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How to Make Sodium Acetate From Household Ingredients

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Picture of How to Make Sodium Acetate From Household Ingredients
Sodium acetate is the sodium salt of acetic acid. It's also the primary flavoring in salt and vinegar potato chips. This Instructable will show how to make sodium acetate using common household ingredients.

No special equipment of measuring is required. You can pretty much eyeball the whole process.

Note: This is a bit smelly and can irritate the eyes and skin.

This process is not sufficient to produce "hot ice". Too many contaminants. If you want to get a purified form for use in "hot ice" experiments, there's an Instructable by indigoandblack that should help. It's more involved but much more likely to get the results you want.

Standard Disclaimer: Not liable for damages due to use or misuse. No warranties expressed or implied. For educational purposes only. Safety goggles may be required during use. Void where prohibited. Your mileage may vary. Unauthorized personnel only. Ceci n'est pas une pipe.
 
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Step 1: Materials

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You'll need:
- sodium bicarbonate (baking soda)
- acetic acid (vinegar)
- microwavable glass or ceramic containers
- coffee filters
- spoon

Step 2: Chemical Reaction

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Put some baking soda in one of the containers. I used a heaping spoonful in a measuring cup.

Add vinegar very slowly. Too much and the container will overflow with foam. Add a little, wait for the foaming to subside, add a little more.

Keep adding vinegar a little at a time, stirring the mixture.

Stop adding vinegar once the mixture stops bubbling, even with stirring.

What you should have now is a solution of sodium acetate in water. I ended up with the measuring cup nearly full of solution.

Step 3: Boiling

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Microwave the solution to boil off the water. It took me about 20 minutes on High. I did this in three 5-minute segments, followed by a series of 1-minute segments.

Keep boiling it down until you start to hear sizzling and popping sounds. It should still be a liquid, though. If you end up with a foul-smelling yellow lump, you've gone too far.

The resulting volume should be about 1/10 the original solution.

Note: The container will be very hot.

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Krcstar1 month ago
This would be edible right?

These can come in handy when camping or after a long workout. I never knew this is how it could be done.

13coolguy96 years ago
can u acctaly use the ice?
No, it's not real ice, it just looks like ice. It's actually just aqueous sodium acetate crystallized. Its most common use is in reusable instant hand warmers. You can easily look up "reusable instant hand warmer" online and find them. In that sense you can use it, but not as ice.
I studied somewhere that Dry Ice is also known as carbondioxide crystals.. So, Is the fake ice formed the carbondioxide crystals???
not the same thing at all...touch dry ice for a minute and you will get frostbite. Dry ice is frozen carbon dioxide hot ice isn't.
LOL. For a minute? Touch dry ice and you get badly "burned" in seconds, if not instantly.
Was that the point of my comment? No. Even then, you are still somewhat wrong. Dry ice will cause frost-nip in seconds, where your "burning" sensation happens. Frostbite can happen in seconds (which is quite a vague measure), but it all depends on a number of factors such has how sweaty your hands are (if you touch the dry ice with your hands), etc... because water has a greater heat-capacity than your dry skin. Therefore, frostbite by dry ice could happen in a matter of seconds, or a matter of minutes. Oh, and didn't you read the following: " We have a "be nice" comment policy. Please be positive and constructive with your comments" right above the post button? You comment was offensive and definitely not constructive.
Oh my gosh. What you are referring to as "hot ice" is a supersaturated solution of sodium acetate. What that means is that more of it is dissolved in water than its solubility curve allows for. Since there is extra solid dissolved, when you flex the metal plate in the pack, it causes the extra to crystalize out of solution, releasing a lot of energy.
i don't understand how you reached this conclusion, but sorry, this is different. even though this stuff is sometimes called "hot ice", it's not really ice at all. I think people call it ice because when this substance (sodium acetate), is dissolved in water, and then moved, it "freezes", or becomes solid. When it becomes solid, it looks like ice. but it's really not. Also, dry ice is really friggin cold, and this is the stuff used in hand warmers (aka, it makes things warm). i hope this answered your question.
hey
nah, just fun to play with.
Hi i am Kulpreet,
can i use ENO ( an ant acid) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eno_(drug)) instead of baking soda?
You could theoretically however Eno, according to wikipedia, also contains a lot of citric acid (nearly 43% by mass). The citric acid would probably react with the sodium bicarbonate as well so you'd end up with a lot of sodium citrate (from the citric acid) rather than sodium acetate (from the acetic acid in vinegar).
It would be more effective if you used Sodium hydroxide (NaOH) rather than the sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3). NaOH is a strong base, so the Na+ and the OH- dissociate completely. Additionally, by using NaHCO3, you created a weak acid (H2CO3). When you use NaOH, you just get sodium acetate and water, which can be boiled off.
NaHCO3 and NaOH both are totally separated in water : You are confusing an ions pair (Na+ and Cl-, or K+ and OH-) with an acid--base couple (H2O/OH-, or HCO3- CO3(2-) ).
The acid strenght is a measure of the ability of an acid to loose one protons (ie H+) ; conversely, the base strenght is a measure of the ability to gain a proton : OH- + H+ --> H2O.

