Home Manufactured Chlorates (Part 2)

Home Manufactured Chlorates

Part 2

 

This is a continuation of the first part of the series on making Chlorates at home using DIY type methods suitable to a survival situation. If you want an introduction to Chlorates and why you would want to make them, then check out part 1 of the series.

In the first part I showed how Potassium Chlorate could be produced using common household bleach. In part 2 I’m going to show how you can make Sodium Chlorate from common household salt and electricity using electrolysis. In this method, electricity is used to convert salt, which is the chemical Sodium Chloride into Sodium Chlorate by adding three oxygen atoms from water to the sodium chloride.

To start with you will need a few things before you can begin. Number one is salt. In this tutorial I use common table salt which is Sodium Chloride, because it is the most common form of salt available and is cheap and easy to find. You could use Potassium Chloride as well and this would produce a better end product as I explained in the first part of the series. Secondly you will need a container with a lid. It should be plastic, ceramic or glass only, as a metal container will corrode. I have used a cheap disposable Tupperware container. Third is a source of electricity,  A power supply of 5 volts dc with the capability to handle at least 2 amps of current is a good starting point. I’ve used the power supply from a computer because it can produce 5 volts of really clean dc power and can handle well over 2 amps of current. In addition, they are extremely common. The fourth item is a set of electrodes. This is the most important part of the process because very few things will work. Mostly precious metals such as platinum or Titanium coated with rare-earth metal oxides. These can be purchased online for this very purpose and work quite well if you plan on making a lot of Chlorates, however they are not very common and that’s the point of this method. Luckily carbon will work well as an electrode material. Carbon rods are easily retrieved from 6 volt lantern batteries as I will show. Finally you will need some distilled water and some electrical wire.

 

To start, you will need to disassemble the lantern battery. Cutting around the top were the metal prongs are will allow you to remove the top and you will see 4 metal  tubes with wires attached to them.  Each of these is a cell and will produce 1.5 volts each with 4 in series making the 6 volts the battery is rated for. Cut the wires and pull the cells out of the plastic housing. The carbon rod is the piece in the center of each cell with a little metal cap on top. The cell is filled with a sticky paste of electrolyte and manganese dioxide.  You will need to pull the carbon rod out of the cell with some pliers. This is made difficult by the sticky paste in the battery. Pull straight out without twisting or tugging as the carbon rods are brittle and will snap if flexed too much. If the metal caps pops off that’s OK but they make good points to attach wire to. You will need two carbon rods. With the rods free you can wipe them down to clean off any remaining battery paste.

 

battery1CarbonRod`

 

 

 

Next you have to fit them through the lid of you container. If you use a plastic lid this is easy. Just heat up the rods and when they are hot enough, push them through the plastic and you have a perfect seal. If not, then a hole should be drilled through the lid the same size as the rods and sealed with hot glue or silicone.

 

Container1RodHeatedRodInsert

 

 

With this all done, you can begin the setup. I recommend doing this outside under cover or in a garage as it will produce some chlorine gas but mainly just because it will stink. Start by filling your container up with hot distilled water. Then pour this into another large container. Add salt to the water and stir. Keep adding salt until no more is dissolved in the water and let it sit for 15 minutes then pour it back into the first container, keeping any undissolved salt from going into the first container. put the lid onto the container and make sure the carbon rods are immersed into the salt solution. Attach a wire to each rod either by twisting it around the rod or to the metal cap if it’s still attached. Attach the power supply to the wire and turn it on. You  should see bubbles begin to form on the rods and a strong smell of bleach after a few minutes. Wrap the container in a towel to insulate it. The process will take about 5 days depending on how much solution  you used. The solution needs to remain fairly warm but not too hot as the electrodes will start to fall apart.

IMG_2405

When the solution is finished the electrodes will have dissolved a little bit and there will be a black power in the solution. You can filter this out with a paper towel and a funnel. Once everything is filtered you can begin to evaporate the water and, as this happens crystals of Sodium Chlorate will begin to grow. Removing the last little bit of water through normal evaporation might be a little difficult if you live in a humid or cold area. You can speed up the process a little with a heat lamp or a real low heat setting on a toaster oven or such. If you decided to use potassium chloride to start with. Another option is to put the filtered solution from the electrolysis reaction into a freezer to cause the Potassium Chlorate crystals to crystallize out of solution. You can then filter them out like I showed in part 1 of the series.

IMG_2430 IMG_2437IMG_2441

The final product can be purified even more by dissolving the Chlorate in as little boiling water as possible then cooling until crystals form again and discarding any liquid on top of the crystals of Chlorate.

I plan on going over a few other methods of Chlorate production in later articles using other sources of materials and equipment.

-Gabriel Shear

Home Manufactured Chlorates (Part 1)

From The Mind of Gabriel Shear

Saturday, November 22, 2014

 

 

Home Manufactured Chlorates (Part 1)

 

 

Disclaimer: Information presented here is for educational purposes only. 

