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### Topic: What are some good starting chemicals?  (Read 42218 times)

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#### mafiaparty303

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##### What are some good starting chemicals?
« on: December 31, 2006, 06:29:33 AM »
I have been looking at what United Nuclear has, they have some really cool glassware (http://www.unitednuclear.com/other.htm)
and also a whole page on chemicals (http://www.unitednuclear.com/chem.htm) I would like to buy the Laboratory Glassware set and some starter chemicals for some basic experiments to learn more about chemistry. What would be some good sterter chemicals?

Does anyone here know of a company that sells maybe a set of a bunch of chemicals in individual containers and all? That would be very helpful. I'll do some searching on the web for something like it but meanwhile has anyone bought from Uniter Nuclear? Specifically the Laboratory Glassware Set? Is it worth the money?

Thanks

Heres a list of the things I'd like to purchase...
« Last Edit: January 01, 2007, 06:30:58 PM by mafiaparty303 »
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#### mafiaparty303

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##### Re: What are some good starting chemicals?
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2006, 09:09:06 PM »
Basic Laboratory Tool Set (test tube holder, tongs, tube holders, spatula, powder scoop)
Calcium Carbide, 2 oz.
Copper Sulfate, 2 oz.
Sulfur, 2 oz.
Zinc Metal Dust, 2 oz.
Manganese Dioxide, 2oz.
Aluminum - granular, 2 oz.
Test Tubes (pack of 6)
Watch Glass
Alcohol Lamp
Replacement Wicks, pack of 3
4 oz. wide mouth jar
Boric Acid, 2 oz.
Citric Acid, 2 oz.
Silver Metal, disc
50 ml Beaker
Rubber Stopper size: #6 - solid
Rubber Stopper size: #0 - solid 4 of them

This all come out to ~$75, is it worth it for a chem lab in the making? This is all from United Nuclear, would there be anything else that I might want to include from them? I was thinking about buying th magnesium roll but thats another$7
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#### pantone159

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##### Re: What are some good starting chemicals? help arg! no responses
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2006, 11:37:40 PM »
It's hard to say exactly what stuff to have in your lab.  The real answer is 'all of it' but that conflicts with your finite budget.  Alas.

Overall, that list looks like a reasonable start.  You'll always want more things, though, both chemicals and apparatus.

#### EccentricHeather

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##### Re: What are some good starting chemicals? help arg! no responses
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2007, 12:16:40 AM »
I have ordered from United Nuclear (uranium and potassium metals).  They can be a bit slow, but their selection is good and their prices seem reasonable on some things.  It looks like they can provide you with a good start, but you might also want some common chemicals that they don't carry.  Try Hi-Valley chemical - http://www.hvchemical.com/ - if you live in the U.S.  They have many of the most popular chemicals, including the strong acids and bases that have numerous uses.  You could also try eBay, soap making suppliers, pottery suppliers, or photography suppliers.

There are other places you might look for suggestions.  First, the contents of old-fashioned chemistry sets would be a good guide on how to start out.  You might find some listings on eBay or elsewhere.  Try searching "antique chemistry set".  Or there still appears to be a chemistry set that has some of what used to be commonly included.  It is the Chem C3000 set.  I haven't bought it (I already have many of the common chemicals and a decent selection of glassware, so I don't really need it at this point), but from the listing of what is in it, it looks like a good one (perhaps the only reasonably useful one currently available).  You could look at the list of chemicals in it as an idea of what might be good to have.

http://www.discoverthis.com/chem-c3000.html

Another good guide of what is useful is the now-infamous "Golden Book of Chemistry Experiments".  If you do a search on it, you'll eventually run across a copy available for download; that is how I got mine.  (Since the radioactive boy scout made the book infamous, original copies are now rather expensive.)  The book has a good list of useful chemicals, and it has some good basic experiments (including a few potentially dangerous ones).  I strongly recommend downloading a copy.  Here is the list of common chemicals from that book.

acetic acid, ammonium chloride, ammonium hydroxide, calcium carbonate, calcium hydroxide, calcium oxide, calcium sulfate, carbon tetrachloride, copper sulfate, ferrous sulfate, glucose, hydrochloric acid, hydrogen peroxide, iron (powder), magnesium, magnesium sulfate, manganese dioxide, naphthalene, phenolphthalein, potassium aluminum sulfate, potassium ferrocyanide, potassium iodide, potassium nitrate, potassium permanganate, salicylic acid, silver nitrate, sodium bicarbonate, sodium bisulfate, sodium carbonate, sodium chloride, sodium hydroxide, sodium hypochlorite, sodium potassium tartrate, sodium silicate, sodium tetraborate (borax), sodium thiosulfate, sucrose, sulfur, zinc, zinc chloride

Most of these chemicals are still reasonably easy to obtain, but a few (i.e. carbon tetrachloride) could be difficult these days.  I have a number of them, and I intend to collect as many of them as I can.

