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Confused about making iron oxide? Answered

I am making some iron oxide using the method with the 9 volt and nail in saltwater. Im a little confused however in all the thermite instuctables it says that the wire that bubbles the most is the positve wire. When i connect the (what the battery says) is positive to the nails and insert the negative into the water it seems like more bubbles are kinda comming off the stripped negative wire. The water is turning a little green(update-its not to green anymore) There is brown stuff floating at the top of the water.which doesnt burn my skin and smells like metal. I am using copper wire. Any suggestions?

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blakdragon19Best Answer (author)2009-05-29

a great way to make iron oxide is to take a blowtorch or other flame to steel wool in aluminum foil (to catch the FeO).

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Mahitchima (author)2013-03-21


H2O = 2 hydrogen atoms + 1 oxygen atom.

Hydrogen comes from the negative side, and Oxygen comes from the positive.

Since it's twice as much Hydrogen as oxygen in the water, it should bubble twice as much on the negative.

You get iron oxide from the positive end.

When i have been Recovering iron oxide/Hydrogen/Oxygen, nothing special seems to happen with the nail/metal on the negative side, while the nail/metal on the positive side seems to disappear entirely.

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Berkin (author)2009-09-30

I have a very large cell with a 1.5 lb railroad bolt in it, I know a good bit about electrolysis. You need the bolt to be the anode. The electrode that bubbles is the cathode.

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lemonie (author)2009-05-29

To oxidise iron you need the iron to be connected to the +ve electrode. If your solution went green I think it more likely that it's a copper salt rather than iron, and you've got them the wrong way around. But you're telling us that you haven't ? What are you working from (link)? L

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The Red Button (author)lemonie2009-05-29

idk. its not green anymore. but its got sludgey floating brown/orangey stuff at the top. can the iron oxide float?

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and the sludgey stuff smells like metallic stuff

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lemonie (author)The Red Button2009-05-30

Bake it / roast it (sludge) - it should go black - sounds like you've got your oxide. L

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The Red Button (author)lemonie2009-05-30

yeah. it is black once it drys on the filter. i thought iron oxide was like orangey rust colored brown though?

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lemonie (author)The Red Button2009-05-30

The hydrate (rust) is orangey-brown, baking it to black (dry) is something you'd need to do I think. L

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The Red Button (author)lemonie2009-05-30

yeah. looks like its all working out. thanks

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lemonie (author)The Red Button2009-05-30

Oh good - Instructable to follow? L

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Kiteman (author)The Red Button2009-05-30

Most things will float if the particles are small enough (technically, you've made a colloid of iron oxide).

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