Extracting ethanol from antiseptic gels

Due to their many uses, alcohols can be found in a wide range of products. Here is another attempt at extracting an alcohol, this time ethanol, a very useful basic laboratory reagent, from its function as a disinfectant in hand gels. I run into a few problems with the viscosity of the gels, but overall it is a nice, simple extraction – just requiring one or two distillations and some drying – providing a product pure enough for some uses around the lab.

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Extracting lithium metal from batteries

Being an extremely reactive alkali metal, anybody would suggest lithium would be a hard find for the grubby mitts of the home chemist. Thankfully, a few brands of battery allow the best and easiest method of extracting large chunks of the metal, without any more hassle than a little time and some old-fashioned elbow grease. Depending on your tools and methods for attempting to crack open a steel casing though, the job can range from much harder to slightly easier.

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Extracting propan-2-ol from old food dyes

Distillation is an extremely useful technique. I will be employing it for my first time at home by attempting an extraction of propan-2-ol from old food dyes. I end up trying to dry some of the product with some anhydrous copper(II) sulfate(VI), but I am at the limit of my knowledge with parts of this experiment, and I run into a few problems. The process was at least semi-successful though, with plans to use some of the propan-2-ol in the synthesis of some esters.

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Extracting red phosphorus from match boxes

Matches – with their power to give anybody an almost instant flame – are often taken for granted. I will be taking you through my extraction process of red phosphorus, the beautiful red allotrope of the element phosphorus that can be found commonly in the striker pads of match boxes. Although we may not recover much of the chemical, it is always fun to explore the science and appreciate common household products a little more.

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Extracting zinc, MnO2 and carbon electrodes from batteries

Many commercial batteries house hidden gems when it comes to their chemical compositions and the Zinc Chloride battery is no exception. I will be attempting the common extraction of a variety of materials, such as manganese(IV) oxide, zinc and carbon electrodes, from these batteries due to their many uses for the amateur chemist who is always looking for OTC resources.

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