Introduction: Extracting (almost Pure) Caffeine From Caffeine Pills.
DON'T DO THIS IF YOU ARE NOT 100% SURE THAT THE SOLVENT YOUR USING EVAPORATES COMPLETELY LEAVING NO TOXIC RESIDUE!
ALSO, CAFFEINE IS TOXIC IN HIGH DOSES. (SEE COMMENTS FOR DETAILS)
So let's say you want to make caffeinated muffins, caffeinated peanut butter, or even caffeinated Chap Stick. That means you're going to need some caffeine. Sadly, pure caffeine isn't something you can just buy at your corner store but you can, however, but caffeine pills. In this Instructable I'll be using Maximum Strength NoDoz. The bottle states that each pill contains 200 mg. of caffeine so it will be perfect for this process.
Some may ask "Why not just crush up the pills and use as is?ÃÂ¢Ã¢ÂÂ¬ÃÂ
If you have ever tasted a caffeine pill (or any solid pill for that matter), youÃÂ¢Ã¢ÂÂ¬Ã¢ÂÂ¢d know why. The taste is unpleasant and it carries through to the flavor of the food.
With this process, it allows us to do away with the parts of the pill that we donÃÂ¢Ã¢ÂÂ¬Ã¢ÂÂ¢t want to deal with.
Benzoic Acid, Corn Starch,FD&C Blue 1,
Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Microcrystalline Cellulose,
Mineral Oil, Polysorbate 20, Povidone, Propylene Glycol,
Simethicone Emulsion, Sorbitan Monolaurate, Stearic Acid,
Sucrose, Titanium Dioxide.
Since we will be using denatured alcohol as our solvent, we have to analyze these substances to see what else will be dissolved. By searching through the MSDS records, I have that list here.
Soluble in Ethanol or Methanol:
Caffeine, Benzoic Acid, FD&C Blue 1, Povidone.
Some of these are soluble in Methanol but since the solvent is > 4% Methanol their concentrations in the solution will be low (their concentrations are already low and shouldnÃÂ¢Ã¢ÂÂ¬Ã¢ÂÂ¢t be enough to effect taste). This is true except for caffeine which is soluble in alcohol and will be in high concentration (just like we want).
Having that been said, lets start with the parts list.
Step 1: Parts List
A clean pane of glass.
This will be your working surface.
I used NoDoz but any should work.
A mortar and pestle.
Used for crushing pills but any crushing mechanism should be fine.
You could use a pipette or straw.
Use 100% alcohol because caffeine dissolves in alcohol.
For scraping crystals off of the pane of glass. Key Lime not necessary.
Make sure you're in a well ventilated area.
Step 2: Crush the Pills
Crush the desired amount of pills how ever you intend to.
Grind into fine powder.
Leave no clump uncrushed.
Step 3: Dissolve the Caffeine
Pour in some alcohol and mix.
Allow the mixture to settle into 2 layers.
Wait until the alcohol layer becomes clear.
After it settles suck up the clear solution with the eye dropper and pour it onto the pane of glass.
The solvent will evaporate leaving a layer of caffeine crystals.
Continue adding the solution and drying until you run out of clear solution.
Then add more alcohol and repeat this step until you feel that there is no more caffeine in the undissolved bottom layer.
Step 4: Scrape Off the Crystals
Push the sharp side of the razer flat on the glass and scrape the crystals into a pile.
(like you see those coked up people do with mirrors on cable tv)
Put the crystals in a dry container and save for later.
Step 5: You're Done...
The caffeine can be used for what ever you wish.
It will still have a bitter taste but a lot less than if you had not done this.
This method can be used for many different substance extractions.
There is another way to extract caffeine by heating it until it sublimes and condensing it after it evaporates.
I've done it for acetone peroxide dissolved in acetone (it is not recommended because it is very friction sensitive so you have to keep it slightly "wet" as to not trigger an explosion).
Furthermore, if you re-dissolve the caffeine and repeat the process leaving the undissolved layer on the bottom, you can further purify your caffeine.