Warning!
Chlorates are toxic. Don’t ingest or breath them in. Never mix Chlorates with sulfur,sulfides or phosphorus theses compounds can explode without warning. Do not mix with ammonia or ammonia compounds, Ammonium chlorate could be formed and this compound is also explosive. Chlorates by themselves are usually not considered explosive. Some common sense and safety equipment is required.

This is the first article on “survival chemistry” for Techno Survivalist. I’ve been really wanting to get into this area for a while now. This is the stuff that can really, and I mean REALLY help you out in times of disaster and chaos. I think chemistry is an underrated topic in survivalist circles and really that’s a shame. People tend to have this irrational fear of anything “chemical”. Thanks to popular media and overzealous politicians chemistry, as it’s taught in schools is now an empty shell of its former self. To make things worse fear of lawsuits and bad publicity has made modern chemistry sets neutered pieces of shit suitable only for the mentally handicapped.

Well… I’m setting out to change that!

Whether you have a degree in industrial chemistry or you think atom is the name of a boy. I’m going to show you how one of the greatest fields of science can give you an absolute edge over all those other “People” out there.

While picking up a good book on general chemistry like, The Golden Book of Chemistry and reading it cover to cover, is going to be one of those investments that will pay dividends in life, I don’t expect everyone reading this to have already made that investment. So every thing in these articles will be laid out in an easy to follow format with photo’s and illustrations.

So continue to read…

 

This is part one of a three-part series on manufacturing Chlorates at home. I’m going to show you three different methods of home production. Now there are a few different types of Chlorates, but for our sake we are only going to focus on two of them: Sodium Chlorate and Potassium Chlorate two of the metal Chlorates. So if your asking yourself  “what are Chlorates?” Let me elaborate…

Chlorates are powerful oxidizers, meaning in this sense they can provide a source of oxygen for chemical reactions with other materials. This is an important function in chemistry in general, and very important too survivalists.

First off oxidizers are powerful disinfectants and are able to disinfect water and other materials with ease through the destructive oxidation of organic materials (bleach i.e. Sodium Hypochlorite and Hydrogen Peroxide are also common oxidizers). Oxidizers are also used to provide the oxygen necessary to burn fuels such as the potassium nitrate used in black powder. Where the potassium nitrate is the oxidizer and carbon(Charcoal) is the fuel.

Chlorates were also used as a low velocity high explosive commonly called Cheddite during WW2 by various resistance fighters in Europe. It was used as a sort of mold-able explosive and grenade filler when more conventional munitions were low. We will discussing the uses of Chlorates more in-depth in later articles for you education. For now though this series of articles will go in to the manufacture of Chlorates, more specifically there home manufacture.

 

 

Bleach Method

The most over the counter method is the bleach method.  Common household bleach ( Sodium Hypochlorite) can be disproportioned into sodium chlorate and sodium chloride (salt) by its thermal decomposition ( we boil the shit outta it). Water is also evaporated off during this process concentrating the solution making its extraction easier.

What you will need:

Bleach, preferably the 10% kind sold as liquid chlorine for pools. Regular 6.25% laundry bleach can be used but you will need more of it to get the same amount of chlorate as the 10% kind. You will also need potassium chloride( not totally necessary) . This is sold as a salt substitute called no salt or something like it. You can also purchase large bags of it for use in water softeners as a salt substitute.

Potassium chlorideLiquid ChlorinatorNo Salt

 

Equipment setup:

You will need a heat source. A container to boil the bleach in. As you can imagine hot boiling bleach is pretty corrosive. Glass works best or ceramic. I find that large coffee pots work great as they are also made of borosilicate glass like professional lab glassware and are resistant to thermal shock so they wont shatter from an open flame. Older Vision brand glass cookware is also good if you can find it. (check thrift stores) You will also need a measuring cup and a strainer or funnel with something to filter with (paper towel or coffee filter). Finally some broken pieces of glass to be used as boiling chips to help prevent boil over of the bleach.

SetupBoiling ChipsStrainer

 

Manufacture:

Boiling bleach is not as bad as one might imagine. Its best though to do it with plenty of ventilation. Outside or Next to a window with a fan works well. You might want to be discrete about it though since your mass media watching neighbors might believe your cooking Meth and call the police on you.  No fun trying to explain how no, you’re not cooking drugs and no you’re not a criminal.

Start out by placing a liter of  bleach in the container your going to use to boil it down with. This amount can be scaled up or down so what ever works for you. Anything less than a half liter though and the yield of chlorate is so low it’s not really worth it. Next throw in the boiling chips you made by smashing one of your wives drinking glasses. Turn up the heat and wait…

Boiling Bleach

Now The bleach actually has to boil, (none of this simmering shit) for the Sodium Hypochlorite to disproportionate to Chlorate and chloride. The bleach will slowly boil down to roughly 1/2 its original volume. At about this time you will see crystals of salt began to form in the bottom of the solution. At this point remove the container from the heat and let the solution cool.

