (Monday) and took my list of needs & wants.

I guess I'll describe it visually first. A white cinderblock building, with a multibay garage structure on the right, with the bays opening inward towards the parking lot. To the left of the building is a gate with an MSDS diamond on it, leading I suspect to Bulk Storage.

The windows are blacked out, and there is no glass in the steel security door. A doorbell button is provided to alert the staff to the presence of someone at the door.

On entry, I identified myself as the guy who called on Friday about the Sodium Silicate Solution. I explained I didn't need as large a quantity as I had asked for, as I was comparison shopping based on the smallest amount I could buy on e-Bay. At some point, I gave a very abbreviated history of my interest in chemistry. I offered my suspicion that while some or all the staff there might be degreed chemists, that they all shared chemistry as a hobby as well. This turns out to be the case.

Among the other things they do, when a school or other institutiuon does a demolition of a lab, they get called in as a "cheaper HAZMAT".

When I'd called ahead, I got an older gentleman, either the owner or surely a higher-up. I said I was going to pay a visit, and his reply was "ok, they will be here until noon" meaning the two younger men I spoke to on arrival.

With a looming deadline, whether classes, lunch, or maybe lab time, I was not going to be leaving with the items I'd come for. I left my long list so that they could spend some time cranking out some pricing for me, and a short list of things I was prepared to purchase at their convenience.

I gave my name and my phone number at work so that they can call me when my order is ready for me to pick it up.

There was a display case close to the door, with various bio specimins in preservative. Also on the case, a rack of pipettes, transfer, serological, and volumetric, for sale. On the right while facing the counter and with the case behind me, there was a large rack of bins, mostly containing rubber stoppers sorted by size. A few other bins had microscope slides, cover slips, and watch glasses.

To my left while facing the counter was a room with shelving, and without my usual correction (I'm myopic), I could make out what looked like 8oz amber Boston Rounds awaiting to be filled.

Straight ahead and to the left was a doorway leading to the "warehouse area", and I could see a large, 2? maybe 3 liter Erlenmeyer sitting on a shelf.

I expressed in all sincerity my kid-in-the--candy-store emotions, and said "I wish I'd brought a camera", then asked, "hey, do you mind?" and no that's fine. So I will shoot some images next time.

I said, "you know, they tell you not to crack bomb jokes in airports. Are there joke topics that are off-limits here?" to which they replied no. So I asked them to add a bargeload of RFNA and RP to the list, and we all laughed. Then I asked if they'd had any trouble. Yes they had, they said, and for that reason, they no longer sell precursors.

So, these guys are going to be fine to deal with, unless you're needing the very things they no longer deal in.

I'll try to answer any question my fading memory can manage, and will also report my follow-up visit.

Worst case, come visit me in Michigan City, Indiana, in a few months...

[Edited on 2-4-2007 by BeanyBoy]

[Edited on 2-4-2007 by BeanyBoy]
BeanyBoy
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Picking up my Stuff

 Quote: Originally posted by BeanyBoy So, these guys are going to be fine to deal with, unless you're needing the very things they no longer deal in. I'll try to answer any question my fading memory can manage, and will also report my follow-up visit.

Ok, as has already been said of this vendor (and other online vendors), prices be high:

Sodium Silicate Sol. (40%), 4oz:          $7.00 Calcium Nitrate 1oz:$6.25
Ferric Ammonium Sulfate     1oz:          $9.00 Calcium Hypochlorite 1oz:$5.50

Plus four 3-inch watch glasses, 50 cents each, and a 8mm x 38mm stir bar, $5.75. An ounce of tin (mossy?) was gonna run about$26, I passed on that, having thought I'd found a tin source (said "tin" is holding a magnet and so at best is tin-plated steel). Cannot believe I can't find tin for a reasonable price. Guess I'll melt some solder after I figure out how to separate the lead.

