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The Bucket Cell - Start to Finish


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#441 cmjlab

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Posted 14 August 2022 - 09:12 PM

Reading through your bucket cell adapter posts, I had a couple questions pop up.
- How much does that titanium metal sheet cost? Sounds pricey to use as reinforcement.... Perhaps a couple aluminum angle pieces or even a more rigid plastic?
- what is your estimated total cost to build and run the cell? (Approx.) I looked into making one some time ago, but the cost of the potassium salt, electrodes, and materials ended up convincing me to purchase the KCl03. I assume once you have built a durable / functioning cell, that the cost would eventually balance out, or you'd come out ahead down the road.
- once running, what is the output amount over time? (I.e. how long till you have KCl03, and what quantity)
Thanks for entertaining my curiosity, with the shortcomings on shipping, and some companies unwillingness to part with their oxidizer supplies due to economic / shipping uncertainty, I may need oneyself!
Charles

Edited by cmjlab, 14 August 2022 - 09:14 PM.


#442 WSM

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Posted 14 August 2022 - 10:28 PM

Reading through your bucket cell adapter posts, I had a couple questions pop up.
- How much does that titanium metal sheet cost? Sounds pricey to use as reinforcement.... Perhaps a couple aluminum angle pieces or even a more rigid plastic?
- what is your estimated total cost to build and run the cell? (Approx.) I looked into making one some time ago, but the cost of the potassium salt, electrodes, and materials ended up convincing me to purchase the KCl03. I assume once you have built a durable / functioning cell, that the cost would eventually balance out, or you'd come out ahead down the road.
- once running, what is the output amount over time? (I.e. how long till you have KCl03, and what quantity)
Thanks for entertaining my curiosity, with the shortcomings on shipping, and some companies unwillingness to part with their oxidizer supplies due to economic / shipping uncertainty, I may need oneyself!
Charles

 

 

Hi Charles,

 

I don't remember the cost (I bought it over a decade ago), but it was too thin for most of my uses so it's just sitting around. It's a 24" x 36" piece of 0.025" thick CP titanium sheet, if memory serves.

 

The cost varies depending on when and where you shop for materials. I acquired many supplies years ago at great savings on eBay and elsewhere. The cost to run the cell depends also on electrical rates in your area plus availability of potassium chloride for feed stock.

 

Years ago I estimated the yield of a 5 gallon bucket cell (if run mostly continuously) to be about 200 lbs. annually (this is a very conservative estimate). Actually, the yield over time depends entirely on the parameters of your setup (for clues, read the blogs on Homegrown Oxidizers, parts 2-8).

 

It costs a lot less in labor if you can buy KClO3, BUT if it's unavailable, having the ability to make it safely is PRICELESS!

 

If you plan to try one, feel free to ask about the specifics, and several here can offer helpful suggestions.

 

WSM B)



#443 Arthur

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Posted 15 August 2022 - 01:27 AM

I don't think it's possible to make perc cheaper than a professional supply. However it's possible to make it safely when there isn't a supply. 



#444 WSM

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Posted 15 August 2022 - 07:21 AM

I don't think it's possible to make perc cheaper than a professional supply. However it's possible to make it safely when there isn't a supply. 

 

 

Amen.

 

WSM B)



#445 WSM

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Posted 15 August 2022 - 07:32 AM

I don't think it's possible to make perc cheaper than a professional supply. However it's possible to make it safely when there isn't a supply. 

 

 

Agreed, except I'll add that I think with proper care and preparation it's possible to make chlorate and perchlorate as good or better than commercial sources.

 

From my experiences in making these chlor-alkali salts, I feel that with proper clean up and purification of the starting and process materials (plus good lab techniques) we can make higher purity oxidizers than is generally available from the suppliers of our chemicals.

 

It takes work and effort, but it's completely possible.

