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    This place is for describing and discussing experiments by members with a focus on the practical side of things. Better methods make better science- and after 50 years I still learn new things about techniques and also the surprises that revisiting old methods reveal about science- be it physics, chemistry, or engineering. To kick it off, here's a little 'methods 101' on distillation of heavy water to remove impurities. This thread might be useful to those who never paid attention to science lessons in school, but now wish they had. Others might think some of it 'too elementary', but we have to start somewhere.

    As you can see I have ended up with around three hundred grams of electrolyte and metal salts/hydroxide contaminated heavy water. It looks rather like horse-piss, but at around $1 a gram D2O is too precious to throw away.

    The plan is to distill off the water leaving the impurities behind. The equipment is simple - here's a general view. The hotplate boils the D20 in the conical flask, the water-cooled condenser in the middle turns the D2O steam back into liquid, and the condensate is collected in the globe shaped flask in the left. There's a little downward-curving piece of silicon tubing on the swan-neck connector on the left btw - that is for pressure relief, and should be sitting in a beaker to catch any condensate that finds it's way out by that route.

    The condenser water jacket is fed from a reservoir of cold water -flow is provided by a little aquarium pump submerged in the tank. These are very cheap - and this one has probably got 100+ hours of service so they are reliable too - which is important. If the cooling stops your precious distillate will just escape as steam.

    Whisky and Gin distillers pay great attention to still-head temperatures, which they like to know to fractions of a degree. Since I am not worried about volatiles in my D2O a simpler method of control works. Although the hotplate is thermostatic, it is actually slaved to an external PID thermostat, so the thermostat on the hotplate is set to 'max' all the time, since the PID switches it on and off. Temperature sensing for the PID is via the thermocouple in the still head. The heat feedback loop is longer than I like, but I have used this crude method often enough to know it works well enough for this job. Finally, the conical flask does not sit directly on the hotplate, but on a PTFE mesh spacer. Direct contact causes -too often - cracking of the glass- even borosilicate 'oven glass'.

    I'll follow up with the results -when available.

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    A transverse question : why "methods 101", what is the meaning of 101 ?

    Because i already have seen this 101 on another topic.

    Cydonia , it’s a reference to the name of University courses, basic courses on any field always have the 101 as a suffix, to indicate that it is the first of a series. The second is 201, and so on. I think this is common place in the USA, and Chile followed that custom, thought it was this way everywhere.

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    Thanks for starting this thread Alan Smith ! The image shows 97 degrees, was it already boiling? Back in my “técnicas de laboratorio químico 101” days we did fractional distillation and we used temperature to try to pinpoint what was being evaporated when. D2O boils at 101.2 degrees so that’s why I ask.

    Many years later when we were processing fish oil for making capsules in my former company, we used ethanol as solvent and we had permanently to recover, we did it on partial vacuum to enhance the separation and get a higher purity but ethanol and water are not as easy to separate and we had to do a lot of post process. And food grade ethanol is just 2 bucks per liter.

    So at one quid per ml, D2O is a liquid luxury to waste.

    I will share some of the lab stuff we are doing now here.

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    My colleague did some other tests today for simple yet Can get easily messy things as mixing the reactives and avoiding spillage when pH adjusting to control the precipitation of some of the elements in the solution (KCl mixed with NaBH4 to create a mix rich in H-) and the proceed to Treat it with ultrasound. He made some videos but I have to upload them to a folder to share them here.

    He did a first approach last week and found several steps needed further clarification, and we walked throughout all of it about a couple of days ago and he did some progress today and will follow tomorrow to do the first true experimental run next week.

    He also did some very preliminary measurements with the AAS after 5 minutes of sonication (three times) and found a puzzling reduction of Dissolved K on each run, even before adding the NaBH4.

    He is now also working in adjusting the protocol for measurement of Ca, which is not very easy to do with AAS but is the only equipment we have available atm.

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    With the caveat that this was an extremely preliminary experiment, to get a sense of how to do the main experimental run, and also, to fine tune the measurement protocol with the AAS, I was taking another look a the data of the test K and Ca measurements that my colleague performed, and the funny thing is that, seemingly, ultrasound applied to the KCl solution alone, without adding NaBH4, produced a significative amount of transmutation from Ka to Ca. The solution lost 0,238 mg/L K and gained 0,0676 mg/L Ca just by applying US for 5 minutes. Initial Ca was 0 mg/L.

  • Of possible interest for those looking for alternative signs of electromagnetic emissions from their reactions: besides AM/FM receivers it is sometimes also possible to roughly gauge the strength of the EMI generated using DSL internet routers. Certain models have a 'DSL spectrum' functionality which gives the signal-to-noise ratio in dB from 0 to 35 MHz of the DSL carrier frequencies. When strong EMI are generated, large holes (i.e. loss of SNR) can appear in the spectrum and this information may be logged in some way. High-speed DSL connections are sensitive to EMI and sometimes connection errors, speed losses or drops may occur under high EMI conditions.

    Here for example I have a relatively large 'hole' around carrier frequency #5600, logged during one such high-EMI tests.

    This is not exactly a very accurate measurement, but I know that strong electromagnetic noise is being generated when my DSL router (located a few rooms away from the testing environment) starts showing signs of interference from it, and no other equipment has ever caused such holes in my case.

    Caveat: if the EMI is too strong, the internet connection is dropped and the graph gets reset (at least with the router I have), although it has not happened yet under the current testing conditions.

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    Here's a bit of 'pretty chemistry, making copper hydroxide from copper sulphate and sodium hydroxide. This is a simple 'double decomposition' where the sulphate ion and the hydroxide ion .change partners with the end product being insoluble copper hydroxide and soluble sodium sulphate.

    So we start with 125 grams of copper sulphate heptahydrate crystals dissolved in distilled water. This is an ambient temperature experiment btw- do it hot and you get a different reaction.

    Above is the sodium hydroxide - which should be added as a solution in distilled water.

    Here just a small amount of sodium hydroxide has been added. A few paler blue clumps of copper hydroxide gel are forming.

    And this is after more copper hydroxide has formed- the paler blue colour now begins to predominate.

    And here's the end product sitting in a warm spot on top of the kiln to dry. Not exciting science, but interesting to watch.

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    Back to copper hydroxide. The gel has settled a little, but still needs washing to remove the residual (soluble) sodium sulphate. How can you tell? Well, apart from logic, I left some of the gel on a plate to dry in a warm place in a warm place overnight. In the picture below you can see the white sulphate crystals, squeezed out' of the drying dark blue hydroxide gel looking like a jacket of hairy fungus.

    And here in the microscope...low power view, blue hydroxide, white sodium sulphate.

  • Some crabs don't use iron to carry hydrogen in their blood, but rather cobalt.

    I think that those crabs use copper in a protein called haemocyanin... rather than iron

    to help with O2 transport..

    anyone here who is a connoiseur of horseshoe crab blood? or Factor C?

    But the diversity of the biological world is can occupy many coffee times

    Cobalt is reputed to be used in doping of race horses..


    Limulus polyphemus.jpg

  • Hi Robert,

    i was already surprised that Cobalt works too.

    i concluded the strong possibility of so many different living ways for ET.

    For example the first one could be not using water for life but rather an hydrocarbon.