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chem students want to make and sell soap
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My high school wants to start making liquid KOH bio soap, and have asked me to verify the meth ppm. Our chemistry teachers know about bio soap since several of them have chem labs for students where they make 1 liter batches of bio in their classrooms. One of the teachers uses my koh soap to clean up in the classroom. Of course, our school admin has to make sure that anything we produce is safe, as students may use/sell the koh soap at our local farmer's market.
My school supt wants to know how we can assure the soap is meth free. At this point, it seems there is no way to prove the soap is safe unless we get it tested. Schools have a high responsibility, as you can imagine. Our chem and agriculture teachers have to prove/provide safe environment and procedures for their labs and projects.

Some of my coworkers already use my soap to clean art room, ag shops, concrete floors, etc, but if our science dept. makes it and maybe sells it, there is probably a higher level of responsibility that falls of the school administration.

Has anyone used a lab to get a spec sheet on ppm? Anyone know the "acceptable" level of meth ppm? Our school supt might be willing to pay for the cost of a test, if our students made soap.

Appreciate any advice for this particular situation.
 
Registered: February 03, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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If the school wants to make soap, they should just make soap. You don't use methanol to make soap so it wouldn't be a problem.
 
Location: Nimbin Australia | Registered: December 04, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by tlrw:

My school supt wants to know how we can assure the soap is meth free


Methanol flashes off at 146.5 F. If your lab has a fume hood heat the glycerine to 170-180 F and stir it. Do not do this indoors without proper ventilation as the vapors are toxic and cummulative. In the absense of a hood, do it outdoors on a breezy day with a stainlless steel pot and an electric hotplate. No gas grill, the vapors are flammable to the point of being explosive.

Norman
 
Location: Lincoln, NE | Registered: April 10, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Normans post above is incorrect, a minimum of 260F is required to bring the glycerin to a "non hazardous" state according to some extensive research and testing done by Farmer on this forum.
See HERE.
You could also shoot a PM to Legal Eagle on this forum who I believe has some good information and papers about the safety of biodiesel glycerin soap you could present to your school administration.
Good luck!
Jon
 
Location: Wellington County, Ontario Canada | Registered: February 07, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Your administration needs to call its school attorney and ask what liabilities and immunities the district has in such a situation. Obviously safety is paramount. If some kook sues, the other reality is that public schools generally enjoy sovereign immunity as political subdivisions of state government.

Cheers, John
 
Registered: June 17, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The chem dept has presented a proposal to have a 25 gallon biodiesel setup, running school tractor and couple of vehics on bio produced. So, they also are investigating using the glycerin for soap as well.

Good point Dukegrad. Our school attorney is checking out the requirements for bio setup on campus. There are several high schools that do it, and our supt is considering placing it at our school's bus garage, just a few miles from the school, where students can easily be transported back and forth.

Appstate has offered to advise us on the logistics of building bio processor, but of course the NC State Dept of Public Instruction will have codes and regulations. I have been making bio for 3 years, and the ag class visits and 4-H, and some chem college students have used my shop to experiment with small batches and a bigger setup. 2 chem teachers currently make the 1 liter batches and want to take it to the next level.

The soap would be another avenue for students to use chemistry/sustainable hands-on curriculum.

My own soap is used is various places on my high school campus as I mentioned, but I do not give it out to students, as I have not "proven" my soap is safe.

Yes, one law suit, one student with a rash or parent complaint, and it gets complicated. If I bring home made food to class, and a student gets sick, then I'm liable, which is why homemade goods are prohibited.

The school would have to get the soap tested, and I was wondering if anyone knew a lab. If we could get an analysis that falls under the acceptable meth levels, then maybe. Has anyone obtained a lab spec sheet for their soap?

Maybe milk from the school's goats and some virgin oil might be the only way to make soap.

Thanks for all your feedback.
 
Registered: February 03, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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quote:
Has anyone obtained a lab spec sheet for their soap?

For the glycerin yes, follow the link I posted above to get to Farmers original post...
Jon
 
Location: Wellington County, Ontario Canada | Registered: February 07, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Jon Heron:
Normans post above is incorrect, a minimum of 260F is required to bring the glycerin to a "non hazardous" state according to some extensive research and testing done by Farmer on this forum.
Jon


And if Jon would bother to read my post and compare it to Farmer's he would notice that only one of the procedures recommends stirring. This will release the vapor from the glycerin without the difficult and potentially dangerous use of excessive heat. Raising the temperature beyond the boiling point of water when there is a known quantity present is not to be advised, unless you like volcanoes.

