How to Build Your Own Chemistry Laboratory From Scratch and an Easy Experiment to Do With It!




Introduction: How to Build Your Own Chemistry Laboratory From Scratch and an Easy Experiment to Do With It!

Don't you think that having your own chemical laboratory is a really cool thing? Isn't it?

Like we all see in the movies, we see all these scientists and superheroes in their basement working heavily in some kind of lab, doing some really cool type of stuff- mixing chemical cocktails and whatnot! Seems interesting, huh?

This Instructable will lead you on one of the best ways to make your chemistry laboratory, all in an economical and resourceful way!

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All the people who wish to do this Instructable do it on their own risk.

I am not responsible for any losses and damages.
The ones who wish to this this Instructable, must use Safety Protocols at all times.

Step 2: Gather Your Resources!

For a chemistry laboratory, you must obviously have your stock of chemicals, right?

You would require yourself to look in the right place for the right chemical. Let me give you a few places to start with:

  1. Spent Alkaline Batteries: Graphite blocks, graphite rods, Manganese Dioxide, Ammonium Chloride jelly, Zinc plates.
  2. Old Rechargeable Batteries (Li-Ion Type): Lithium foil.
  3. Your Kitchen: Sodium Chloride (Common Salt), Potassium Chloride (Diet Salt -Low Sodium), Sodium Bicarbonate, Sucrose, Glucose (mixed with some Dextrose), Potassium Tartarate (Cream of Tartar), Acetic Acid (7% as vinegar- preferably White Vinegar).
  4. First Aid Kit: Iodine Tincture (Iodine dissolved in alcohol), Hydrogen Peroxide (3-6% w/v), Ethanol (25% as spirit), Ethanol (95% as hand sanitizer).
  5. Electronics: Neodymium Magnet (NdFeB- scavenged from a Bose QC15, obviously the spoilt one!), Titanium Steel (scavenged from an old remote control car, beside the wheel motor), Copper wires, Aluminum wires.
  6. Departmental Store: Borax, Sodium Hydroxide (sold as Drain Cleaner such as DrainEx), Potassium Nitrate (sold as Stump Remover).
  7. Chemist: Hydrogen Peroxide (3-30% w/v), Potassium Permanganate (depends on region you live in), Boric Acid, Potash Alum (usually found even at saloons).
  8. Ice Cream Shop- Any good ice cream shop is a reliable source of Dry Ice (Carbon Dioxide @ -93 Celsius).
  9. Thermometer- An excellent source of pure Mercury. Beware, mercury is toxic!

Well, these are the places that I looked into and scavenged the best I could have. But if you are a more daring person who can handle something more, try the car battery for Sulfuric Acid (~90-95% w/v), etc!

If you also want a heating source, you can opt for a Butane/Propane burner which are sold in the form of campsite burners.

Step 3: Extraction of Chemicals From Alkaline Batteries:

An alkaline battery is usually made of a steel cover which envelops a dry cell within itself.

  1. Rip off the labels off your battery.
  2. Using pliers and scissors, take off the outer steel cover.
  3. You would see a cardboard battery with a transparent enamel coating.
  4. Within the battery, if you use a 9-Volt battery, you would be able to see 6 blocks of graphite.
  5. Now, using a blade, cut open the enamel cover.
  6. Then take the graphite out.
  7. On observing closely, you would find a black coating- that is Manganese Dioxide.
  8. Scrape the Manganese Dioxide using a sharp tool.
  9. You would even a small layer of a whitish paste. That is Ammonium Chloride.
  10. Preserve that. Now you've got Ammonium Chloride as well.
  11. Then with the lead, pluck it using pliers.
  12. There should be a black rod attached to it. That is carbon in the form of graphite.

Hence, you could easily extract Graphite plate, Graphite rod, Manganese Dioxide and Ammonium Chloride out of an Alkaline battery. That's 4 additions to your lab without spending a penny. (That's if you've got an alkaline battery and the pliers).

Step 4: Making a Few Chemicals From Household Stuff!

Now you're about to make some chemicals on your own.

  1. Sodium Carbonate: You could make Sodium Carbonate from your Sodium Bicarbonate (from the Kitchen), by simply heating it. I used a microwave to do so. You could pop it in the oven. The identity which will tell you whether it is converted or not, is the texture. It's texture will change from smooth to grainy.
  2. Borax:Borax can be made easily by mixing the sodium carbonate you made above with some boric acid. The mixture will be soapy and then can be crystallized to get borax crystals.
  3. Borax Beads (Sodium Metaborate): This can easily be made by heating the borax crystals directly on flame. You can even use boric acid to do so.
  4. Sodium Acetate: This can easily be made by mixing acetic acid (white vinegar) and sodium bicarbonate or sodium carbonate.
  5. Ethyl Ethanoate: This can be made by mixing acetic acid (white vinegar) and ethanol (25 % sold as spirit).
  6. Copper Acetate: You can make this solution by electrolysing the sodium acetate solution using copper wires. In some time, you'll observe that the transparent solution has turned blue.

You could make some more and post the suggestions on my OrangeBoard.