Finished Boiling

 

At this point you have a choice to make. If you don’t have potassium chloride. you will have to make sodium chlorate. This isn’t the optimal choice as the end product will be contaminated with salt and extraction is more slow and difficult.  If you do have potassium chloride than you can make potassium chlorate which is easier to extract, and the end product will be a lot more pure.  Also as a side note sodium chlorate is more hygroscopic (absorbs water) then potassium chlorate which can be a problem with storage and its usage.

Sodium Chlorate

Start by pouring the solution into another container leaving the salt crystals behind. Then cool down the solution in the freezer as cold as possible. Decant the cold solution into another container leaving behind any new crystals of salt in the bottom of the container.  The solution now has to have the remaining water evaporated off. This is rather difficult but can be done.  Low heat or dry hot air with the aid of a desiccant such as Calcium Chloride sold as Rid-X for removing moisture from buildings can help. Place The moist crystals of sodium chlorate in a large zip lock bag with the desiccant and leave it to dry for a couple of days. After its dry you will have impure crystals of sodium chlorate.

 

Potassium Chlorate

In another container, start by making a saturated solution of the Potassium Chloride in hot water by dissolving as much of the chloride as possible until no more will dissolve. Next, take the boiled bleach solution and decant off the solution into the measuring cup leaving behind the salt crystals. Now pour in an equal amount of the saturated potassium chloride solution into the measuring cup containing the bleach solution until you have added the same volume (i.e. if you had half a cup of bleach solution add half a cup of the potassium chloride solution). Stir the solution well then put it into the freezer to cool down. As the solution cools crystals of potassium chlorate will start to appear in the solution. When no more crystals appear (usually overnight) put a filter in the funnel and pour the contents of the container into the filter letting the liquid flow through while your crystals of chlorate remain in the filter. You can wash the crystals with ice-cold water (only) to remove more traces of salt from them ( you will lose a little chlorate doing this).  take the filter with the crystals on it and let it dry in the air.  You will now have relatively pure crystals of potassium chlorate.

Potassium Chloride SolutionBleach SolutionMixed Solution

Potassium Chloride solution and boiled down bleach solution then an equal volume of both.

Potassium ChlorateChlorate CrystalsDry Chlorate

Chlorate Crystals in cold solution and then after filtering and rinsing and finally dried and ready.

 

 

The Science

Now to understand what exactly the hell is going on during all this!

Well bleach is nothing but water and Sodium Hypochlorite in solution. Sodium Hypochlorite is a chemical that has one atom of sodium (Na) one atom of oxygen (O) and one atom of chlorine (Cl). Its chemical formula is NaOCl it’s basically table salt (sodium chloride) NaCl with one oxygen (O) atom attached . When we heat up the bleach water is boiled off until the solution is concentrated enough for the NaOCl to start breaking down. It takes three molecules of Sodium Hypochlorite to make one molecule of Sodium chlorate and two molecules of Sodium Chloride (Salt)  3NaOCl -> 2NaCl + NaClO3  As you can see from this formula Sodium Chlorate has one atom of sodium (Na) one of Chlorine (Cl) and three atoms of oxygen (O). It’s these three oxygen (O) atoms that are used to oxidize other chemicals during reactions.

Now to produce potassium chlorate, instead of the sodium chlorate we are left with from the first reaction. we use a process called displacement. Now when a molecule such as Potassium Chloride KCl  is in solution with a solvent ( water in this case) it actually breaks into its respective pieces. In this state they are called ions the ions in this case are Potassium (K) and Chlorine (Cl) if you were to remove the water they would recombine to make potassium chloride. When the Potassium chloride solution and Sodium Chlorate solution are mixed together its a large soup of ions all combining and breaking apart in equilibrium (they are in equal proportions). The magic happens when we cool the solution in the freezer. As it turns out, you can dissolve a lot of potassium chlorate in hot water but very little in cold water. This is not the case for Sodium Chlorate, Sodium Chloride or Potassium Chloride the other possible combinations of the various ions. As the solution cools the ions recombine to make potassium chlorate that precipitates out of the cold solution first. Leaving the remaining Ions of sodium and chlorine in the solution. The reaction goes NaClO3 + KCl -> KClO3 + NaCl  The reaction only happens because Potassium chlorate has a lower solubility in cold water then either Sodium Chlorate or Sodium Chloride (salt).

We will take a look at another method, which gives high yields in the next article. As well as uses for manufactured Chlorates in later articles.

P.s. Don’t forget to print these out! A hard copy is safe copy!

– Gabriel Shear