Introduction: Distill Hydrogen Peroxide

If you have read some of my other Instructables you know that a lot of them require oxygen either from the surrounding air or from an oxidizer. Potassium Nitrate is the most common and easily obtainable but, for those of you who, for whatever reason can't obtain it can make your own from hydrogen peroxide.

Step 1: Gethering Materials

For materials you will need four things:

1. Hydrogen Peroxide (The Kind Diluted In Water)
2. A small glass or plastic cup.
3. Soluble salt (I used Morton's)
4. A small amount of your time.

Step 2: Distillation

The First and only step is to pour about one teaspoon of salt into you cup. Next pour three teaspoons of Hydrogen Peroxide on top of it. This mixture can be enlarged but remember to keep the solution at a ratio of 1:4. 1 being the salt and 4 being the Hydrogen Peroxide. After you have added all ingredients stir them together inside the cup. After all or most of the salt is dissolved let your solution sit until you see two layers in the liquid. These will be the salt water and the Hydrogen Peroxide separating. I am pretty sure the top one will be the Hydrogen Peroxide and the bottom one will be the salt water. Comment at the bottom to tell me what you find. I would also like to know what use you have found for it.

Have fun and enjoy!

Comments

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antibatman made it!(author)2010-06-14

Actually, there is no possible way boiling it would yield ANY hydrogen peroxide at all. Hydrogen peroxide is enormously unstable, and simply exposing it to sunlight for short periods of time introduces enough energy to the system to begin decomposition to water and oxygen. This is why it is packaged in dark, opaque bottles. Boiling accomplishes nothing. High-concentration H2O2 can only be produced industrially or through a highly complex and controlled synthesis in a professional lab.

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DeusXMachina made it!(author)2010-10-14

Actually, I used to think that, too, but H2O2 is apparently stable enough to heat that you can concentrate it with heat. I've been meaning to look into it.

Vacuum distillation would definitely work.

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waynesl made it!(author)2011-10-29

absolutely wrong. H2O2 is VERY sensitive to heat, decomposing into H2O & O2 even at high room temperatures.

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Kinnishian made it!(author)2011-10-29

In labs they keep H2O2 in fridges because it's indeed very easy for it to decompose from heat, UV, or any energy increase. Basically there's an electron shared between the 02 molecules and they both really want it and will take it with a little bit of help.

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waynesl made it!(author)2011-10-29

Right on, Kinnishian- A clear and relatively simple explanation of the instability of the polar covalent bonding that makes H2O2 so unstable.
The extreme variance in posts to this particular 'ible dramatically illustrate the disparity in thought process between those of us who have been exposed to rigor and guidance in our learning, and those who have had to figure it out with little if any help. I have to admire people like spence012, DeusXMachina and jpoopdog for their tenacity, enthusiasm and creative thinking, but without more guidance they will die or be severely injured long before producing any useful results. They will also, by this hit-miss process, re-invent the wheel many, many times. I'm beginning to wonder if some vetting process like WikiPedia uses might make this site more effective.

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vedantmomaya made it!(author)2016-11-15

appreciate your knowledge and more than that thnx for sharing

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DeusXMachina made it!(author)2011-10-31

I admire your condescension, but I actually have a BS in chemistry. If I remember correctly, my offhand comment that I made a year ago was based on a quick napkin-calculation on the decomposition rate of acid-stabilized 3% H2O2 at 120 degC based on the kinetics of H2O2 at room temperature. Obviously it decomposes at room temperature, but over a relatively long time frame. Even though there is a thousandfold increase in the reaction rate, the breakdown rate was low enough (I don't remember the exact numbers, but I think the halflife was on the order of an hour) that it should be theoretically possible to increase the concentration by a few percentage points merely by controlled boiling at atmospheric pressure in acid-washed borosilicate glass. You're clearly not going to get HTP or even 30% by this method, but for some purposes, increasing OTC 3% to 6% or 9% is sufficient (so long as the purity is high enough that there aren't enough metal ions to catalyze the decomp, the rate is close enough to breakeven as it is). Since the concentration remains relatively low, there is also much less risk of dangerous rapid decomposition as would be the case with high test, so the worst outcome is you end up with warm water. I would have investigated further, but I was busy with other things, and found a vacuum distillation method that was far more efficient, rendering the heating method moot, and just forgot about the matter. I may have to actually test this now just for the sake of thoroughness. I'd be more than happy to admit that it is not possible, because it's going to be a pain as it is merely due to existing impurities, but at least there will be a solid answer on the matter, rather than speculation.

