Potassium Chlorate from household products

potassium-chlorate-crystalization-experiment
To the upper right we have very pure potassium chlorate, so much so that it bursts into flames when mixed with sugar and catalyzed with some sulfuric acid. [Mr. Home Scientist] produced the KClO3 using household chemicals and some rudimentary equipment sourced on eBay.

The experiment started off with concentrated bleach containing 8.25% sodium hypochlorite. He needed sodium chlorate so a hot plate was used to boil the bleach until crystals started to form. A more efficient way to achieve this reaction would be using electrolysis (check out the HHO generator we saw recently for a homemade rig). The next step is to add potassium chloride, which is sourced from the grocery store as a sodium-free salt alternative. After mixing with the filtered remains of the bleach reaction the two are combined. There is no precipitate from this — an indication that not everything is as it should be. But an overnight stay in the refrigerator results in the potassium chlorate crystals seen above.

Fiery testing (seen below) lets him know the experiment worked. From here the product can be used for things like making solid rocket engines.

[Read more...]

Brewing up gunpowder with household products

When the zombiepocalypse comes you’re not going to want to run out to the store for more ammo. But you can always reload great grandpa’s musket with some homemade gunpowder. All kidding aside, the invention and proliferation of gunpowder had a profound effect on the world. Here you can see just how easy it is to make with chemicals that are common in our modern world.

The two compounds that go into this experiment are ammonium nitrate and potassium chloride. Where can you get your hands on these materials? Instant cold packs use ammonium nitrate and water to start an endothermic reaction. The potassium chloride can be found in the grocery store as a table salt alternative.

The chemicals need to be measured by weight. [William Finucane] didn’t have a digital scale on hand so he made a balance using a wooden ruler, two plastic component drawers, and a Bic lighter as a fulcrum. With approximately equal parts of the two materials he sets about dissolving in water, filtering, and heating of the concoction to produce saltpeter. Combine this with powdered sugar and you’ve got gun powder. Don’t believe that it works? You can see the fiery goodness in the clip after the break.

Flammable and explosive materials are dangerous to work with, so you probably shouldn’t do this yourself. But then again, it can’t be as dangerous as working with thermite. [Read more...]

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