See, chemistry is all about mixing stuff up and experimenting. Just do some permutations and combinations and you'll end up making something new! That's what I did!

Step 5: Arrange Your Stuff!

Now that you're all stocked up with the chemicals, you need an appropriate place to arrange them. Your "Chemistry Laboratory". What might be an ideal place? Here are some ideas:

  1. A garage
  2. A basement
  3. A small room with good ventilation
  4. Under the staircase like Harry Potter ;)

Well, any place with a good ventilation is very good and is a potential location to set your lab up.

Make sure that small children don't get too close to your lab.

Step 6: Other Equipments and Apparatus:

After some load of chemicals, you would require some apparatus to make your lab look like a lab. So you would require:

  1. Test Tubes- Can be brought at a DIY store.
  2. Test Tube Holders- If you're gonna do a heating experiment, you'd require it.
  3. Beakers- Various sizes
  4. Clamps- to hold Burette
  5. Burette- Can be used for Titration
  6. Pipette- Same here.
  7. Dropper- Various purposes.
  8. Burner- Can be purchased at a Camping Shop where they are sold as Propane/Butane torches.
  9. Litmus Papers- Acid/Base checks.
  10. Filter Paper- Filtration and Chromatography.
  11. Dustbin- For depositing the waste solids.
  12. Sink- For waste deployment and washing the glass ware.
  13. Batteries- You could use them for electrolysis and chemical extraction.
  14. Candy Thermometer- Measuring the temperature of a reaction/ during a reaction.

Step 7: Safety Protocols:

Having built a chemistry laboratory is fine. But what if there is a mishap? Or something undesirable or something you wouldn't like to happen? Let's have somethings so that those mishaps can be avoided. Here are a few:

  1. Fire Extinguisher- A,B,C,D Types. So that, each kind of fire could be extinguished.
  2. Lab Coat- You wouldn't want anything like Potassium Permanganate to fall on your favorite shirt, would you? By the way, that kind of stain is permanent. No solvent could even think of removing it!
  3. Ventilator- If the place you choose to make the laboratory ain't ventilated enough, you could use this.
  4. Fume Exhaust- You would require this to remove the deadly fumes (if any) produced so that you don't inhale those (and then become some mutant ;)).
  5. First Aid Kit- You never know when a test tube gonna break or any hot chemical might splash on your hand, right? Keep in stock of gauze, burn cream, etc.
  6. Cold Water- Keep plenty of it in stock. You never know when you need it.

Step 8: Experimenting!

Now that you're stocked up and ready to do something, just experiment.

Step 9: Steam Propelled Projectile Launcher!

This one didn't take a lot. As usual, while experimenting, I found this out.

You can even check my Instructable exclusively made for making this one.

Here's the link:

Here's how you can make it the way I made it in 9 easy steps:

  1. Gather up about 100 ml Hydrogen Peroxide (6% w/v), a pinch of Potassium Permanganate and a small, but tough 400 ml plastic bottle. (You can mess around with bottles of different sizes).
  2. Then fill about one-sixth of the bottle with Hydrogen Peroxide.
  3. Then, take a pinch of Potassium Permanganate and add it to the Peroxide.
  4. The moment you put the crystals in the bottle, you closed the cap of the bottle and screw it tightly. (This takes a longer time to read than actually doing it). MUST BE DONE EXTREMELY FAST. AVOID ANY TIME LAG.
  5. The moment you close the lid, give the bottle a shake. An intense reaction between the two will occur: Reaction: KMnO4 + H2O2 --> K2O2 + MnO2 + H2O + O2 (unbalanced)
  6. The H2O and O2 released in the bottle will increase the pressure because the volume remaining constant, the moles keep on increasing.
  7. After that, you'll see that the bottle has stiffened up to its fullest. If you've taken a tough bottle, don't worry, it won't burst. Keep the bottle on the ground.
  8. Now, with your left foot, pin the middle of the bottle to the ground. Place your right foot on the neck of the bottle.
  9. With a sharp pull, pull your right leg towards yourself, in order to open the bottle with your foot.

Now, with a BANG!, at a supersonic speed, the bottle cap will hurl ahead!

Step 10: Applications

The experiment you just saw has innumerous applications in real-day life:

1. The heat and energy released can be used as a viable source of energy in the future when the quantity of non-renewable sources such as petroleum is going down at an alarmingly high rate.

2. It is a clean source of energy as it does not have any harmful by-product.

3. The KOH formed in the reaction can easily be separated by filtration to get rid of the insoluble Mn Oxides and can then be used in the soap industry.

4. The Mn oxides can be used in electrodes in batteries and as pigments in printer inks.

5. The O2 released in the container serves as a viable source of oxygen (non-natural) and also serves as a source of pressure.

6. The pressure contained in the canister will serve as a firecracker-replacement.

7. Energy development from the steam and O2 released we can rotate turbines in order to produce electricity which is cheap and clean.

8. Launching of projectiles (small), at supersonic speed.

9. Riot control police weapon replacement.

10. Inflating deflated and de-shaped plastic bottles in order to recycle them.

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    2 years ago

    Umm ethyl acetate requires reflux distillation and strong amount of dilute sulfuric acid.