Synthesis of sodium citrate


The simple synthesis of sodium citrate from sodium hydrogencarbonate and citric acid, for use in making Benedict’s reagent. This post also serves as a test for a new writing layout as I move slightly closer to a scientific paper format, and also includes a test video on my new YouTube channel which, for now, will produce a video now and then to accompany a chosen post here on WordPress.

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Synthesis of copper(II) chloride using copper metal

In another expedition of transition metal chemistry I shall be synthesising a small amount of copper(II) chloride dihydrate crystals – almost purely for their gorgeous green aesthetic. The simple combination of copper, hydrochloric acid and some hydrogen peroxide to act as the oxidiser is all you need, but I still find a way to screw up my yields. Nevertheless, I do get a nice crop of the beauties and I hope you can enjoy looking at them as much as I do!

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Synthesis of copper powder using copper sulfate

Reactions can be painfully slow without surface area on your side. I will be converting copper sulfate into copper powder through the aid of aluminium, in the form of kitchen foil, along with a special ingredient that is also very widely available. The convenience of the surface area gained from using copper powder instead of solid copper metal is worth the trouble. The difficulty of mechanically powdering the copper gives this wet chemical process the edge. Any copper salt should be suitable for this redox reaction, but copper sulfate is the easiest to purchase for the home chemist and who does not want to work with the beautiful blue of this compound?

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Synthesis of alkali metal hydroxides via electrolysis

A long quest for me has finally been completed on whether cotton, often found cheap as cotton wool balls for removing make-up, actually can be used by the home chemist to act as an ion-permeable membrane in electrolysis. The aim is turning water and alkali metal chlorides into hydrogen, chlorine and, most importantly, the respective alkali metal hydroxide. It is often misleading how to actually synthesise alkali metal hydroxides by electrolysis, but with exploring further and problem solving, this process amazing works.

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