Norman
 
Location: Lincoln, NE | Registered: April 10, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Touchy touchy Norm.
I did read your post and I fail see how it compares to Farmers at all, nor do I see where farmer mentions stirring anywhere?
Do you have any data to back up your statement that heating to 170-180F will bring the glycerin to below "non hazardous" levels?
If so I am sure we would all like to see it....
Jon
 
Location: Wellington County, Ontario Canada | Registered: February 07, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Jon Heron:
Touchy touchy Norm.
I did read your post and I fail see how it compares to Farmers at all, nor do I see where farmer mentions stirring anywhere?
Do you have any data to back up your statement that heating to 170-180F will bring the glycerin to below "non hazardous" levels?
If so I am sure we would all like to see it....
Jon


Ok, so you did read it, now try to understand that stirring makes a difference. DUH Farmer doesn't do any, so that must mean the process is flawed? IMHO mine is better, safer and faster. That works for me. Proof, no and I don't need anything more than it works for me. Don't like it, don't do it.

The ONLY reason I don't lambast your comprehension abilities is that someone whose opinion I highly respect stood up for you in a PM. I suppose your support of Lucass and his caustic soap on 5 continents is a character flaw that I will be forced to live with until you see the light.

Norman
 
Location: Lincoln, NE | Registered: April 10, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Distillation to a pot temp of 260F is what we do based on Farmers research. Added bonus is that we are not releasing the methanol into the environment, rather it goes into the next batch. This also pays for the electric.



 
Registered: April 28, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Agreed with the pot temp of 260 degrees F being acceptable, even necessary. I do not believe these kids are looking to build a pot still and a reflux column for distillation at this point. It would seem a bit of overkill to demeth liter batch glycerine in a still.

Norman
 
Location: Lincoln, NE | Registered: April 10, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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quote:
Originally posted by StorminNorman:
I suppose your support of Lucass and his caustic soap on 5 continents is a character flaw that I will be forced to live with until you see the light.


We bore of this feud.

Cheers, John
 
Registered: June 17, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by StorminNorman:
I do not believe these kids are looking to build a pot still and a reflux column for distillation at this point.
By definition a pot still does not have a reflux column. Look at this page for an explanation.
quote:
Originally posted by StorminNorman:
That works for me. Proof, no and I don't need anything more than it works for me. Don't like it, don't do it.
So you told this child that it was safe to do without knowing whether it is or not.
 
Registered: June 26, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by StorminNorman:
Ok, so you did read it, now try to understand that stirring makes a difference. DUH Farmer doesn't do any, so that must mean the process is flawed? IMHO mine is better, safer and faster. That works for me. Proof, no and I don't need anything more than it works for me. Don't like it, don't do it.

The ONLY reason I don't lambast your comprehension abilities is that someone whose opinion I highly respect stood up for you in a PM. I suppose your support of Lucass and his caustic soap on 5 continents is a character flaw that I will be forced to live with until you see the light.

Norman

LOL!
Yes, stirring makes a difference as does vacuum, air injection, surface area, etc, etc.
Perhaps you failed to comprehend the posters questions of:
quote:
Has anyone used a lab to get a spec sheet on ppm? Anyone know the "acceptable" level of meth ppm?

I answered the questions directly and gave a link to the information requested whereas you gave an unsubstantiated opinion based on nothing... Confused
I welcome your lambasting of my comprehension skills, you dope. Big Grin
quote:
I suppose your support of Lucass and his caustic soap on 5 continents is a character flaw that I will be forced to live with until you see the light.

You dont know me and have no idea whom or what I do or do not support, you can rest assured I do not support childish blowhards such as yourself though.

quote:
I do not believe these kids are looking to build a pot still and a reflux column for distillation at this point. It would seem a bit of overkill to demeth liter batch glycerine in a still.

No one asked what you believe and your assumptions are off base.
The stuff required for distillation at this quantity is standard lab ware in any high school lab and can be done quite safely...

Cheers,
Jon
 
Location: Wellington County, Ontario Canada | Registered: February 07, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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We have found that there is a range of "final" temperatures for the methanol boil off. That range seems to be anywhere from 260*F - 400*F. We stop when the BDG just starts to smoke and shut down the BDG still.

Our still is designed with a reflux column, condenser, circulation pump, air injection and vacuum. When we are using the air injection the vacuum is really just keeping up with the air that is being injected. In addition we have a volume of water that circulates through the condenser and through a radiator complete with a fan, this keeps the water temp down enough to keep the condenser working.