Nearly all of the chemicals listed in the "Golden Book" would be useful to have.  I have found some others to be good for a few things; you might want some of them, depending on your interests.

calcium chloride, isopropyl alcohol, lithium chloride, methyl alcohol, nitric acid, potassium hydroxide, sodium nitrate, sulfuric acid.

(Be careful with some of these.  The strong acids and bases - hydrochloric acid, nitric acid, sulfuric acid, sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide - must be treated with the utmost respect.  A beginner might want to start with dilute solutions of these.  Some others are dangerous in concentrated form - acetic acid (glacial), ammonium hydroxide, hydrogen peroxide.)

The ones that you have listed seem to be good choices.  If you add a few others, you will have a good beginning collection.

Heather
« Last Edit: January 01, 2007, 12:35:32 AM by EccentricHeather »

#### mafiaparty303

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##### Re: What are some good starting chemicals? help arg! no responses
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2007, 05:34:01 AM »
Wow, so much information, thanks a lot, I'm gonna go look for the Gold book of Chemistry Experiments online right now!

Hopefully I'll decide on what to buy
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#### mafiaparty303

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##### Re: What are some good starting chemicals? help arg! no responses
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2007, 06:51:07 AM »
Is 20$for a 500mL, 36% HCl good? Is 36% a fairly good dilute amount for a beginer? Ex. Dissolving zinc etc? Hmm... Would it be better to buy 1pt of 37% HCl at$8 (technical grade) of the above one? ^^^

EDIT: Anyone know where I can get some Sodium Bisulfate, Potassium Iodide and some Sodium Hydroxide?
« Last Edit: January 01, 2007, 07:18:50 AM by mafiaparty303 »
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#### Borek

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##### Re: What are some good starting chemicals? help arg! no responses
« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2007, 09:53:38 AM »
36% HCl is not dilute, it doesn't get much more concentrated. About 38% is a practical upper concentration limit.
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#### EccentricHeather

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##### Re: What are some good starting chemicals? help arg! no responses
« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2007, 12:08:18 PM »
Is 20$for a 500mL, 36% HCl good? Is 36% a fairly good dilute amount for a beginer? Ex. Dissolving zinc etc? Hmm... Would it be better to buy 1pt of 37% HCl at$8 (technical grade) of the above one? ^^^

The prices you quote seem reasonable.  I have found technical grade to be fine for general purposes, but if you perform an experiment that is highly sensitive to impurities, you might want something better.  Use it in a well-ventilated area; this acid has an especially nasty burning odor.  For many uses, you will likely want to dilute it.  I have found it to be useful for some household cleaning jobs when diluted 1 part acid to 10 parts water by volume.

EDIT: Anyone know where I can get some Sodium Bisulfate, Potassium Iodide and some Sodium Hydroxide?

Try Hi-Valley Chemical (the link is in my previous post).  I just bought some sodium hydroxide from them last week.  (I'm lucky that I live about 20 miles from them, so I can pick stuff up in person, but they do ship.)  Also, some soap-making suppliers have technical-grade sodium hydroxide for a very reasonable price.  A Google search should turn it up quickly.  United Nuclear has potassium hydroxide, which is a good substitute for sodium hydroxide for some purposes (although recipes may have to be adjusted).  I have also seen all three of these on eBay at times.

EDIT:  Here is a link to a soap-making supplier that sells sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide for a reasonable price.  You might even want to investigate this topic; soap-making might be a good experiment for a beginning chemistry hobbyist.

http://www.snowdriftfarm.com/dry.html

Good luck!