Naturally, it's also not my issue if someone reads my comment or any other information on the internet, tries it, and suffers ill consequence from it, whether it be boiling H2O2, building a spudgun or frying a turkey. There is much, much more dangerous information on the internet.

But yes, I do agree that virtually everyone else has no idea what they are talking about.

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waynesl made it!(author)2011-10-31

Points well taken, supporting data well cited, and I apologize for the condescension.
The strength of my responses here was motivated by concern for individuals who, like myself, are fascinated with science yet do not always think a problem through or research it appropriately before designing an experiment. You, DeusXmachina, are not about to mix up some slurry of volatile reactants without proper precautions and have a potentially fatal incident, but take a look at the post of Jan 2, 2011. 5:35 PM. It reminded me of an incident from my childhood:
When I was 11, a schoolmate of mine couple of years older than me asked me to help him with a science fair project. I referred him to the UNESCO science projects book in the school library. He perused it and asked me to help him make "safety" matches. Since I frequently went to the "chemist shop" (as they called a pharmacy in England) I agreed to purchase the materials for him. He paid me for them and took them home.
Instead of following the very clear instructions in the book and heeding the stringent warnings, he proceeded to do exactly what he had been warned against. Mixing the red phosphorus with the KClO4 in a mortar, he began to triturate it, and spent the remainder of the day in the emergency room, getting his eyes rinsed and bandaged. My response at the time was, "Serves him right for being a dummy," but I still remember the hot water I was in afterward.
Please forgive my seeming to lump you in with some of the less knowledgeable and perhaps overly-imaginative contributors to this forum. It was unintentional.

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DeusXMachina made it!(author)2011-11-01

It's no problem. I totally understand and feel the aggravation with people that are reckless with chemistry. I was a bit bold with chemistry for a while as a teenager, but I got a lot safer with maturity and experience, and even back then didn't attempt anything ridiculously stupid....like making Armstrong's mixture by hand.

Good gods, he's lucky he didn't get killed or maimed. I remember really early on reading about someone mixing phosphorus with chlorate or perchlorate with a metal spoon, in a metal can. That was good encouragement for me to avoid a lot of the nastier things out there.

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DeusXMachina made it!(author)2011-10-31

in before- I am not talking about, and never was referring to, when I made my original comment in 2010, making high test peroxide by heating and evaporating off water. That would be impossible or ludicrously impractical. I was referring to increasing the concentration of store-bought 3% hydrogen peroxide solution to 6% or maybe as high as 12% or 15%, if one lacks vacuum distillation equipment or the means to control temperature well for fractional freezing.

It would be inefficient, but it should theoretically be possible, as pointed out below, in counterpoint to antibatman's statement: "Actually, there is no possible way boiling it would yield ANY hydrogen peroxide at all."

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DeusXMachina made it!(author)2011-10-31

http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ie50456a010

http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ie50473a026

Image didn't upload properly first time.

h2o2 thermal stability.JPG
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DeusXMachina made it!(author)2011-10-31

In fact, with a little cursory digging, I found a source for the thermal stability of 90% H2O2.

From Shanley & Greenspan, Dec 1947, Industrial and Engineering Chemistry: (see image)
Approximate rate of decomposition of 90% H2O2 at 100 degC: 2% in 24 hours

Now, I'm still looking for either direct experimental data or extrapolation as to the stability of less concentrated solutions of H2O2 at elevated temperatures, but suffice it to say that it is not "absolutely wrong" to suppose that H2O2 decomposes slowly enough at ~100C to be able to be concentrated without vacuum.

