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What is an effective way to make aluminum powder from a house setting? I've heard you can chop up deodorant or antacids and dissolve them in alcohol, then skim off the top layer. The bottom layer can then be mixed with sulphuric acid to pull the aluminum out. How effective is this? Are there any more effective ways?
Question Date: 2011-08-26
Answer 1:

You need to be careful about this. Al powder plus per chlorates is a pyrotechnic material that can spontaneously blow up and cause a lot of damage. The best place to get Al powder is simply to purchase it. But what do you plan to do with it???

AGAIN Al powder plus perchlorates or nitrates of potassium is a very EXPLOSIVE mixture and should not be done unless supervised very closely.

Answer 2:

You will not be able to make aluminum powder from aluminum salts (used in some deodorants, but not to my knowledge in antacids) in a house setting. Your description was not entirely clear, and I just want to caution against mixing anything that contains alcohol with sulfuric acid (unless the sulfuric acid is diluted with lots of water), this could cause a violent reaction or fire. Be careful with chemicals such as sulfuric acid and aluminum powder, they can be very dangerous. Why do you want to produce aluminum powder? I can maybe relate, having started my interest in chemistry via fireworks, and I know that this can be hazardous business, from own experience with burns and knowing from friends who have experienced worse. Be careful, play it safe, and learn as much as you can beforehand.

Answer 3:

This question depends heavily on how pure you need the aluminum to be. Any acid you can get at home (by freeze distilling vinegar, eg.) may dissolve aluminum but contaminants in the vinegar will bind with that aluminum to form Aluminum salts or hydrate
(Al(OH)3). If you aim to produce pure elemental aluminum that generally requires very high temperatures (you will never achieve this in solution - aluminum is too reactive; once oxidized you'll need to do electrochemistry or some other processing to reverse it).

This is an interesting little article on the industrial process by which alumina (oxidized aluminum) is converted into aluminum:


Do be careful! Pure aluminum is quite reactive in the presence of other metal oxides (like rust) and if initiated can burn at extremely high temperatures (when rust is used this is called thermite).

Answer 4:

I might be wrong, but it sounds like you might be wanting to do the thermite reaction. If this is the case have your teacher email me for instructions. It is very cool but very dangerous with out the correct precautions.

As for your deodorant question, you can get aluminum ions or Al2(SO4)3 out but not the metal.

Sorry for the bad news.

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