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Re: interesting -- Home science under attack
From: David Farber <dave () farber net>
Date: Thu, 14 Aug 2008 08:28:01 -0400

Begin forwarded message:

From: Jim Thompson <jim () netgate com>
Date: August 14, 2008 5:42:49 AM EDT
To: Brett Glass <brett () lariat net>
Cc: dave () farber net
Subject: Re: [IP] Re:    Home science under attack

On Aug 13, 2008, at 5:13 PM, Brett Glass wrote:

At 08:47 PM 8/13/2008, Jim Thompson wrote:

but if you're buying large quantities
of industrial chemicals at "Home Depot" (et al),
then you're a bit foolish anyway.

They are often a good, cheap source.

they're not as cheap as you think. Oh sure, you can get cheap lumber there, but they tend to cater to the needs of the home owner, or very small contractor.

Laramie has to have an industrial chemical supply house,

No, it does not. We have no chemical industries, which is why
the air is so pleasant and unpolluted here. The closest ones
are in Fort Collins and Denver.

Note that I did not mean to imply that Laramie had a manufacturer, but rather a *distributor* (supply house).

As it turns out, Laramie likely does not, but *Cheyenne* has several, including a biodiesel production plan (see below).

You can't complain about the drive, because the closest Home Depot to Laramie is also in ... Cheyenne!

just go ask them for 5 lbs of sodium hydroxide.

I have, and they look at me just as suspiciously as the clerks
at Home Depot. Colorado has a very nasty methamphetamine
precursor law.

Sure, several states do.  (Hawaii is likely far worse that Co.)

BTW, sodium hydroxide is used in the production of methamphetamine, but it isn't a principal (or pre-cursor) ingredient in the production of meth. Methamphetamine(s) can be produced by three different methods, each with their own inherent hazards: P2P, Ammonia lab, and Red Phosphorus lab

The P2P lab is also known as Phenyl-2-Propanone (P2P) or "Biker" lab. P2P is reduced in a chemical process using methylamine and mercuric chloride to form a mixture of d- and l-methamphetamine. This production method is less common today due to the restriction of phenyl acetic acid and because the end product is not as pure as the other methods. There are significant side-effects that can result from consumption of the methamphetamine that is produced using this method

The 'ammonia lab' is also known as "Nazi" or "Sodium Metal" lab. In it, Ephedrine or Pseudoephedrine is reduced in a chemical process using anhydrous ammonia and lithium or sodium metal to form d- methamphetamine. This is why 'Sudafed' and similar products are not sold OTC any longer. The issues here are a) obtaining sufficient quantities of Ephedrine or Pseudoephedrine, and dealing with the anhydrous ammonia (stored as a compressed liquid, often in recycled propane containers), as well as the violent reactions that both lithium and sodium have with water..

And finally, there is the red phosphorus, aka "Red P", "Tweeker" or "Mexican National" lab. Here Ephedrine or Pseudoephedrine is reduced in a chemical process using red phosphorus and hydriodic acid to form d-methamphetamine. The issues here are again, obtaining sufficient quantity of ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, and that red phosphorus is highly unstable: slight friction will cause ignition and deadly phosphine gas can be produced if overheated.

Where sodium hydroxide is a 'pre-cursor' is in the production of GBH.

Gamma Hydroxybutyrate, GBH, aka 'Liquid Ecstasy' can be converted from Gamma Butyrolactone, (GBL) to GHB by processing with Sodium Hydroxide (lye). GHB is an industrial solvent,
and as such, hasn't been restricted (yet).

Failing that, find someone close-by who is manufacturing biodiesel.

We actually have oil in Wyoming, so we don't have any biodiesel

I think you've missed the point of biodiesel, which is a process for turning waste vegetable oil (think fry oil from your closest restaurant) into something that will burn in a diesel engine.

Its often less expensive than petroleum diesel, especially if you act to 'avoid' paying the road taxes by making your own.

There is a plant up in Gillette. (I know thats at the other end of the state from you.) There is one in Rawlins (much closer),
and another in Cheyenne (closer still).

(glycerin is a by-product of biodiesel production. Your wife could use that to make soap too!)

My point is, there are other, close-by consumers of industrial lye. You're sure to find some if you ask around.

Wyoming is one of the leading global sources of so-called soda ash (Sodium carbonate), a raw material derived from a mineral called trona. Lye can be made very easily from lime (Calcium oxide) and soda ash using a classic metathesis reaction:

        (V) Ca(OH)2(aq) + Na2CO3(aq) -----> 2 NaOH(aq) + CaCO3(s)

Two solutions are mixed together and a solid precipitate forms. The "good stuff," lye, remains in solution. If potash replaces soda ash, the result is potassium hydroxide.

Hell, Brett.  They used to make lye in Laramie:


Failing that, make some using Nelson's Process.

Too much work, and I'd have to do it outdoors to ensure that I
didn't fill my house with chlorine gas or blow it up with

Yes, you would be wise to do this outdoors, but then, I hope your wife makes soap outdoors too, just in-case she has a spill, or manages to get some aluminum mixed-in
(somehow) with the lye.

Or, if you're not as into chemistry as you state, just buy some.

http://www.certified-lye.com will sell you 5lbs for $19 and shipping.

You'll get it by air in a day for less than $30 (with shipping).

Much more than I used to pay at the hardware store. I used to pay
about $2 a pound for fresh lye that hadn't sat around and had time
to weaken. Which is my point....

'weakening' is just H20 or CO2 absorption.   Keep the lid on.

And I think you'll find that the price of a lot of stuff has gone up. Have you
looked at copper prices lately?  (They're insane.)


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