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RichardC72 made it!(author)2015-10-08

Vacuum distillation works and if you heat it over 50 C it will decompose.

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MikeyNCat made it!(author)2010-08-08

Exactly!

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recon506 made it!(author)2008-06-02

a different method is to simply boil out the water in the Hydrogen peroxide solution. Same result - just faster and less wasteful on the salt. I prefer to use my salt on french fries and the like... Otherwise great -ible and keep up the good work. And invest in a hot plate, THEY'RE WONDERFUL!

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vedantmomaya made it!(author)2016-11-15

be carefull bro cause the boiling point of h2o2 is only 150 c, only 50 more than water so while boiling out water you may boil h202 and the vapour form is explosive (carefull)

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Noname23 made it!(author)2008-09-20

If you're going to do this be very very careful not to boil off the peroxide because peroxide gas is highly explosive.

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Kinnishian made it!(author)2015-10-08

I don't think recon506 was correct. Hydrogen peroxide is not very stable. Household stuff *should* be refrigerated but doesn't really need to be at the mere 3-6% it is. Lab grade stuff is 30% but needs to be in the fridge or it becomes 10%. So by boiling it the peroxide will probably break down.

Not sure that recon506 really was correct in assuming you could distill it this way.

I think peroxide gas is very explosive because it's a strong oxidizer and/or degrades into 02 and h20, where pure O2 is an oxidizer as well.

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snipegoat made it!(author)2009-01-03

if you put a bag over it while boiling it do you think you could get a condensed peroxide gas?

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Kinnishian made it!(author)2009-03-10

No. There is no such thing as condensed gas. Gas turning to liquid is condensation. A gas condensing, means it turns to liquid. So boiling condensed gas is even more of a confusing oxymoron. What's a more useful answer is that when you boil it you boil both water and hydrogenperoxide. And since they suggested boiling as a method, I assume that hyrogenperoxide isn't very volatile and the vapors boiling gives off are mostly those of water.

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oldmanbeefjerky made it!(author)2011-11-10

steam/vapour but not a distinguishable liquid.

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waynesl made it!(author)2011-10-29

The only way to boil H2O2 without it decomposing is to use vacuum. Your assumption is wrong. Take a couple of semesters of college chemistry or read some books, not the drivel here.

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oldmanbeefjerky made it!(author)2010-09-30

no, everyone listen up, hydrogen peroxide decomposes in the presence of energy, aka heat or sunlight, if you heat it up it will decompose into oxygen and water, you cannot make peroxide gas by boiling it away , because boing it with destroy it.

also that is true it does boil at 150c, but it would decompose under normal conditions before ever reaching that tempurature so you would get peroxide gas, just not alot, , and not nearly enough to condense into a usable liquid

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matt.campbell.526 made it!(author)2015-01-25

You could get 30% with ammonium bisulfate electrolysis, then hydrolysis and distillation.

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elementcollector1 made it!(author)2013-02-08

This topic is an insult to chemists everywhere. Give me physical evidence that hydrogen peroxide *can* be salted out, and I'll give you a full apology. Until then, my mixture of saltwater and hydrogen peroxide remains a fully miscible mixture of saltwater and hydrogen peroxide.

Meanwhile, back to freeze distilling, like a regular person.

author
3of5 made it!(author)2014-04-11

I'm not the guy your asking, but I will give it a try, If it burns well in my gas engine, I will let you know. (answering because you posted you comment over a year ago) According to a documentary on Hydrogen peroxide, it should burn in a gasoline engine, (high consentrate hydrogen peroxide)

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laboratorymike made it!(author)2014-02-28

You are absolutely right about this. Also, plastic cup? At high concentrations of H2O2 a lot of things catch fire on contact, so even if this process worked (it doesn't), there are huge safety issues not discussed at all.

That said, I agree; total hoax. You need to use an actual distillation process.

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jarhead42 made it!(author)2014-02-17

What is the consentration (%)?

