Introduction: Test Tree Stump Remover for Chlorates, Nitrates or Metabisulfites

How to test stump remover for potassium chlorate, potassium nitrate, or sodium metabisulfite.

All of these chemicals are useful and stump removers can be an easy to obtain source for them. The stump remover SHOULD be labeled. But if it isn't you can perform these tests.

First mix an equal portion of sugar and stump remover and add sulfuric acid. This might cause the mixture to catch fire (add more acid if it doesn't go at first). If it does, it's most likely potassium or sodium chlorate (usually potassium).

If it doesn't light with sulfuric acid, then try torching it. If it starts to burn on it's own, then it's potassium nitrate.

To be absolutely certain, you can run the nitrate test we already showed in a previous video:

If it's sodium metabisulfite, it won't burn with sugar under any circumstances. To confirm it's metabisulfite, in a separate container of 10mL of water add 1gram of the stump remover and 0.5 grams of iodine from one of our previous videos:

If it is sodium metabisulfite it will fizz and dissolve as seen in the video.

Once you've identified the stump remover you can start doing experiments!

Chlorate - Make fire without matches:

Chlorate - fire storm in a test tube:

Nitrates - Make nitric acid:

Metabisulfite - Make Sulfuric Acid:


JRMcCulloch (author)2012-05-12

Hey NurdRage, what brand of stump remover did you use? Thanks.

Railes (author)2012-04-29

Most stump removers are bisulfates, not metabisulfites. I have never found one specified by MSDS to be any higher in concentrations.

NurdRage (author)Railes2012-04-29

Strange, all the ones i got were largely metabisulfite.

But if the ones you got were just bisulfates then in that case you're outta luck in terms of stump removers. But don't worry, you can obtain sodium or potassium metabisulfite from some home textile companies, since it's used for dyeing. It's also sold for home brewing to stop fermentation at a particular point.

If you're still having trouble obtaining metabisulfite it can be made directly by bubbling sulfur dioxide into sodium or potassium hydroxide. It won't be pure, put you can just adjust the amount you use,

Kaiven (author)2009-09-29

Where could I find a large amount of stump remover? Local stores don't sell any...

Squintz82 (author)2009-09-23

Great video. I have used stump remover to make my own model rocket fuel. I would love to see a video of what rocket fuels you could come up with.

Berkin (author)2009-09-20

Well done, this is extremely helpful to me. Thanks so much!

About This Instructable




Bio: NurdRage is a dedicate group of science nerds trying to further amateur science with direct how-to instructions in video format. We saw what was already ... More »
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