The Birkland Eyde process/reactot

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Lino1406

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Electric arc combines between atmosphere's nitrogen and oxygen. No connection to PM's
 

blackwolf365

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maybe not directly, but as it is a process that can make nitric acid, and nitric acid is often used in the refining process, i figured some here might know a few things about it.
 

butcher

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If you were making nitric on an industrial scale, but not for making nitric at home yourself unless you just want to make it for an experiment to get a few milliliters of Nitric. You could probably make more nitric by removing your catalytic converter from your V8 engine and bubbling your truck exhaust gases through water, or by capturing the gases evolved from the plasma cutter of your welding shop and run them through a mist of water...
The most useful methods of making nitric acid have been discussed in great detail here on the forum, including why attempting to make nitric acid from lightning or a spark in your back yard would not be worth your time.
 

blackwolf365

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not so much for me, personally. i'm wanting to play around with the process a bit. see if i can find ways to tweek it here and there so it will be more efficient. if nothing else, it will provide me a project to keep my spare time occupied for a while. and who knows? i might actually succeed
 

butcher

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Get a very high voltage power supply a hand full of pins or needle and be careful and study to understand the dangers of the deadly red cloud that is produced, Be careful with line voltage on the primary side of your power supply and understand its dangers, you will produce very little nitric, do not work indoors unless proper lab fume hood and other precautions are taken to ensure your safety, do not work in a shop or garage with any tools or metals you wish to keep, sunlight may decompose your nitric almost as fast as it forms, Gain an understanding of the dangers involved before attempting to create sparks, and the dangers of the different forms of nitric and the gases, Caution of explosions where your working wood paper and other organic materials in or around your shop lab if contaminated with nitric acid or its fumes gain a low flash point, and once nitrated could become as flammable or even explosive as gun cotton add that into the same area with a few million little needles making A few million little sparks and things could get entertaining to say the least.

Now with your shop on fire, because you did not research the dangers and there you stand with a gas mask on trying to explain to the authorities who are wondering why you were trying to make nitric acid with a tesla power supply hooked up to you and your neighbor's transformer (which happens to be smoking as the fire trucks drove by) and what that big red cloud all the firemen are choking on...

well, I had to have some fun, seriously study the dangers, start your experiments on a small scale after you understand the dangers involved, work your experiment up in scale after gaining some experience.

it would be an interesting experiment to watch, but I would not expect much more than just a small sample for all of the effort.

Now improving the battery, well that would pique my interest, and heck I could play with sparks and fumes there also, as long as I do not work beyond the limitations of my understanding of the dangers and have a fairly good understanding of the work I am doing or planning to do...
 

blackwolf365

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make no mistake. i full well know the dangers involved. only a fool would not take them into account here. and lets not forget that nitric acid is still an acid and can have some very unpleasant effects if mishandled. and i already know that the rate of production will not be overly fast. thats why i want to see if i can tweek it. i might not increase the rate of production so much as increase the efficiency of the process.
 

butcher

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Since the process was not energy efficient and consumed large amounts of energy for such a little production and the process was gradually replaced almost a century ago for more efficient processes such as the combination of Haber's and Ostwald's processes, and or the methane and steam processes.
Just maybe you can use some new technology, and or maybe you can gain a better understanding of the process and its problems than could all of those men which worked on the problem before you, or possibly reinvent the wheel and make it roll better, I personally would not give up my day job over the project, but it would be fun to play with on a small scale just for the fun and experience.
 

blackwolf365

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Oh I won't be giving up my day job at all. But it will provide me with something to do. As for power, I figure a fair sized array of solar cells would be abgood start point as I don't plan on a large setup. I am figuring on a rather small setup to experiment with. Something about the size if a toastidios dip jsr. If not smaller.
 

butcher

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You can also find others who have done the experimenting with some sparks on a small scale here.
http://sciencemadness.org/talk
 

Quiklearner

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I built my reactor in April 2020 and it ran 24 hours a day, almost non-stop for a full year. It produced approximately 22L of ~40% Nitric acid that I have been using for e-waste gold recovery/refining.

It certainly isn't the most efficient, as Butcher says, but it works. Nitric is stupidly expensive where I live so this was a viable option for me. I have some pictures somewhere and can post them if there is interest.
 

Jado

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You could probably make more nitric by removing your catalytic converter from your V8 engine and bubbling your truck exhaust gases through water
I’ve been contemplating this for years
 

olawlor

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Here's a pic of the setup. She worked good.
Very impressive! Is there a microwave oven transformer behind the left arc shield, run in series with its own capacitor to limit the arc current?

I've successfully made a few mL of nitric with much cruder setups based around a neon sign transformer, but the ozone produced alongside the NOx was very hard on the many seals, and issues with electrode heating and wear kept me from running it for more than a few hours at a time. The resulting nitric was efffective at dissolving metals like copper or silver (perhaps helped by dissolved ozone?).

The combination of high voltage, NOx gas, and ozone definitely requires some care to make a safe and reliable setup.
 

Quiklearner

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Thanks olawlor!

No MOTs in this design. I used a ZVS circuit to drive an old CRT Flyback transformer, generating HV for the arc which was measured at 6200V. A variable DC power supply controlled the overall power of the arc.

HDPE, Teflon and Stainless Steel are about the only readily available materials I could find that were resistant to the corrosive conditions. Gasket sealing the electrical and gas passthroughs were particularly challenging.

Your setup sounds like where mine started from. I went through 2 iterations at a small scale before arriving at the configuration in the pic I posted. Each time, I identified failure points and serviceability issues that I improved upon. I settled on using lengths of heavy gauge copper wire for electrodes and stainless hardware in a "Jacobs Ladder" configuration mainly to minimize heat issues in the immediate area of the arc. I changed the electrodes 3 times in the year that it ran due to oxides building up on the surface causing erratic arc behaviour.

The gaseous output of the system was bubbled through 2 sodium hydroxide "scrubbers". Routine testing of the 2nd scrubber for pH increase let me know when there was a decrease in NO2 absorption, signalling the completion of a batch.

As far as safety, my next generation (if I ever need to restart this thing) will definitely include an indicator on the HV side to indicate HV is present. On one occasion, and one occasion only, my hand reached towards the electrode connections and I quite literally had lightning coming out of my fingers. No joke, true story!
 

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