How to make NaOh

  1. Im doing an experiment that calls for NaoH, but i cannont find red devil lye (same thing).

    Does anyone know a practicle way to make NaoH or what other names it could go by in stores?
  2. jcsd
  3. Borek

    Staff: Mentor

    Not easy to make it by yourself.

    Look for a solid drain cleaner, at least some of them are pure NaOH.
  4. Thanks
  5. chemisttree

    chemisttree 3,717
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    The reason you can't find Red Devil Lye is because some folks use it in illicit drug manufacture. It is a very common chemical to obtain in some parts of the country but most major chains no longer carry it.
    It is especially suspicious that one would seek to manufacture a common compound like this at home or to request how to find it.

    You should be able to find it at a local scientific supply house. $12/lb last time I bought it. My supply house requires that I maintain an account... some minor paperwork is involved, however. Why don't you try the same?
  6. Any hardware store and most supermarkets will stock NaOH as 'Caustic Soda', 'Draino' etc. A quick Wikipedia search returns this:
    Noted as 99.8% is what is mentioned on the side on most Australian brands, unless you get it in solution. Just note NaOH will naturally decompose with Air to NaHCO3 or Na2CO3 so ensure a air tight container (where possible)
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2009
  7. Borek

    Staff: Mentor

    I wouldn't call it decomposition.
  8. i think here in the US, draino is likely to have other chemicals mixed in, like chlorine bleach.

    the world kinda sucks now. used to, you could buy the red devil lye at the grocery for about a $1, and after jawboning with the chem supply guy for a minute so that he felt like i knew what i was doing, walk out cash and carry with CaCl2 and SrCl2 for my reef tank. or maybe he just liked to talk. seemed the cautious type, tho.
  9. Borek

    Staff: Mentor

    I am going to print it and hang it on the wall.
  10. I have the ill-fate of living in a small town were nobody cares about science.
    No sientific supply house here...

    Decompose?... I would think of it more as a synthesis reaction.

    I don't get drano because:

    My stores don't hate caustic know im very sad :(
  11. i got some at ace hardware.
  12. Is it possible to make NaOH at home? One possibility that comes to mind is via electrolysis of solution of NaCl(table salt-easily obtainable) but it involves some complications.

    Chlorine gas will form at anode, which is poisonous. How to collect it or make it harmless?

    Also hydrogen will form at cathode, which is explosive gas as far as I know. So how to collect the two gases, what equipment would be needed etc?

    The Na and OH ions in the solution will join to create NaOH.

    so do you think this process is realistic? has anybody tried something similar? what other possibilities of making NaOH are there? (I know where to buy it from, but I'm interested in making it myself, because I want to make soap)
  13. Borek

    Staff: Mentor

    You may safely assume it is impossible.

    Well, Michio Kaku built his own particle accelerator in the garage, so word "impossible" is perhaps a little bit too strong. But it is definitely one of these things that seem much easier than they are.
  14. As I don't have an access to a laboratory I'd need some help with electrolysing salt solution.

    First, what electricity source should be used? Is a battery sufficient and how many V should it be?

    What materials should the anode and cathode be made of?

    As poisonous chlorine gas forms at anode, how to collect it safely? Is it heavier or lighter than air?

    And same question about hydrogen. What risks are involved with it(explosion, etc?). What precautions should be taken?

    And what else should be taken into account?

    I need NaOH to make soap. I know its possible to buy NaOH but it would be more interesting to make it myself.
  15. k you can use a batery charger it put outs more current than a 12v battery
    and you electrodes should be made of carbon of stainless steel like a stainless steel
    fork or get 9v battery and and take it apart and get the carbon rods out of it to use for your electrodes and clean them off with sand paper. and for your electrolyisis bath
    get a bowl of water and then fill 2 , 2 liter coke bottles and then with ur hand covering the end so no water goes out invert them and set them in ur bath and the put the electrodes inside each of the coke bottles so it will collect any gas givien off.
  16. :rofl: A 2.3-million-electron-volt particle accelerator in his parent's garage. Good analogy.
  17. i will say yes it will be much more fun to make in your garage but it will be hard
    to produce a good quantity , i used to electrolozye water to get hydrogen gas and then put it in a balloon and lite it with a candle taped on the end of stick. good times
  18. chemisttree

    chemisttree 3,717
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    It's actually very possible. And the pure reagent for its manufacture is available at ALL groceries in the US. You will need a bit of apparatus, though. It's not really safe for the casual (citizen) chemist.

  19. Borek

    Staff: Mentor

    And that's why I prefer to direct people to drain cleaner :wink:
  20. ok, thanks for the replies and cragar for the more detailed explanation :smile:

    about safety, how safe is the release of hydrogen into a plastic bottle? Can any dangerous reactions(with oxygen?) occur? and what other risks are associated with this process?
  21. just dont strike a match near the hydrogen in the presence of oxygen.
    and keep it away from hot things . and make sure ur hands are out of the water when u turn on the charger and use a glass bowl or plastic bowl not metal so the gas doesn't come off the bowl where u cant collect it.
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