Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

H2SO4 preparation

  1. Jan 24, 2004 #1
    Okay, I would like to make some sulphuric acid. I know that I can probably find it OTC (and mixed with other potential CRAP), but it's more fun experimenting. I was reading a site which was discussing the preparation of sulphuric acid and it got me excited.
    So, as far as I know, sulfur is in match head tips. And a bunch of other garbage including phosphorous. SO, can I simply burn a bunch of match heads and pass it through water to form sulphurous acid:

    SO2 + H2O --> H2SO3

    Then, according to this website, heat can be applied (150C) to the solution while being refluxed and...

    3H2SO3 ---> 2H2SO4 + H2O + S

    Which would yield me some pure sulfur in addition to some sulphuric acid, which would be very exciting. So, what do you think? Would it work? Well I guess it WOULD work provided I produce SO2 in my match head burnings. But there has got to be a lot of other stuff in that smoke, but I don't know. If I wanted pure sulphuric acid I could always collect enough of the sulfur that is formed in the reaction and just burn that.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 25, 2004 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    How are you going to collect the SO2 if it's a gas?
  4. Jan 25, 2004 #3
    Hmmm. Good question.
    Okay, I guess I can do it a number of ways. A very unscientific way would be lighting the matches underneath a plastic ziplock bag so that all the smoke goes into the bag. THen I put the bag underwater and put a hole in it. I think that would work pretty nicely. If I saturate the bag with smoke then I'd be rocking. I can also just make the hole prior putting it under and then just submerge the bag (just so the hole has gone under) and squeeze at a nice rate. The smoke could be too hot though, and it would cause my bag to melt, but in that case I could always use plastic or something (a bottle).

    I guess I could also fill a bottle with smoke, with a tube coming out the top going inside the water, and then invert the bottle into the water. THe water would force the smoke out the hole and into the tube which then goes to the water.

    Not bad? Better ideas?
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2004
  5. Feb 9, 2004 #4
    No, this won't work. For starters you won't be making pure anything, as the match heads, if they contain sulphur at all, will have it as a minor constituent. Not to mention there is a difference between the composition of safety matches and strike-anywhere matches. Any sulphuric acid made from this route would be so impure as to be completey useless as a reagent in even the most low-tech chemistry lab.

    If you insist on trying to synthesise this chemical, a better route would be to attempt electrolysis of a sulphate solution. this would have a better chance of yielding a product that could have some use in a home laboratory, and would certainly be a lot safer as a process.
  6. Feb 9, 2004 #5
    ...or to simply buy a Clear-Line drain cleaner product that's 98% H2SO4....
  7. Dec 1, 2009 #6
    I need for simple method for H2so4 preparation
  8. Dec 5, 2009 #7
    Consider dissolving SO2 formed by burning sulfur into a hydrogen peroxide solution.. this will oxidize the H2SO3 into H2SO4.. but really just buy it if you can...

    Also consider just buying NaHSO4... it works great for a lot of things check this out: http://indiescience.org/chemtalk/index.php?topic=31.0
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?

Similar Discussions: H2SO4 preparation
  1. Shape of H2SO4 (Replies: 3)