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Turning cooking gas into butter

by Weissritter
Tags: buthane, butter, chemistry
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Weissritter
#1
Apr24-12, 04:37 PM
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O hai, Physics Forums.
I've came up with an idea, an amazing experiments which turns an invisible gas into butter. It may not be cheap, but could be a great way to motivate students into chemistry.
Putting some pieces together in Chemistry class the idea jumped in. My main language is not English, so I made a drawing of the transformation of the buthane troughout the experiment. (I have no idea what the names of the compunds are in English).
I've been told it is possible, not exactly with these compounds, but it is supposed to be possible.
So, I need someone to tell me how, or at least if it can be done.
I hope I don't mess up with any dangerous chemical in the list of prohibition of the forum.

Edit: link deleted, if you want to discuss it here, post it here.
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chemisttree
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Apr24-12, 04:39 PM
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I'm not going there! Why can't you just copy the pertinent information here so we can discuss it?
Weissritter
#3
Apr24-12, 04:45 PM
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Fine...this is the idea:
You have buthane->n-Butanol->Butyraldehyde->Butyric acid
Which means: Colorless gas->butter magically appearing in a glass.

chemisttree
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Apr24-12, 11:39 PM
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Turning cooking gas into butter

Butyric acid is soooo far away from butter! It smells like baby vomit left in a hot car for three days. You need to consider converting the free acid into the triglyceride. Hint: you will need to find a way to produce glycerin as well.
Weissritter
#5
Apr25-12, 07:48 PM
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So, according to your statement, my whole life is a lie, but I'd get into it sooner or later.
But well, as an experiment, it would be enough to convince people not to let down Chemistry, which was my starting objective.
So, a colorless gas-> a white bad smelling solid, but they don't need to know it's smell, not right there, at least.
So, are those reactions hard or costful?
chemisttree
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Apr25-12, 08:37 PM
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Not too bad. Propane to propene to allyl chloride to epichlorohydrin to glycerine. There is a very simple way to produce better butter that will always be cheaper, though.
Weissritter
#7
Apr26-12, 06:56 PM
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Even if smelly, butyric acid means a sucessful experiment, as this' one objective is to amaze students. I won't be making butter out of it, and yes, it will be pretty expensive than buying butter or butyiric acidm but the objective is to amaze people into chemistry.
So, are those reactions how much costful?
Weissritter
#8
Apr26-12, 07:06 PM
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Quote Quote by Carolie04 View Post
You have buthane->n-Butanol->Butyraldehyde->Butyric acid
I see you're getting it, now, how can I make those reactions occur?
chemisttree
#9
Apr26-12, 10:15 PM
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The problem is that you must work with 'cooking gas'. It's likely to be a mixture of compounds like methane, ethane, propane, butane, isobutane, pentane, isopentane and so forth. To make a pure product you must start with pure starting materials. That's your first step will be a fractional distillation to isolate ethane or n-butane. That kind of procedure requires expensive equipment. The next step will be a high pressure, high temperature dehydrogenation over a special catalyst to make either ethylene or 1-butene or 2-butene. The ethylene will need to be purified by distillation as will the 1-butene/2-butene. If you start with ethylene, it will need to be dimerized to produce 1-butene (which will need to be purified by distillation). All of these steps are performed in gas phase and require very specialized equipment like high pressure metal reactors, tubing, compressors, distillation towers, a refrigeration plant, etc... You might be able to get started for perhaps $150K... triple that if you include proper safety gear and permits. Then the "easy" chemistry begins.

You say you're doing this as a demonstration for school kids?
Weissritter
#10
Apr27-12, 09:49 AM
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Oh, man, my eyes hurt. 450K is way much, so... buying butane and using it as base chemical would be the way. Using halogens and sulfuric acid wouldn't be a cheaper way?
For your last question, well, doing this is an amazing experiment, which could work for children or teenagers with little previous interest in chemistry.


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