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Specialty Chemistry Forums => Citizen Chemist => Topic started by: Salter on November 14, 2006, 11:53:43 PM

Title: Breaking down salt into Na and Cl
Post by: Salter on November 14, 2006, 11:53:43 PM
Can any body send me on the right path for breaking table salt into Na and Cl. If any one has any idea or techniques would you be able to help me out? Im also looking for information on what equipment i will need and how to contain the productsand if there are many risks associated with the process?

Thanks.
Title: Re: Breaking down salt into Na and Cl
Post by: Alberto_Kravina on November 15, 2006, 09:40:27 AM
You can obtain elementar sodium and chlorine by electrolysing molten sodium chloride.
Do you want to make this at home? I think it is pretty dangerous, as molten salts are pretty nasty, so take precautions if you do this at home :P
Title: Re: Breaking down salt into Na and Cl
Post by: mir on November 15, 2006, 09:55:51 AM
You can do it the easy way or the hard way.

Hard way: Melt down your solution, and use electrolysis as Alberto_Kravina said

Easy way: Make a brine solution (30 grams NaCl in 100 mL of water). Make a circuit with two 9V batteries, with pencils (or use the grafite from a bicycle-dynamo) as anode and catode. Let the circuit run through a small light bulb.

Downside with the last method: You wont get sodium-metal, but a lot of hydrogen gas, chlorine gas and a basic water solution (as the sodium reacts with the water). As the time goes by, you will get a stinky green soup, where the grafite also starts to decompose. But until that time, you have created a lot of hydrogengas.

Dont breath in the chlorine-gas, since it is extremely poisonous.
Title: Re: Breaking down salt into Na and Cl
Post by: constant thinker on November 15, 2006, 06:34:16 PM
Do a search of the chemical forums. This has already been discussed a few times.

It's dangerous. I can only see pain from doing this. My advice don't bother.

As far as mir's way, I've never heard of doing anything like that (not saying it won't work/do what he said it would do, it probably does).
Title: Re: Breaking down salt into Na and Cl
Post by: mir on November 16, 2006, 06:20:40 AM
When I was young (still is) and stupid (yupp!), I did this a lot to impress my friends.

And 9 V batteries is not cheap. You might also try two or three, 4.5V's.
Be really careful of course, do it outside!

And that stinky soup - Dont have it for dinner!
Title: Re: Breaking down salt into Na and Cl
Post by: billnotgatez on November 16, 2006, 06:41:54 AM
Getting elemental sodium and chlorine from salt has been discussed several times in this forum. The “Down's Cell” method was suggested. It was also pointed out that doing this in a home laboratory might not be easy or safe. It was also pointed out that the elemental products are a hazard as well as hard to store and keep pure.

http://www.corrosion-doctors.org/Electrowinning/Sodium.htm

http://www.sas.org/E-Bulletin/2001-10-05/chem/column.html
Title: Re: Breaking down salt into Na and Cl
Post by: Salter on November 20, 2006, 03:52:49 AM
What happens if the voltage incresed to say 240 volts?
Title: Re: Breaking down salt into Na and Cl
Post by: mir on November 20, 2006, 05:31:53 AM
240 V (and some ampeers) is enough to kill you. So you probably die after a lot of stupid experimenting. Let the professional handle the high voltages.
Title: Re: Breaking down salt into Na and Cl
Post by: Salter on November 21, 2006, 12:52:47 AM
240 is our standard wall plug socket voltage. At the moment im just using 6V. But would increasing just increase the rate of reaction?
Title: Re: Breaking down salt into Na and Cl
Post by: mike on November 21, 2006, 01:02:55 AM
Quote
240 is our standard wall plug socket voltage. At the moment im just using 6V. But would increasing just increase the rate of reaction?

Don't use the wall socket! You will get electrocuted.
Title: Re: Breaking down salt into Na and Cl
Post by: Salter on November 21, 2006, 01:56:45 AM
Just did my 1st experiment. Used the 30g of salt to 100ml of water ratio. Used a 6V battery and some nails as the electrodes. I got a s#*$ load of gas comming off the Cathode and not much happend at the Anode. Im guessing that the gas i got was just hydrogen? And should i be looking for anything to happen at the Anode?
Title: Re: Breaking down salt into Na and Cl
Post by: Salter on November 21, 2006, 03:10:10 AM
Let it run for a while and i just ended up with a bowl of green sludge.
Title: Re: Breaking down salt into Na and Cl
Post by: woelen on November 21, 2006, 03:55:48 AM
When you don't use a graphite anode or a very noble metal as anode (e.g. platinum, iridium) then the anode is oxidized instead of the chloride ions. You get iron chloride for an iron anode, a mix of copper (I) oxide and copper (II) chloride for copper anodes.

You should not use a very high voltage with electrolysis, the required potential across the cell only is a few volts.
Title: Re: Breaking down salt into Na and Cl
Post by: Salter on November 21, 2006, 02:56:58 PM
(https://www.chemicalforums.com/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimg.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fv355%2FStubbyffxi%2FIMG_3298.jpg&hash=c98e2ece30188c6245ffe2aaa931729f)
Title: Re: Breaking down salt into Na and Cl
Post by: constant thinker on November 21, 2006, 05:22:48 PM
Mmmm looks tasty. Yea, woelen gave you some good advice. Graphite is the best in my opinion, and its easy to get. Crack open a 12V lithium battery.

http://theodoregray.com/PeriodicTable/Stories/006.2/index.html
That gives some directions.