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Sodium nitrite oxidation

Posted on Poppers Guide's Forum

Topic created by Nitritespecialist
on Wed, 30 Dec 2020 at 18:51

Nitritespecialist said on Wed, 30 Dec 2020 at 18:51...

I have searched the net for information regarding the rate of oxidation of sodium nitrite to nitrate, but I haven't been successful. Certainly, there is literature that says it does oxidize "slowly" to nitrate when exposed to air/O2. General Chemical out of Syracuse, NY states that it has a shelf life, when properly stored, (and unopened I assume), of at least 3 years. It says it can clump within 6 months, if it doesn't contain an anti-caking agent, but that the clumping alone will not change the purity. General Chemical includes lot numbers that code for the date of manufacture, which gives some clues as to how "fresh" and "pure" any shipment might be. General Chemical, a maker of sodium nitrite, says that there are two basic grades, divided into 7 subgrades. The grades are more or less interchangeable for most applications. The food grade is certified to meet certain standards that dictate levels of heavy metals especially. Technical grade is similar but doesn't need to be certified for use in food. It is my finding that sodium nitrite does indeed oxidize to nitrate, and eventually, at some unknown percentage, will not produce good, sweet smelling alkyl nitrites. It is the key ingredient that is most likely to cause both good or bad poppers.

PJ said on Sat, 2 Jan 2021 at 08:04...

Any chance of a lay-man's precis of this? It sounds interesting, but I am unsure what it means apropos the quality of the end product.

Nitritespecialist said on Sat, 2 Jan 2021 at 22:19...

It means that reagent quality matters to the end product, especially if distillation is not used to increase purity.

There are many ways to produce alkyl nitrites(poppers), but more recent patents are claiming that high purity nitrites, without distilling, can be made using certain liquid phase mixing techniques. They are claiming that 20C or about 68F is an optimum reaction temp that should be maintained using heat exchangers. They are claiming that continuous flow of the 3 different reagents coming into the reaction chamber at a predetermined rate and then overflowing away is a good way to make nitrites 98-100% pure.

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