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hydroxide production Using seashells and charcoal

Made by plante1999
It is know that when calcium carbonate is heated to 850 degree Celsius it decompose to carbon dioxide and calcium oxide (1), This reaction have been use since very old time for quicklime production. Mixing the calcium oxide with water would produce calcium hydroxide (2) which has been use as a cement since early man civilization. A typical lime kiln was made with brick, the fuel was coal/charcoal and the calcium carbonate was in form of limestone (the name is a little obvious). Air supply was not compressed as modern variant; the kiln was filled with alternated layer of coal/limestone. Material required: Hardwood charcoal/hardwood Good purity limestone/seashells 16 normal bricks Hair drier Optional: A stainless steel mug A thermometer A steel plate Ammonium salt 10% Hydrochloric acid, HCl 1.5 inch steel pipe by 2 feet Glass stir rod(steel could also work) A polypropylene container A stainless mesh

Experimental: The furnace (the lime kiln)

First a furnace is made fallowing a similar pattern as this one. It is made from normal bricks and the furnace is made on a steel plate for a better purity of the end product. If the furnace is directly made on the ground contamination from the dirt of the ground will occur. It is preferable to use a non-oxidized steel plate since rust could induce iron impurity in your product. One could argue about the fact that iron oxidizes at high temperature but it is not a problem since the furnace atmosphere will be highly reducing.

: The Furnace

: The hairdryer

The calcium carbonate source: One could use limestone, which is very common. But limestone could have sulphur and iron impurity which does make quite a bad quality product. It is know that in early time if limestone couldnt be found sometime seashells where used instead. Seashells could be picked near a lake/ocean but one could buy some at the dollar store for a really low price. It is a good idea to test the seashells for calcium, dissolving one seashell in 10% HCl should make large amount of effervescence and a colorless solution, if this solution is added to a sodium carbonate and/or sodium sulphate solution a white precipitate should form. CaCO3 + 2HCl -) CaCl2 + H2O + CO2 CaCl2 + Na2CO3 -) 2NaCl + CaCO3 CaCl2 + Na2SO4 -) 2NaCl + CaCO3

:The seashells

The fuel: If one live in a countryside he could use wood but he would have been warned that using wood in this type of furnace is really smelly since wood seam to char and only the carbon produced seam to burn. A better fuel is hardwood charcoal in large pieces. Hardwood charcoal burn with an hotter temperature than wood but produce a lot of carbon monoxide gas, In fact when the blower of the furnace is turned off large amount of blue flame is made proving that the charcoal does not burn completely to carbon dioxide.

:'' If one live in a countryside he could use wood (the forest near the backyard of my house) Using the kiln: First make a layer of charcoal on the bottom of the furnace, add a layer of seashells on top of it, one handful of seashell is a good proportion, then add a layer of charcoal on top of the seashells. For starting the furnace it is recommended to use some type of alcohol, lime methanol (wood alcohol). Pour

most of the methanol on the bottom of the furnace and light it, when the charcoal/wood seams to burn by itself start the hairdryer to maximum speed (Check for the cold mode to reduce electricity cost). It takes about 10minutes to complete a run.

: A better fuel is hardwood charcoal in large pieces.

:The first layer of charcoal

:The layer of seashells

:The last layer of charcoal

: It takes about 10minutes to complete a run. Processing/drying: After the run the shells will be on the bottom of the furnace, simply mixt it with distill water. After a few minutes the distill water will become cloudy and large amount of heat will be generated, this is an indication that youre on the right track. Mix the shells in the water to make a paste, the mixture will heat a lot. At this point one could simply purify it by your own way. First pour the mixt in a Stainless steel mug and heat the mug to boil off water. Then you will end up with a powder with some shells pieces. To remove the shells pieces use a Stainless mesh, this will remove most of the calcium carbonate contamination. You will end up with a white powder.

: Temperature rising when the calcium oxide react with water and the newly formed calcium hydroxide paste. Testing: To test the product for calcium hydroxide/calcium carbonate contamination I recommend to use this simple procedure, it does not show the percentage of carbonate contamination but it does give a good approximation. First dissolve Somme of your crude product in dilute HCl, if it makes almost no effervescence and a colorless solution your product doesnt have a lot of contamination from calcium carbonate/carbon. Then make a solution of ammonium salt and add your crude product to it, a strong odor of ammonia should be observed. Description of the crude product: Pure white powders with few small black particles which I suppose are carbon.

:''Pure white powder with few small black particles which I suppose are carbon.''

Quote 1: CaCO3 -850degree Celsius-) CaO + CO2 Quote 2; CaO + H2O -) Ca(OH)2

Reference: Wikipedia -calcium hydroxide -calcium oxide -lime kiln My own work