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kyle+brinkerhoff made it!(author)2013-09-22

I'm at a loss with chem but theoretically you could use electrolisys to pull this off right ?

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rocketguitarguy made it!(author)2008-10-23

liquid Hydrogen Peroxide makes a wonderful rocket fuel. no need for an oxidizer tank for the Hydrogen Peroxide contains both the oxidizer and the fuel (hydrogen as the fuel, oxygen as the oxidizer)

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waynesl made it!(author)2011-10-29

When H2O2 is used as a MONOPROPELLANT, there is no fuel nor oxidizer. The compound is broken down by catalytic action of a silver screen, evolving O2 and H2O and generating heat. The Bell rocket belt uses this method for relatively safe rocket thrust close to the body of the operator. The exhaust temperature and composition are safer than most other reactions would produce. The downside is a lack of specific impulse, because the reaction is relatively tame.

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nitrous made it!(author)2012-08-02

I'd like to know if this fellow is still alive.
jpoopdog is confusing "I got away with it" with "it must be safe, because I got away with it".

Just for completeness, lead poisoning is generally an accumulate heavy metal poison. As such, it rarely kills immediately, unless of course the lead is provided as a soluble salt. The symptoms of lead poisoning are often found in cognitive dysfunction (children who ate lead based paint don't do so well in school).

I'm all for supporting inquisitive thought but draw the line when it puts the individual at serious risk of harm (including death). What fascinates me is that in today's climate of terror threats, much of what jpoopdog has admitted to would be considered a felony.

BTW, I'm saying this from the perspective of someone who has been both a chemist (doctoral program in physical chemistry many, many years ago) and a medical doctor. Many of the things I "got away with" as a high school student were never safe. I just "got away with it". No one was seriously hurt (although a friend has a keloid scar on his knee from a conc nitric acid bottle that he grabbed by the glass stopper and poured on himself. Bad luck - but it was MY bottle of conc acid.

Do you self a favor before it is too late. Stay away from energetic compounds (explosives and propellants) until you have formally studied them. Chemistry is a great field to study - I know - I did it for many years but you don't want to hurt yourself or others.

Much of what you have said in these posts will hurt someone. Waynesl gave you some good advice. If you're still alive (and not in jail), head it.

Good luck,
nitrous

author
I_am_Canadian made it!(author)2009-02-19

So, how do you make a rocket then?

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waynesl made it!(author)2011-10-29

http://www.nar.org/

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PyromaniacDaniel made it!(author)2009-09-16

wrong. The reaction of decomposing H2O2 is 2 H2O2 > 2 H2O + O2 + heat. This is not a Redox Reaction. However the O2 can then be used as a oxidizer. For instance a common liquid fuel rocket engine is to pass high concentrated H2O2 over a silver screen (catalyst to decompose the H2O2) into the combustion chamber and add kerosene to it. The heat of the decomposition is enough to cause the kerosene to burn with the O2 created. However the decomposition of the H2O2 would produce a thrust on its own given that it is going from a liquid to a gas and being heat to produce a pressure.

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m0nk3yb01 made it!(author)2010-12-02

Hydrogen Peroxide works as a stand alone fuel. Old torpedoes used h2o2 solely as a fuel (with a copper pellet as a catalyst to separate it into it's component gasses), complications of which caused the sinking of several subs. They're even still in use on modern satellites to control their orientation, because it's easy to precisely control the thrust.

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PyromaniacDaniel made it!(author)2010-12-06

yes that is true. I already said it would work by itself. see last sentence from above. I was merely pointing out that it is not a Redox Reaction as rocketguitarguy had stated but was instead a decomposition.

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milamber made it!(author)2009-02-16

so can i use this to make black powder?

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oldmanbeefjerky made it!(author)2010-09-30

use very pure h202 instead if kno3. use too much and it will oxidize on contact with the charcoal and sulfure, not enough and you end up with a wet black mess. it can be ignited by catalycticaly decomposing the "wet powder" , in an exothermic, but fast reaction, its only realu use though would be for a very quick production rocket fuel, nothing else, its why people dotn use it, its too hazardous, plus not many people would do it anyway as pure h2o2 is hard to come by

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LiquidLightning made it!(author)2012-04-28

First of all, recipe for disaster. Second, where you gonna get very pure h2o2? Third, it won't even work.

