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Moisture absorbers

Posted on Poppers Guide's Forum

Topic created by Father
on Wed, 13 Jul 2022 at 19:44

Father said on Wed, 13 Jul 2022 at 19:44...

I added small white and transparent balls (he same are in the top cap in the tablets) to isoamyl and the white ones started to fizz out and turned into a beer color.
Apparently, these little balls are inert and do not react chemically but smell of the product changed to an intense unpleasant pungent/acrid, what it comes from?
Has there been any chemical reaction?

The Professor said on Wed, 13 Jul 2022 at 20:32...


there are two types of adsorbent that are commonly used to keep poppers dry. Activated Alumina (usually hard white balls) and Molecular seive (usually softer, tan colored clay-like balls)

They typically 'fizz' a bit when added to a wet product.

I don't know of any reaction that might cause a pungent /acrid aroma from either; the balls might not have been adsorbers.

An acrid/pungent aroma is usually caused by decomposition acids (like Formic acid, the wiki covers them); they can be neutralized


Father said on Wed, 13 Jul 2022 at 21:16...

What I used was Silicon Dioxide/Silicon oxide (SiO2) Transparent balls and Calcium chloride (CaCl2) white balls, that probably changed the smell.
I might add that the smell is also slightly acidic.
Maybe it started to oxidize?

Father said on Wed, 13 Jul 2022 at 21:41...

Up. The nitrite was fresh and strong

The Professor said on Wed, 13 Jul 2022 at 22:32...

Neither will do very much to stabilize or preserve poppers. Silicon dioxide does aBsorb moisture, but it doesn't aDsorb it, which is what you want.

ADSORBED water is sequestered away from interacting with the nitrite; it gets stuck in the pores of either activated alumina, or 3 angstrom molecular seive.

ABSORBERS (like silicon dioxide and other dessicants) absorb moisture like a sponge; it's all in one location, but can interact with the nitrite because the H2O isn't stuck to the material.
Calcium Chloride also doesn't sequester water, it just attracts it.

That's the one that likely interacted with the nitrite and made it smell acrid.

Father said on Wed, 13 Jul 2022 at 23:14...

Thank you for your response 🙂

Father said on Thu, 14 Jul 2022 at 03:39...

I conducted an experiment and I used hydrogen peroxide. Everything was buzzing, but the product retained power, It looks slightly greenish and has a faint and delicate odor, all the unpleasant smell was gone.
The hydrogen peroxide changed color on orange
For the experiment I used baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. What chemical reaction could have happened there?

Father said on Thu, 14 Jul 2022 at 14:58...

Maybe the turbulence was caused by a combination of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda
If he reads it, professor, please give me your opinion

Father said on Thu, 14 Jul 2022 at 15:00...

Up. Turbulence/Puzzling/Outrage

Father said on Thu, 14 Jul 2022 at 15:02...

Up. Buzzing/ruffle

Father said on Thu, 14 Jul 2022 at 15:07...

but the combination of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda alone does not cause bubbling
This effect can only be achieved with nitrite

The Professor said on Thu, 14 Jul 2022 at 17:05...

Baking soda and hidden peroxide (the 3% stuff, not full strength) makes a pretty good toothpaste. It should foam a bit.

Also good for toenail fungus, but not very good at doing much worth Alkyl nitrites. It liberates oxygen which destroys poppers.

The green and orange colors I haven't seen personally. There are several decomposition chemicals that could be interacting, but nothing that makes such pretty colors that I can think of off the top of my head.

Father said on Thu, 14 Jul 2022 at 17:59...

Thank you, You're right In total, half of the product has evaporated but the bad smell was gone.
From what I can find, three different acids are used to make nitrite, which one is the best? Or does it depend on alcohol?

Anonymous said on Thu, 14 Jul 2022 at 18:58...

@Father...there's been an open debate on here about which acid is best. You are just going to have to choose the one you want to try first based on whatever gut instincts you have.

The Professor said on Thu, 14 Jul 2022 at 19:08...

The wiki has an overview of the prep. It covers a liquid phase batch process.

Preparation (overview)
In order to achieve the generic formula, 2ROH + 2NO + 1/202 <-> 2RONO + H20, we need a source of:

Methyl groups (R) (CH3) (from a chosen aliphatic alcohol)

Hydrogen cations (H) (from dissociation of a strong acid (HCL))

Nitrite anions (N02) (from dissociated sodium nitrite (NaNO2)

The reaction is actually quite simple. Reactants are introduced to a solvent medium (H2O) and dissociate into cations
and anions; the ions then re-combine to produce the desired compound. The following example uses n-Butyl alcohol
and Hydrochloric acid (the reaction is actually a two stage process).

Butyl alcohol=C4H10O
Hydrochloric acid=HCL
Sodium Nitrite=NaNO2
distilled water=H2O

1) HCL + NaNO2 = HNO2 (nitrous acid) + NaCL (table salt)
2) HNO2 + C4H10O = C4H9NO2 (butyl nitrite) + H2O (water).

The acid used needs to be a source of hydrogen ions, at a density of 12.3. the two most suitable are hydrochloric and sulfuric.
Both will work, the rule of thumb being that chemists usually prefer to work with HCL because it's cleaner to use (both should be used with appropriate PPE and a vapor hood or similar), while sulfuric is often used in industry because it's less expensive

A key to success would be too isolate the strong acid from the alcohol, particularly with sulfuric, as it can scorch the alcohol, and there's no need to expose the alcohol to such strong acids.

A third acid might be HNO2, which is a weak acid that comes from strong HCL falling apart into H and Cl ions. The CL ions are waste and will later bind with sodium ions to make table salt.
The H ions will bind with NO2 ions from the NaNO2 powder to make HNO2 (nitrous acid) which is what binds with the alcohol to make the popper.

