Instructables

Make Sulfuric acid (metabisulfite/oxidizer method)

video Make Sulfuric acid (metabisulfite/oxidizer method)
We make concentrated sulfuric acid from sodium metabisulfite, hydrochloric acid and an oxidant such as hydrogen peroxide or nitric acid.

Warning: The procedures in this video produce large quantities of toxic gases and deal with highly corrosive acids. All work must be performed in a fume hood with proper safety equipment. And all apparatus must be glass to withstand the acids.

Sodium metabisulfite upon reaction with acid will generate sulfur dioxide. This provides a convenient source of sulfur dioxide that is easier to handle than burning sulfur.

But it is acceptable if you want to go that route. You'll just need to build a sophisticated gas capture and scrubbing system so the sulfur vapors and soot don't clog your tubes, poison your air and possibly burn down your workspace.

Sulfur dioxide is converted into sulfuric acid by reacting it with an oxidizer in water. In this case either hydrogen peroxide or nitric acid.

Industrially, sulfur dioxide is reacted with oxygen over a catalyst to make sulfur trioxide. This is cheaper but extremely difficult to do safely for the home chemist so the metabisulfite/oxidizer method is used instead.

You may use potassium metabisulfite instead of sodium metabisulfite. Both are used by home brewers to sterilize winemaking and beermaking mixtures. It's also used for homemade dyeing processes. Therefore it is very easy to obtain the metabisulfites without the need for expensive shipping fees or licenses.

The oxidizers must be present for this reaction to work. You cannot simply use water or you'll just make sulfurous acid which decomposes on heating and is useless for the reactions that sulfuric acid is intended for.

In future videos, we may show other methods of sulfuric acid production including sulfur trioxide based methods so please subscribe!

If your like this video, please check out our others at http://www.youtube.com/NurdRage
cyberpig5 years ago
To NurdRage Wow, a great job for home chemist. Could we use sodium sulphate instead of the metabisulfite?
NurdRage (author)  cyberpig5 years ago
That doesn't produce sulfur dioxide. So it wouldn't work. Metabisulfite is very easy to get and there are no restrictions on it. So i don't see why you wouldn't use it.

"Why..?" You ask..? Because in the pursuit of science their is no set course to be followed... That is the fun part!! :D

you can get sodium metabisulfid from any winery.
dciocoiu5 years ago
is it tru you could make hydrochloric acid from vinigar and salt?

Yes, salt with vinegar does make a very, and I men very weak form of Hydrochorric acid. That is why it is a more efficient cleaner then vinegar alone... However I have not heard of a way to actually produce practical amount of concentrated Hydrochloric acid by doing this, even via electrolysis...

antienoob5 years ago
i really like your video and find it both verry informative and fun to watch. but due to the fact that my science grade wasnt through the roof i dont know too much about chemicals (i do know a bit but not enough) so when you past a vid could you explain the uses of the chemicals u make. oh and could you explaine the use for this one too. thnx.

H2SO4 or sulfuric acid is used in many scientific demonstrations and chemical synthesis, including: Sulfuric acid in "Sugar Dehydration, Carbon Snake Demonstration..."

It can be mixed with nitrates such as Ammonium Nitrate, Sodium Nitrate or Potassium Nitrate and then heated and distilled to produce Nitric Acid... It also is used to concentrate Nitrite acid, seeing as it affinity for water is so strong...

Plus it is commonly used as a stabilization agent in the production of Nitrocellulose cotton, Also know as Flash Cotton, Gun Cotton and Magicians Cotton... Which is what they used to make Smokeless gun powder...

To name a few...

heat7004 years ago
what could i use sulferic acid for?

Dehydration of sugar to make carbon snakes... Stabilization agent in Flash Cotton, also can be used in production of Nitric acid...

a lot of the other experiments use it
Hi, I am so happy that i found a way that it is possible to get every chemicals when you try to get it, you shouldn't give up! I found these in my city: Hydrogen peroxide 3%, Sulfuric acid 33%, Hydrochloric acid 19%, Acetone, Acetic acid 98%, Lithium, Sodium Chloride, Titanium, Xenon, Nitric acid 100%(by buying fertilizers and using your(NurdRage) way for making it)..... So I think i can get all chemical elements!!! So you can make all bombs, batteries.....be terrorist with chemicals! Some people are hurted with chemicals, well chemicals are not responsible for hurting but people. Everything can get out of control, you can touch light switch in your house and die if it is not good connected, hot water can fall in your eye and you can be blind.....So I am planing on the summer to make web page for making all chemicals, in same way like you(better of course!) and i watched some your video on that how you talked which are best pages, and you explained how that i mustn't stop making new videos more than week....bla..bla.bla! What DO YOU SAY NURD RAGE, DO YOU AGREE?

^What The F***..?^

What's nice about the nitric acid method is that you can recycle the nitric acid. Just dissolve any evolved nitrogen dioxide into water. That will evolve nitric acid and nitric oxide, which is oxidized by oxygen to more nitrogen dioxide, which you dissolve, and keep repeating until there is a negligable amount of nitric oxide being evolved.
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cyberpig5 years ago
I saw a simpler method of making sulphur dioxide and trioxde on the web, please have a look and see whether it is a better one. I saw a passage talking about the oldest method of generate sulphur dioxide and trioxide by burning iron(ii) sulphate. Iron(ii) sulphate --> Iron(iii) oxide + Sulphur dioxide + sulphur trioxide. Then we can dissolve the gas in hydrogen peroxide, is it a better method or not?
NurdRage (author)  cyberpig5 years ago
you need a way of safely heating iron sulfate and collecting the gases. if you can do that then go for it.
NurdRage (author)  cyberpig5 years ago
seems reasonable, although you won't make much sulfuric acid on test tube scales. But if it's just a concept experiment then go for it.
Kaiven5 years ago
Fun stuff.. well, to watch :D
mikeasaurus5 years ago
I'm no chemistry buff, but I've been an avid fan of watching your vids. It's fun and informative to watch the experiments and have you explain what's happening! I also just now got the cleverness of the name you posted at the beginning of your video, a fun little surprise to those who are paying attention in the front of the class.
NurdRage (author)  mikeasaurus5 years ago
You get a gold star! :) yeah, I went through many ideas for names ranging from Dr. Evil to Dr. Beaker. but then when i saw the bottle of chemical on the lab bench i realized "THAT'S IT!!!" :)
theRIAA5 years ago
wow, nice job!
NurdRage (author)  theRIAA5 years ago
Thanks!