Saturday, April 27, 2013

Acetone 1 (honey + chalk = acetone)

My longest chain to date:
  • Honey + Water + Yeast = Mead
  • Mead + Acetobacter = Vinegar
  • Vinegar + Chalk = Calcium Acetate
  • Dry distilling Calcium Acetate = Acetone
Acetone could be used to thin or strip paints, but I think the most likely use is as a recoverable solvent to extract oils from seeds. That would indeed be a labor boon.

  1. My original vinegar was made from mead, and thus contained a variety of compounds beyond simple acetic acid. I distilled it, and got a very clear product.
  2. It takes a surprisingly large amount of chalk to slake a relatively small amount of vinegar.
  3. The drying step is by far the longest part. I used a glass pie pan in a 200ºF oven. It took hours.
  1. Add chalk to vinegar until fizzing stops
  2. Add 10% more chalk than you have already added
  3. Add 100% more water by volume
  4. Filter the mixture to remove undissolved chalk, leaving a calcium acetate solution
  5. Place solution in a shallow bowl and apply gentle heat. (Over 160ºC would break down the acetate)
  6. Collect the calcium acetate
  7. Dry distill the calcium acetate producing acetone.

  • The calcium acetate came out a little dusky rather than totally white.
  • The distilled acetone came out light brown, but smell and application to styrofoam confirm acetone was present
  • Much of the solid remained unchanged

Acetone is a List II Substance

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