 

WSM B)



#446 WSM

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Posted 15 August 2022 - 07:47 AM

Reading through your bucket cell adapter posts, I had a couple questions pop up.
- How much does that titanium metal sheet cost? Sounds pricey to use as reinforcement.... Perhaps a couple aluminum angle pieces or even a more rigid plastic?
- what is your estimated total cost to build and run the cell? (Approx.) I looked into making one some time ago, but the cost of the potassium salt, electrodes, and materials ended up convincing me to purchase the KCl03. I assume once you have built a durable / functioning cell, that the cost would eventually balance out, or you'd come out ahead down the road.
- once running, what is the output amount over time? (I.e. how long till you have KCl03, and what quantity)
Thanks for entertaining my curiosity, with the shortcomings on shipping, and some companies unwillingness to part with their oxidizer supplies due to economic / shipping uncertainty, I may need oneyself!
Charles

 

 

I was considering what materials I have on hand. I probably won't use the thin titanium sheet metal but I'm giving the compatible polymer options more consideration.

 

I'm less likely to want to use metals which don't fare well when exposed to the cell electrolyte (even casually or peripherally). Chlorine or chlorides and even their fumes can negatively effect most common metals available. I do my chlor-alkali electrochemistry outdoors for that reason (I can't afford to let my expensive and hard-won tools and machinery turn brown).

 

This is definitely true for chlorate production, even though it's less of a problem for perchlorate cells, which produce more ozone than chlorine, during normal operation.

 

WSM B)



#447 WSM

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Posted 15 August 2022 - 08:12 AM

My whole interest in making chlorates got it's start with a 40 lb. bag of potassium chloride water softener pellets, bought at a Large Home Center for about $7. This was 20 or more years ago.

 

Yes the potassium option for water softeners is much more expensive today, but to date it's still available, AND I've heard agricultural KCl is available (though I've never found it), but I suspect it would need to be purified by dissolving, filtering and recrystallization before it would be useful for a chlorate cell.

 

My first cell was a 5 gallon bucket with a graphite anode & stainless steel cathode, and was a total failure (and a glorious mess!).

 

My first successful cell was one gallon pickle jar with a 4" PVC pipe cap for a lid. It used an MMO on titanium rod anode and a titanium tube for a cathode, and produced several batches of chlorate crystals that Summer. My experiences were documented in my article, (Homegrown Oxidizers, Part 1) which can be read in the blog section here in APC.

 

When you read my blog section, you can follow my research to where I got about a decade ago. There is much more to learn, but I'm happy to share what I can. 

 

WSM B)


Edited by WSM, 15 August 2022 - 08:22 AM.


#448 Arthur

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Posted 15 August 2022 - 10:55 AM

Having found a retail supply of 2.5 litre food storage tubs in polypropylene with PP fitted lid I reckoned that it would survive a year of operation if stood in a bucket. They were about $3 each.



#449 Arthur

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Posted 15 August 2022 - 11:14 AM

Having found a 2.5litre tub that works well, is there a reason to use a bucket cell and BCA? I'm happy to consider a year as a cell container's life then buy a new one.



#450 WSM

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Posted 15 August 2022 - 05:46 PM

Having found a 2.5litre tub that works well, is there a reason to use a bucket cell and BCA? I'm happy to consider a year as a cell container's life then buy a new one.

 

 

That sounds workable. Would the 2.5 liter tub benefit from a BCA adapted to it?

 

WSM B)



#451 Arthur

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Posted 16 August 2022 - 02:34 AM

A BCA is far more work than pushing two holes through the lid with a soldering iron (friction fit for 6mm ).



#452 WSM

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Posted 16 August 2022 - 07:04 AM

A BCA is far more work than pushing two holes through the lid with a soldering iron (friction fit for 6mm ).

 

 

That is certainly true. 

 

I'm still thinking of the times a decade ago when Swede and I were busy scaling up our production while simultaneously attempting to simplify the monsters we've created. Swede was altruistic enough to design and supply BCA's for others here who don't have the means or tooling to make BCA's for themselves. Sadly, he abandoned the effort and electrochemistry sharing quest altogether, and has moved on. His light burned brightly for a while though and we are all still benefitting from his legacy.