Heather
« Last Edit: January 01, 2007, 12:16:22 PM by EccentricHeather »

#### jdurg

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##### Re: What are some good starting chemicals? help arg! no responses
« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2007, 01:08:02 PM »
I agree.  Soap making is a nice beginner experiment, and is also a GREAT way to force you to respect caustic substances like NaOH and KOH.  When you see, and smell, what that stuff does to fats it creates a whole new type of respect for it.  What you see going on to make the soaps and glycerine is what happens to your flesh if you drop the stuff on it!
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#### woelen

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##### Re: What are some good starting chemicals? help arg! no responses
« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2007, 04:10:56 PM »
I have gone through the process of starting a home lab and made a few mistakes while purchasing the wrong non-interesting chems (and hence throwing away money on badly chosen chems). I wrote a web-page on this subject, hoping that it will help others:

http://woelen.scheikunde.net/science/chem/misc/homelab.html
Want to wonder? See http://www.oelen.net/science

#### mafiaparty303

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##### Re: What are some good starting chemicals? help arg! no responses
« Reply #10 on: January 01, 2007, 04:13:32 PM »
EDIT: Hey Woelen, thanks for the site, gonna help me a lot (I was gonna buy zinc powder, but it seems dangerous)
Nice site by the way..very helpful!

To EccentricHeather and Jdurg-

Ill keep that in mind, thanks...
So how dilute should this HCl be for a beginer? 10% 20% Don't wanna have my flesh burning off any time soon

Hmm.. interesting I looked for the sodium Hydroxide on HVchemicals but didint find it.. Ill look agian

Would it be better to build somewhat of a workplace in my garage instead of setting this stuff up in my room? I saw a model of something nice on the Golden Book of Chem Experiments. Im thinking it would..since I have a smoke dtector in my room and the only real ventilation would bed an open window.. Maybe there are some small lab plans on the internet, I'll have a look around.

And I'll look into the soap making experiments

I'll let everyone know what I find.

EDIT (again): @ everyone- Should I have nitric and sulfuric acid in my lab?  I heard and saw on the internet that its some crazy stuff (burning flesh, lost eyesight) And if I do get it how dilute should it be?
« Last Edit: January 01, 2007, 05:53:32 PM by mafiaparty303 »
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#### woelen

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##### Re: What are some good starting chemicals? help arg! no responses
« Reply #11 on: January 01, 2007, 04:20:04 PM »
Quote
Would it be better to build somewhat of a workplace in my garage instead of setting this stuff up in my room?

Absolutely! You should not do chemical experiments in the rooms where you live. I have a small separate room, which I use for my chemical experiments (and at the same time, it also is used as photography darkroom).
You WILL spill small amounts of chemicals, and if you do that in the room where you live, eat, sleep, etc. then in the long run this may do harm. Long-term exposure to small quantities of different chems may have unpredictable and nasty consequences. So, if you can setup some experimenting site in a garage, shed, or separate room, that would be best. If not, then be VERY precise and VERY strict in preventing spills and in cleaning up after the experiments. Especially solid (fine dust) are the most notorious, not the toxic gases like Cl2, SO2, NH3 etc. Those gasses simply go away, but the solids remain in the room!
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#### mafiaparty303

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##### Re: What are some good starting chemicals? help arg! no responses
« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2007, 04:40:27 PM »
on the snowdrift farm website, when you go to the shoping cart you can type in .5 for quantity, if you have a the 2lbs of each will that give you 1lbs of each?

How much is 2 ounces? Becuase United Nuclear sells in 2 ounces and im starting to wonder if that is a lot? Has anyone ordered the 2 ounces of anything? and if you have about how big is the container?
« Last Edit: January 01, 2007, 04:48:26 PM by mafiaparty303 »
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#### Mitch

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##### Re: What are some good starting chemicals? help arg! no responses
« Reply #13 on: January 01, 2007, 05:41:28 PM »
Quote
Is 36% a fairly good dilute amount for a beginer?

That is the very reason I'm conflicted having this forum up. Have you taken a Chemistry class ever? Can you talk to a local Chemistry teacher? That level of ignorance is dangerous and unacceptable.
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#### mafiaparty303

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##### Re: What are some good starting chemicals? help arg! no responses
« Reply #14 on: January 01, 2007, 05:52:01 PM »
yes, im taking chemistry right now, and how is wanting to know being ignorant?

And how is that the very reason that your conflicted for having the forum up? Isn't this supposed to be somewhere to learn? You calling me ignorant for wanting to learn...ya...well...sure...
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