Futhermore, the point of using baking soda IS to create H2CO3 : this acid is highly nstable and is the product of the dissolution of CO2 in water.
Actually, in water, the concentration of H2CO3 is practically negligeable because it is totally converted in HCO3- or CO2, depening on the experiment conditions :
here, by adding the baking soda to vinegar, we are combining a weak base to a weak acid : baking soda will react with acetic acid (vinegar) to yield H2CO3, wich will mostly decompose back to HCO3- : however a small percentage will turn into CO2, and this CO2, being a gas not very soluble in water, will evolve from the mixture.
As this last process is irreversible, all of the baking soda's HCO3- will turn into CO2 and will be lost from the mixture, giving a aqueous solution of only sodium acetate (abd vinegar impurities).
Ruettiger2 years ago
so do I put this on chips? What is this used for?
julsscott3 years ago
can you just buy this stuff at a store?
Which stuff? Baking soda, vinegar, coffee filters, dry ice?
gelfling1333 years ago
Would it be reasonable to surround said coffee filter with silica gel packets, or any sort of dessicant, to aid in the drying out? Or would that screw up the process?
Just curious, mostly because I'm horribly impatient, and partially because I hoard the crap out of dessicant packets(and tons of other random potential lab/hobby bits & pieces), and am always looking for ways to use all this....stuff, LOL.....
reaper333 years ago
I ever do this experiment but I used stove, not microwave. Im heat it.then after done, and i cooling. But why it didn't be solid and still be liquid. can anyone know where I wrong to do? what I must do?
you probably didn't let it dissolve enough
aonwuka3 years ago
everyone! this doesnt teach u how to make hot ice!IT TEACHES U HOW to make something else read!
dcardenas13 years ago
Do NOT use Glass Cups! D:
Why not?
vnicolescu3 years ago
ahhh mine is really dark red nearly black liquid... what now?
Instead of using a microwave, i used the stove, it turned out just as good as yours did. I just put it in a measuring cup when i though it was boiled long enough to see if it matched your reduced sodium acetate. Thanks for posting this
travon4 years ago
need some help for science fair project
Me too. We've gotta think of a science experiment for a school project
wait...so if i mix acetic acid with baking soda i dont need to boil it? am i right or i am right? (i saw acetic acid in small bottle, expensive)
When i followed your instructions,the baking soda and vinegar liquid turned out to be white in colour.the gel is white in colour,now its already cooled,its still completely white,did i do anything wrong?
Bree Tanner4 years ago
To use this to make Hot ice, Do you need to place it in the microwave first?
No,I have a video that will show you how to make hot ice.
magnadox4 years ago
 well either way i decided i would eat it so im glad it did'nt kill me :]
poldz1235 years ago
is that a baking soda that the liquid gel putted in the coffee filter
nope, that's the sodium acetate crystals. The baking soda should only be used the first step, to dissolve into the vinegar. Sodium Bicarbonate (baking soda) plus Acetic Acid in water (vinegar) = sodium acetate in water + Carbon dioxide
when you boil off the water, you end up with the sodium acetate crystals you see here. The gel just doesn't have all the water out of it yet.
Hey, You said that the gel is Sodium Acetate. Then what is that white powder in the bowl??
same stuff, but dry. (the gel part is just gel because it still has some water in it. if it dried and you crushed it, it would look like the white powder)
woahwoah24 years ago
this only works if you use white vingar. although for some reasonit didnt work for me
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