We monitor the head temperature and try to keep it hovering right near 159*F, that is the real temperature you need to be concerned with. Once that temperature rises you are starting to have water vapor. The pot temperature will rise as the methanol/water are evaporated out of the BDG.

We also distill off the water vapor until the BDG reaches the "smoke point".

To make really great soap it's best to have the BDG as "Dry" as possible. Dry meaning void of as much methanol and water as possible.

After that full saponification is paramount -- this will keep the soap from going rancid. Just like great biodiesel great soap just sparkles when it's finished.

Lower pot temperatures with circulation will also remove the methanol more readily than just heat alone. If you are making a shop soap or an engine degreaser you may want some of that methanol left in your soap, just be sure to label it and caution it accordingly. Remember -- windshield wiper fluid in the winter can be over 50% methanol -- So it's not a "bad" thing for some applications, however if you are going to use the soap with skin contact, the more methanol you can remove the better.


-Rick

http://www.knicenclean.com your single-most largest free BDG soaping content on the internet.
SAP Testing, Ingredient Properties, Soap Glossary and Recipes just to name a few.

Making Biodiesel Byproduct Soap Learn how to use your biodiesel byproducts to make great bar and liquid soap!!!

"Closing the loop on biodiesel production one bar at a time!"

Beware of the Dunning–Kruger effect.
 
Location: S.E. Michigan | Registered: April 15, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thanks for Farmer's link and I will give it and Rick's last post to our chem teachers. We at least can use this info to make some decisions. Processor has to get approved by state dept of public instruction first, then maybe soap.

As for the bickering on this forum, hey it feels like a classroom, just like a forum where I or my students make posts about various content or topics--insults, abrasive responses, and some great exchange of insight or advice all included. I've learned loads about bio and soap making on this forum, using it to tune up my skills. Thanks again.
 
Registered: February 03, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by tlrw:
"My school supt wants to know how we can assure the soap is meth free."

Appreciate any advice for this particular situation.


The soap will never be "methanol free." But you can reduce the mass % to negligable levels. I believe that "consumer soaps" and "industrial soaps and degreasers" are regulated differently, but research would be done to determine what regulations are in place.

Heat and vaccum are the processes needed to reduce methanol content.

Equations can be used to "model" the expected methanol content achieved at various temperatures and pressures. However, these models are not perfect representations of the actual conditions, and testing of some sort would be necessary.

Methanol content can be "approximately" acertained in certain contration ranges using flash point testing.

However, to be more accuare I think you may have to go with more expensive cromatography, spectroscopy, or mass spec testing. I'm not sure if the GC methods I'm familiar with would work well for determing the methanol content in soap due to the sodium component's interaction with the column. Irregardless, if this is important to you it can be done.

In small quantities methanol is not very dangerous, however is using large amounts of soap containing significant amounts of methanol I would certainly recommend "good ventilation" as an easily implimentable safety precaution.
 
Location: CO, CA, KS, or FL | Registered: January 17, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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quote:
Originally posted by Jon Heron:
Normans post above is incorrect, a minimum of 260F is required to bring the glycerin to a "non hazardous" state according to some extensive research and testing done by Farmer on this forum.
Jon



Norman[/QUOTE]

By "hazardous state" would you be refering to "fire hazard" or "health hazard." I'm thinking that your statement is designed to address the "fire hazard" however without actual cited regulations for consumer soaps I would not feel confident saying there is no "health hazard." We're dealing with kids here, lets play it safe.

As for a school running a 25 gallon reactor, the permiting is not difficult due to the small amount of flamables needed to run such a set-up. ASSUMING your not running it very often you could probably get away with barrels of methanol, and bags of catalyst.

If you really want to teach you kids something (but make your life more complicated) use a dry wash set-up and do methanol recovery instead of water washing. It's pretty fun and easy to design a reactor that size, expecially without automation.

If you contact me directly and verify your credentials I would be interesting in helping the school district through the permiting, and the involved parties through the design. It sounds like a worthwhile "volunteer" project to me.
 
Location: CO, CA, KS, or FL | Registered: January 17, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by HelpingHand:
If you contact me directly and verify your credentials I would be interesting in helping the school district through the permiting, and the involved parties through the design. It sounds like a worthwhile "volunteer" project to me.


These are the rare posts that truly make a good forum great. Good on you.

Cheers, John
 
Registered: June 17, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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