I shot some photos. The interior shots don't reveal the company name. The much nicer outside shots do. But here's an interior shot after a rough go at fixing some light/color balance issues:

http://members.iglou.com/dougq/PICT0060-bumped.jpg

While I went by on Monday and dropped off my order, which finally got processed today, a guy came in while I was there, who had been there earlier in the day, and picked up what he'd ordered. I would guess the initial delay COULD be for a background check, but I don't think so. Monday they didn't ask for any ID, however, I did leave them a business card anyway. OTOH, when I picked up the order, I was asked for my ID, which I quickly dug out, remarking how this was the 1st drivers license photo in my life that "didn't have me looking like Charles Manson".

Well, in closing, so far I like these guys. I suspect I will like them a lot. Sure would be cool if I could get a job there (not likely they could match my already-inadequate salary).

Regards to all,
-beanyboy
Magpie
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Thanks BeanyBoy for all the information. It really does my heart good to see a walk-in chemical supply house with glassware on display. This must be a real dinosaur. They do seem to have some hard to get chems like KF and acetic anhydride.

I must say that those prices you gave seem awfully high. But then I usually buy lab or technical grade vs ACS or reagent grade, when I can.

The single most important condition for a successful synthesis is good mixing - Nicodem
BeanyBoy
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Ye Old Chemist's Shoppe Photos

Sorry I didn't get these posted sooner, but here are the interior shots I took. After correcting the color, I wanted to bring out detail using Photoshop's Shadows & Highlights tool. It works well, but tends to introduce graininess or color artifacts.

Here's a preview of the shots:

Row 1, left to right, is images 1 through 5; with that info, if you want to see only one or a few, you can click the specific link below to get to that pic:

The golden-colored cans in pics 4 and 5 were large containers of carbon disulfide from Sigma-Aldrich.

In the warehouse where they had the Sorvall stored, they have shelves with rescued apparatus and reagents that look like they could date back to the 1920s.

Regards,
-beanyBoy
Elawr
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Sounds like it could be the same dudes who ran Alabama Scientific Co. in B'ham. What Beaner describes sound exactly like the kind of inventory that outfit use to sell.

1
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Sorry to divert you guys from the Candy store:

I'm still not clear on the actual difference in composition (if any) between Sodium Metasilicate and Waterglass.
It's my understanding that the silicates are not a simple set of compounds and that there is a large range of ratios between the SiO2 and alkali components, that can be adjusted during manufacture to suit end use requirements (alkalinity of the solution among others).

Is there a difference? Can I just make up a 30 or 40% solution of Sodium metasilicate and get waterglass?

If I were to make my own, obviously the ratio could be adjusted in the original mixture.
Has anyone seen an online (or other) guide on ratios vs properties?
12AX7
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The last time I tried mixing sodium metasilicate (Na2O.SiO2) with water and making a paste with alumina, I discovered that 1. it dried (rather than hardened), adding no strength, and 2. the rest of the mix turned crystalline as it dried out!

The only things it is good for are cleaning and deflocculation.

I don't know if you can add more Na2O, er well NaOH anyway, and get any orthosilicate.

I heard the higher sodium levels are better for bonding.

Tim

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garage chemist
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Hardening of waterglass occurs by reaction with CO2. As air contains very little of it, hardening is very slow and drying is faster.
Sand moulds for metal casting are often bound with silicate, and cured by exposing them to CO2-enriched air.

Sodium metasilicate has a higher Na2O/SiO2 than waterglass and dissolves easier therefore.
Silicate melts for waterglass production must be leached above 100°C and under pressure in order to obtain acceptable dissolution rates.
Thats the difference between them. Of course you can use metasilicate solution in place of waterglass.

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visitation123
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waterglass

Sodium silicate isn't hard to obtain, try some other ceramic and pottery outlets.

What do you want it for, catalyst preparation?
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 Sciencemadness Discussion Board » Fundamentals » Reagents and Apparatus Acquisition » Sodium Silicate Solution 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