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oldmanbeefjerky made it!(author)2012-04-29

trolling dude, trolling. i was like 14 at the time

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LiquidLightning made it!(author)2012-05-01

Lol, take care with your trolling. Some idiot will take it seriously, and try it.

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oldmanbeefjerky made it!(author)2011-11-10

anyone listening to this should know it would never work unless the carbon and sulfur used was atomized and at leat 99.995% (LR grade) pure. otherwise it would oxidize on contact. anyways it wouldnt work. rockets i have checked use parrafin and some agent to help decompose water as the H²O² decomposes .

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anoderwanabe made it!(author)2011-06-07

Be severely careful. The reason why H2O2 is normally in a 3% volume is because it is highly reactive. in chemistry labs we only use a max of 10%. everything above 30% is highly touch reactive and very dangerous

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LiquidLightning made it!(author)2012-04-28

In general, chemistry labs use 30%.

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jlund made it!(author)2012-02-02

None of this answer the question of which is water and h2o2 and I wana know too so Plc answer

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niertap made it!(author)2010-09-29

Please never try to talk about chemistry ever again. I don't believe you said a single correct statement in your entire post.

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oldmanbeefjerky made it!(author)2010-09-30

its probable, that means possible. ive done the simulations and it seems to work. as what i said was true about mixing a peroxide with a gaseous acid to make hydrogen peroxide, and it is made very pure, so long as you use sulphuric acid not hydrochloric, i just realised that hydrochloric acid reacts with h2o2 to make aqueous chlorine, but its not likely that youll get large amounts of the stuff.
never make such rash acusations without thinking something through

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waynesl made it!(author)2011-10-29

This is me being nice, jpoopdog. As you found on Jan. 2nd, your ideas about chemistry are very mixed up. If you persist in this poorly-conceived activity, you'll probably wind up in hospital. Your theories are spun out of ignorance and hubris, making you a very dangerous person. I'm being as nice as I can when I suggest you stop posting nonsense which may inspire some gullible reader to do something dangerous. Instead, you should go to school and learn from a professional chemist, after which you'll be able to make propellants that propel instead of detonating.

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oldmanbeefjerky made it!(author)2011-11-10

I am now better educated with the safer practices of chemistry.
But ill tell you why i was not discouraged by your warnings.

every time i was told not to do something because there was a 99% chance it would explode in my face and hospitalize me, and not do what i wanted it to, it worked fine, i keep my face. from experience, i learnt that when someones says its very dangerous and will definitely maim you, it actually meant, where gloves and glasses, and youll be fine.

I smelted lead, im not dead from lead poisoning. i had an allergic reaction to the lead oxides left behind after smelting, only to find i have a lead and silver allergy.
I opened a bag of aluminium powder, and it didnt burst into flames like everyone warned. I made HMTD and intentionally mishandled it just to see what its limits were, i smashed a small vial on the ground, and it didnt explode, i was told a slight bump would make it go off.
I asked around here if it was possible to distill ammonium hydroxide, without getting any soap form the soapy ammonia into the clean product. i wanted a simple yes/no answer, but people raved on about how its so dangerous and too risky that ill ruin my lungs somehow and it will explode and somesuch, and not to do it. i did it, and found out i was right, the soap didnt vapourize.


Anyway, now i cant find that post about the exploding mix, but ill have you know i did not post that, plus it would never happen unless its heat was raised spontaneously, and or pressurized.
I dont know how, maybe someone hacked my account, or a moderator just doesnt like me all that much, but i never wrote, nor did that. i highly doubt a 12% bottle of peroxide would make enough 90% for that to even happen at all, nor would i have the means to distill to that concentration and keep it from decomposing down to 60-50% where it is considered stable under standard conditions.

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