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Imakebiodiesel,

With the on going search for calcium carbide I assume the alka seltzer did not work. What about denture cleaner like Polident. I know nothing about chemicals, but it would sure be nice if there were a common household product that would work. Another great idea to add to my biodiesel projects.

Tim
 
Location: Central Oregon | Registered: May 17, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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My apologies, I forgot about your excellent suggestion about alka seltzer. I was so engrossed with testing samples. Any thing that gives off a lot of gas when mixed with water is worth a try. CO2 is a lot less dangerous than acetylene. Ill pick up some tomorrow.
What about sodium bicarbonate?
 
Location: Lismore Ireland | Registered: November 25, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Alka seltzer works! I mixed 100 gms of reference 2000ppm biodiesel with 2 ground up alka seltzers. The reaction was much slower than with carbide, it took about 15 minutes to finish with lots of shaking but the final reading was 275mm. With carbide the reading was 622mm.
The next test will be with 4 alka seltzers in case not all of the water was reacted. Then I will try my 500ppm reference biodiesel, by my calculation it should read about 70mm.
The ingredient in Alka seltzer is sodium hydrogen carbonate.
 
Location: Lismore Ireland | Registered: November 25, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I would like to take the credit, but I believe it was HughT who mentioned using alka seltzer. Glad it works. If you have to use 4 or more is still cheaper than carbide?

Tim
 
Location: Central Oregon | Registered: May 17, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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cough cough ... mmm .. I think I was the one to suggest the alka-seltzer.

Trc


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Location: north of houston, south of dallas, east of austin | Registered: August 31, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Yes, looking back, it was you, well done and my apologies for forgetting about it. A little research shows me that the fizzy ingredient in alka seltzer is sodium hydrogen carbonate, which is just the new name for bicarbonate of soda. This is also available as baking soda and as such costs a lot less than alka seltzer.

I would propose a larger test sample for this method as it seems to produce a smaller volume of gas.
A good sized glass jar such as the sort used for mayonaisse would be about right. Weigh in a sample of say 200 or even 300 gms. Put in a heaped teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda. Screw on the lid and shake for at least 10 minutes or untill there is no further movement. I dont think that you need to bother with the bottle top as in using carbide because it takes 20 or 30 seconds for the reaction to start. A couple of ball bearings would help with the mixing but avoid aluminium, zinc, copper, brass or plated metal as bicarbonate reacts with some metals.

Provided that no other reaction is happening we should get a valid reading.
 
Location: Lismore Ireland | Registered: November 25, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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quote:
Originally posted by imakebiodiesel:
Yes, looking back, it was you, well done and my apologies for forgetting about it. A little research shows me that the fizzy ingredient in alka seltzer is sodium hydrogen carbonate, which is just the new name for bicarbonate of soda. This is also available as baking soda and as such costs a lot less than alka seltzer.

I would propose a larger test sample for this method as it seems to produce a smaller volume of gas.
A good sized glass jar such as the sort used for mayonaisse would be about right. Weigh in a sample of say 200 or even 300 gms. Put in a heaped teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda. Screw on the lid and shake for at least 10 minutes or untill there is no further movement. I dont think that you need to bother with the bottle top as in using carbide because it takes 20 or 30 seconds for the reaction to start. A couple of ball bearings would help with the mixing but avoid aluminium, zinc, copper, brass or plated metal as bicarbonate reacts with some metals.

Provided that no other reaction is happening we should get a valid reading.
Sure you don't mean baking powder?? Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate and reacts with acid.


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Location: Colorado | Registered: March 20, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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This is why I added the sentence at the end...
"provided that no other reaction is happening we should get a valid reading".
From what I can see baking powder is sodium bicarbonate with some acid added, usually tartaric or citric. When water is added the acids react with the alkaline sodium bicarbonate to produce CO2 and make the bread rise.
This may make the use of sodium bicarbonate unsuitable for our purposes because it may end up measuring a combination of water content and acidity, at this stage I simply dont know but some simple tests should tell us if we are on the right track.
Perhaps there are some people who are watching this topic who can put us straight.
In the meantime how are you guys in the US getting on with locating calcium carbide ?
 
Location: Lismore Ireland | Registered: November 25, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
In the meantime how are you guys in the US getting on with locating calcium carbide ?


