Cheap high-density liquid

  1. So I am trying to find a liquid at room temp., preferably with a low viscosity, non-toxic and non-acidic, that has a specific gravity greater than 1.5 and is fairly cheap. Tall order?

    I have done a little research and my best bets seem to be Copper Sulfate Pentahydrate, Zinc Chloride, or possibly Sodium Hydroxide(but thats caustic). NaCL solutions seem to max out around 1.2-1.3, and sugar solutions around 1.4 at room temp.

    I think Copper Sulfate might do the trick, but I cannot figure out what is the highest possible density achievable around room temperature. The specific gravity is 2.284 but it's solubility is pretty low, maybe 300-500g/L?

    Does anyone know this off-hand or have other chemical suggestions?
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2011
  2. jcsd
  3. Hi
    You know that Copper Sulfate is toxic.
     
  4. Yes, but I'm not going to be taking a bath in it or be drinking it. I mean, I don't want something as toxic as mercury. I basically need something that I can survive through if it spills. It will take more than copper sulfate to kill me!

    Seriously, though, the non-toxicity is just an added bonus.
     
  5. Hi

    Chloroform its density is 1.483 g/cm3
     
  6. It's really not much denser than sugar solution. Sugar water doesn't make you pass out if you breath in vapors either. Might be fun though.
     
  7. Hi
    Can you clarify the purpose even offer the assistance required
     
  8. highly water soluble tungstates such as sodium metatungstate have been traditionally used as high-density liquids. you can get above a specific gravity of 3 easily if i recall correctly using this kind of solution.
     
  9. True again, but sodium metatungstate goes for like $800/kilo. There is just no pleasing me right?

    The idea is to create a low-cost & fairly safe pressure equalizer with a column of fluid. A denser fluid means I can achieve the same pressure head with a shorter column. I don't want the viscosity to be very high because the column may need to rise and fall, and I want that to happen relatively quickly.

    It may need to have a volume of about 5-10 liters if I use water.
     
  10. no. sodium metatungstate is much cheaper than that. that is probably the price from redistributors like Sigma or Alfa selling small quantities.

    some data from a distributor:
    http://www.heavy-liquid.com/brochure_en.pdf

    for example, 50 kg can be had for $1k from this american distributor http://www.alibaba.com/product-free/100628785/Sodium_Tungstate.html which is only $20 per kg

    and much cheaper from china and india. also much cheaper if you buy in ton quantities.

    but it sounds like you don't need nearly this much. there are no shortage of redistributors who i'm sure would be happy to quote you for, say, 10-20kg or so.
     
  11. No kidding! I've seen alibaba come up in a lot of searches but it never looked that legitamate. I'll have to look into this.

    Still though, does anyone know the max density of copper sulfate pentahydrate solution at room temp. I'm not a chemist and I couldn't find it anywhere. Copper sulfate is pretty easy to obtain.
     
  12. Dadface

    Dadface 2,090
    Gold Member

    Try googling barium sulfate.It has a high density and amongst other things is used in barium meals where the patient drinks some of it.
     
  13. It's insoluble in water and alcohol...
     
  14. Barium sulFIDE is soluble but..."BaS is quite poisonous, as are related sulfides, such as CaS, which evolve toxic hydrogen sulfide upon contact with water. "
     
  15. Borek

    Staff: Mentor

    Solubility around 20g/100g of water, density around 1.2 g/mL. It doesn't want to get much higher than that at room temp. Solubility goes up for higher temperatures, so I guess the density of boiling solution can be much higher, but it won't help.
     
  16. Dadface

    Dadface 2,090
    Gold Member

    golden syrup,treacle,tomato sauce,non drip paints,long alkane or kenes eg fuel oil.
     
  17. Too bad about copper sulfate...thanks for the info though (love the hair).

    golden syrup/Treacle=slow as molasses+specific gravity of 1.4ish?
    tomato sauce and paint will just gum everything up

    I don't know any fuels or fuel oils with densities much greater than water. Maybe I just am not looking hard enough?
    These are all generally very viscous though which is the opposite of what I am looking for.
     
  18. Dadface

    Dadface 2,090
    Gold Member

    Why have you not considered mercury? I'm guessing its either for safety or financial reasons.
     
  19. Yes exactly. Both are issues really, even though I would only need 1/13th the volume compared to if I used water.
     
  20. Borek

    Staff: Mentor

    Carbon tetrachloride? Perhaps not the safest substance in the world, but with reasonable care can be acceptable.
     
  21. I suppose keeping a vat of molten Platinum is out of the question?...

    Kidding aside, is there a reason that Glycerol wouldn't work? It's not 1/13th, but it's 1.261 g/cm³ compared to water, it's cheap, and it won't kill you.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thead via email, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?