 

WSM B)


Edited by WSM, 16 August 2022 - 07:15 AM.


#453 WSM

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Posted 16 August 2022 - 07:22 AM

Having found a retail supply of 2.5 litre food storage tubs in polypropylene with PP fitted lid I reckoned that it would survive a year of operation if stood in a bucket. They were about $3 each.

 

 

You may wish to stock up on them while they're available at that price, if you have the space to store them. With the way things are going, they could disappear one day, or cost significantly more.

 

The times, they are a-changing!

 

WSM B)



#454 Arthur

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Posted 16 August 2022 - 07:26 AM

They were sold for in-fridge storage of fruit juices, alternatives are intended for on-counter storage of breakfast cereals..



#455 WSM

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Posted 16 August 2022 - 11:42 AM

They were sold for in-fridge storage of fruit juices, alternatives are intended for on-counter storage of breakfast cereals..

 

 

Can you post a photo of the container with a scale for comparison?

 

WSM B)


Edited by WSM, 16 August 2022 - 11:51 AM.


#456 cmjlab

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Posted 17 August 2022 - 05:24 AM

WSM,

Thanks for the reply. I'll admit I'm no chemist, and the knowledge I do have is all self-taught through reading and unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your viewpoint), the internet.

I'll check out your blog per your suggestion for more info.

I did attempt a small cell (pickle jar style like you mentioned) several years ago, but after much wasted time and failure to invest in the right anode material, I determined my lack of knowledge to make an efficient cell (even if I did spend the money for initial investment), and inability to troubleshoot from a chemistry perspective was better spent acquiring commercial chems. *With that, I admittedly have the luxury of living where I am allowed to do that*.

Even if I never actually try a bucket cell, I will also admit that I am in constant awe at how so many hobbyists apply ingenuity and self learning, combined with their practical knowledge to not only produce what is commercially unavailable, but also take the time to share that with others!

Charles

#457 WSM

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Posted 18 August 2022 - 09:22 AM

WSM,
Thanks for the reply. I'll admit I'm no chemist, and the knowledge I do have is all self-taught through reading and unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your viewpoint), the internet.
I'll check out your blog per your suggestion for more info.
I did attempt a small cell (pickle jar style like you mentioned) several years ago, but after much wasted time and failure to invest in the right anode material, I determined my lack of knowledge to make an efficient cell (even if I did spend the money for initial investment), and inability to troubleshoot from a chemistry perspective was better spent acquiring commercial chems. *With that, I admittedly have the luxury of living where I am allowed to do that*.
Even if I never actually try a bucket cell, I will also admit that I am in constant awe at how so many hobbyists apply ingenuity and self learning, combined with their practical knowledge to not only produce what is commercially unavailable, but also take the time to share that with others!
Charles

 

 

I just reread the first four articles in the series (Homegrown Oxidizers) in my blog. For a batch system, parts 1-4 are a good reference. After those articles the series gets more advanced and complicated. I feel the first four articles are a better starting point for beginners till more experience is gained.

 

If you decide to get started and run into problems or have questions, feel free to post them here and several experienced folks here will probably offer (hopefully useful) suggestions to get you past the issues.

 

WSM B)


Edited by WSM, 18 August 2022 - 09:25 AM.


#458 WSM

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Posted 11 November 2022 - 06:59 AM

Looking back on things, I think strips of PVC sheet would do to reinforce the bucket lid, to accommodate the weight of the thick BCA I made so the pliable lid material will be able to seal properly and make a nice cell with fewer problems.

 

I've said it before and still believe it to be true, "It's amazing how complicated a simple idea can get when you get to work making it happen!".

 

WSM B)  


Edited by WSM, 12 November 2022 - 06:37 AM.







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