No luck so far. Local searching only, still working on it when I have time.
 
Location: SF Bay Area | Registered: September 02, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Would builders lime work ? Confused


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Location: peoples republic of cork ireland | Registered: November 21, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by imakebiodiesel:
This is why I added the sentence at the end...
"provided that no other reaction is happening we should get a valid reading".
From what I can see baking powder is sodium bicarbonate with some acid added, usually tartaric or citric. When water is added the acids react with the alkaline sodium bicarbonate to produce CO2 and make the bread rise.
This may make the use of sodium bicarbonate unsuitable for our purposes because it may end up measuring a combination of water content and acidity, at this stage I simply dont know but some simple tests should tell us if we are on the right track.
I was just implying that baking powder may be an appropriate water testing agent instead of soda that needs water and acid to produce CO2. It's certainly worth a try.
 
Location: Colorado | Registered: March 20, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Trc59

quote:
cough cough ... mmm .. I think I was the one to suggest the alka-seltzer.


Sorry, my bad

Tim
 
Location: Central Oregon | Registered: May 17, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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Im going to try a second alka seltzer test today with my 500ppm reference sample. Ill let you know what happens.
Copper suggested builders lime and I have been thinking about that. Properly made builders lime is pure calcium hydroxide which does not react with water. However the material builders lime is made from, calcium oxide ( quicklime) certainly does. When this is mixed with water, heat, and a certain amount of oxygen is given off. What sort of volume Im not sure. Also I wonder if the temperature increase would be measurable.
The down side is that quicklime is really nasty stuff to handle and difficult to store.
 
Location: Lismore Ireland | Registered: November 25, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Getting calcium carbide seems to be a problem in the US so I have done a bit of research. Do a web search under The Carbide Caver, go their site and click on Getting Carbide. There are 3 or 4 possible sources in the US.
The Ebay seller from Luxembourg will ship to the US but charges £16 for postage on top of £6 for the carbide. Thats something like 40 dollars for 3 pounds of carbide.
 
Location: Lismore Ireland | Registered: November 25, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Good new and bad news.

Bad news first. The alka seltzer didnt register any reading with the 500ppm reference sample. Since 500ppm is the ASTM maximum it would seem that this method isnt going to work.

Good News. Calcium carbide is available from Ray-vin in the US. 17.95 dollars for a medium sized pack post included. Its used historical re-enactments as dummy cannon ammunition. Here is the link to their shop site...
http://www.ray-vin.com/gunsight/carbide.htm
 
Location: Lismore Ireland | Registered: November 25, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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At $18/10 oz or $1.80/oz vs from Luxembourg $40/48 oz or $0.83/oz you get a lot more bang for your buck from Luxembourg.
 
Registered: May 08, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I see what you mean, in fact checking the currency rates it would only cost 35 dollars for 48 oz from Luxembourg. Have you tried any of the caving supply shops on the Carbide Caver site?
 
Location: Lismore Ireland | Registered: November 25, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Not to through water on this beautiful, well thought out designed, and tested idea, but instead of this elaborate system, why not build a closed container with a pressure gauge, and calibrate it as you did with the manometer? And instead of being accurate to the ppm, just use it as a go/nogo test...i.e. pressure pressure generated from 500ppm water, if it's over No Go.

Sweet lab work though, and I've enjoyed this thread tremendously, it just hit me this morning and thought that since ASTM limit for water is 500ppm, then a simple Go / NoGo test would be simpler.
 
Location: Somewhere in the swamp... | Registered: April 03, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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There is no reason why you couldnt use a pressure gauge instead of a manometer. The range you want is 0 - 1 psi with 500ppm occurring around 0.2 psi. Mechanical pressure gauges are better at measuring high pressure than low but if you could find a suitable one it should work. It will however cost a lot more than 3 yards of pvc tubing.
The go/ no go idea is fine for testing of finished batches of biodiesel but there are times when it is useful to have more precise information, for example when designing or improving a drying system as I did recently.
 
Location: Lismore Ireland | Registered: November 25, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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kewl....good job by the way on the manometer. Again, I thoroughly enjoyed the thread.
 
Location: Somewhere in the swamp... | Registered: April 03, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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