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  • JonL73 commented on Science Tower's instructable Make Hydrogen,Oxygen And Chlorine2 years ago
    Make Hydrogen,Oxygen And Chlorine

    Yes you are right "NaOH is known as Caustic soda or lye" or more properly sodium hydroxide. On the other hand I can see the cause for confusion, Sodium Carbonate dissassociates in water producing a buffered solution of Sodium Hydroxide so whilst Washing Soda is NOT sodium hydroxide it does produce it when dissolved in water. The beauty of a buffered solution is that as the sodium hydroxide is used up - perhaps because you are cleaning grease from metal before electroplating then more will be produced as more sodium carbonate will dissassociate until equilibrium is again achieved.

    Many young experimenters have tried the caustic soda and aluminium approach, I did it myself when I was a kid. However it is exceedingly dangerous. It can very easily get out of control and heat up which is a vicous cycle as the increased temperature speeds the reaction up even more. The end result can be a boiling fountain of caustic soda solution spraying over everyone resulting in some really nasty injuries. If you have to do this then don't use foil it has a lot of surface area for a given weight and is a fast way to a fast reaction - instead slow it all down, use solid aluminium, low concentration of caustic soda and aim for a very slow reaction and be patient but safer. Still very dangerous but I am not going to preach as I did it myself - do try and be informed regards the danger...

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    Many young experimenters have tried the caustic soda and aluminium approach, I did it myself when I was a kid. However it is exceedingly dangerous. It can very easily get out of control and heat up which is a vicous cycle as the increased temperature speeds the reaction up even more. The end result can be a boiling fountain of caustic soda solution spraying over everyone resulting in some really nasty injuries. If you have to do this then don't use foil it has a lot of surface area for a given weight and is a fast way to a fast reaction - instead slow it all down, use solid aluminium, low concentration of caustic soda and aim for a very slow reaction and be patient but safer. Still very dangerous but I am not going to preach as I did it myself - do try and be informed regards the danger and pick a safer route. Also consider cooling the exterior of the container by placing it all in a water bath so the exothermic reaction is cooled down and does not go ballistic.

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