What is the story behind aluminum utensils

Where to Buy Sodium Hydroxide in 2021

Sodium hydroxide (NaOH), or lye, is a common part of many science projects, especially chemical experiments, and for making homemade soap and wine. It's also a corrosive chemical, so it's not as easy to find in stores as it used to be. Some stores wear it as a Red Devil Lye with underwear. It's also usually found in an impure form in solid drain cleaners. Craftsmen carry lye for soap making.

There is also food grade sodium hydroxide available for cooking in some specialty stores.You can find sodium hydroxide online. You can get it from Amazon as sodium hydroxide or alkali. Pure lye opener, caustic soda and sodium hydroxide or sodium hydroxide. Depending on your project, you may be able to replace potassium hydroxide (KOH), which has similar chemical properties and is easier to find, but these two chemicals are not the same. So when you do the substitution, expect slightly different results.

How to make sodium hydroxide

If you can't buy sodium hydroxide, you can use a chemical reaction. You will need:

  • Table salt (sodium chloride, not iodized)
  • 2 carbon electrodes (made from zinc-carbon batteries or pencil leads)
  • Alligator clips
  • water
  • Power supply (e.g. 9 volt battery)
  1. In a glass container, stir salt into water until it dissolves. Do not use aluminum containers or aluminum utensils as sodium hydroxide will react with them and damage them.
  1. Place the two carbon sticks in the container (do not touch each other).
  2. Use alligator clips to connect each rod to one terminal on the battery. Allow the reaction to proceed for about 7 hours. Install the device in a well-ventilated area as hydrogen and chlorine gas are generated. The reaction produces a sodium hydroxide solution. You can use it as such, or you can evaporate the water to concentrate the solution or get solid lye.

This is an electrolysis reaction that works according to the chemical equation:

2 NaCl (aq) + 2 H2O (l) → H2(g) + Cl2(g) + 2 NaOH (aq)

Another way to make lye is from ashes.

  1. To do this, boil the ashes of a hardwood fire in a small amount of distilled water for about half an hour. To get a large amount of lye, it will take a lot of ash. Hardwood ash (e.g. oak) is preferable to softwood ash (e.g. pine) because softer woods contain a lot of resin.
  2. Let the ashes sink to the bottom of the container.
  3. Lye solution from above. Evaporate the liquid to concentrate the solution. Note that alkalis from the ashes are relatively impure, but should be sufficient for many scientific projects or for making soap.

To make a raw soap from homemade lye, all you need to do is combine lye with fat.

Sodium Hydroxide Projects

Once you have lye, you can use it in a variety of scientific projects. You can use caustic soda as a base, make homemade soap, make water glass for homemade "magic stones" or try the gold and silver magic experiments.