I prefer 37% HCL, which I dilute down to about 22% or so.

If you get into making, and want to use sulfuric, a magnetic stir bar won't have enough torque to keep the bar spinning as a by-product of using sulfuric acid will be sodium sulfate (a thick white slight that will bog down a magnetic stirrer), you'd probably need to use an overhead stirrer instead (even an electric driver/drill with a paddle attached would work fine)

The by-product of using HCL is sodium chloride (table salt) and it doesn't interfere with a magnetic stirrer.

Father said on Thu, 14 Jul 2022 at 19:30...

Thank you for the extensive and detailed answer

The Professor said on Thu, 14 Jul 2022 at 19:55...


Instead of relying on gut instincts, here's some info on the two acids.

Both are a great source of H ions as they almost fully dissociate in water.

HCL is a weak reducing agent
H2SO4 is an strong oxidizer

HCL had no hydroxyl groups
H2SO4 has two hydroxyl groups

Personally, I'd rather work with a reducer than an oxidizer when prepping an Alkyl nitrite.

Also, with two hydroxyl groups, sulfuric is just being to react work all the sodium floating around to create caustic NaOH (lye)

Next, in a residential environment I'd rather not add sulfates to the municipal water supply, which you'll be doing with sulfuric acid.

Sulfuric is so desiccating that it will burn through living tissue and will scorch the alcohol.) If you prep in an environment that guarantees un-reacted alcohol, the aroma will be different. Aroma isn't really a good indicator; Alkyl nitrites do have an aroma, but it is very faint. Most of the variance in reported Aromas come from the un-reacted alcohol. Using sulfuric will give the product a 'roasted' like aroma. (the closest example I can think of is the taste of un-roasted almonds vs roasted, slightly more mellow).

I mentioned dealing with sodium sulfate sludge previously.

Taken into consideration, it appears that HCL has more positives than negatives for this prep

The Professor said on Thu, 14 Jul 2022 at 19:55...

No problem, enjoy!

Anonymous said on Thu, 14 Jul 2022 at 20:34...

wow...such a long dissertation on the merits of HCl versus sulfuric. Almost sounds planned. Hmmmm...but what wasnt addressed is why so many formulas, devised by actual professional chemists, call for sulfuric acid and not HCl, if HCl is so clearly better. Hmmmm...here's where the instincts have to be used. Does one follow an anonymous stranger on an online forum....or should published chemists be followed?

Anonymous said on Thu, 14 Jul 2022 at 20:38...

Should one always do what is easiest and cheapest? Or should one do what produces a better quality product if it costs more and is a bit harder? Gut instincts again. Also, priorities...if the priority is ease, cost and the quality of product isn't very important...then by all means....use HCl. That's what everyone else seems to be doing. And that's probably one reason I stopped buying retail poppers long ago.

Anonymous said on Thu, 14 Jul 2022 at 20:43...

I would say.....if quality matters most, then try both acids....and compare for yourself. But make certain to use a valid formula for both ways. It might take a few brews using each acid before the better acid becomes apparent. It's the same with the alcohols....try them all independently of one another ONCE you find the better acid and decide for oneself. They certainly have significant differences.

Anonymous said on Thu, 14 Jul 2022 at 20:50...

It's true that sulfuric acid requires a stronger/different mixing device, BUT for brews using up to 50 mls alcohol, it's sufficient to stir manually with a rod that won't be affected by acid. So one doesn't have to invest in a more expensive mixing device, just for small brews or for an occasional 50 mls brew.

The Professor said on Thu, 14 Jul 2022 at 21:22...

I believe that one should undergo the procedure in a manner that most suits a pure product. That's almost guaranteed to be HCL over sulfuric in ANY prep, not just Alkyl nitrites.

As a member of a residential community, I also recognize the ecological advantages of HCL.

I have tried both, and HCL wins, no contest.

Of course your mileage may vary, I'm only providing info on cost-benefit analysis, which prefers HCL for the reasons I mentioned above.

Take the time to understand the process Ken, and you'll notice that chemists in the 1900s used sulfuric, and modern chemists tend to use HCL: both will do the trick, but sulfuric has more detriments than advantages.

Rather than hovering over the poor with a glass rod, a simple e drill driver or mixer can be set and left alone; no need to expose yourself to poisonous fumes just to get the thing stirred. A drill driver isn't expensive, it's probably free if you already have one.

It's not a matter of a random guy promoting HCL out of the blue, it's a case of an actual chemist providing rational information to interested makers.

Nitritespecialist said on Thu, 14 Jul 2022 at 21:52...

It's an absolute LIE that HCl is proven to be better at producing an ester. The Professor included an Italian link where in order to for the REAL CHEMISTS to make a reference standard of the various alkyl nitrites, they used SULFURIC acid. This was in the 1990s, I believe not 1900.

The published, tried and true, peer reviewed, William Noyes method used sulfuric acid and never once did he suggest HCl as an alternative. It was year 1933, which is during the modern chemistry revolution. It's a simple ester prep, it's not rocket science.

BUT, for any would be brewer, try both. Don't believe online strangers. The Professor certainly is only pushing ONE and ONLY ONE way EVER. He almost has a patent...on his WikiLinks now....sarcasm intended.

In my vast expereince, I know that sulfuric acid produces a better product. BUT don't believe me....use both acids and try for oneself. I am sure some may like HCl better, simply because it's easier to stir the pot and they don't give a crap about odor, or arti-factual effects.

FatherFuckMe.... said on Thu, 14 Jul 2022 at 21:57...

Hmmmmmm....the Professor certainly was pushing HCl as the only acid any rational person would choose. He didn't even want anyone to seriously try it for themselves. Hmmmmmmm.....really pushing that agenda HARD...real HARD!!!

Anonymous said on Thu, 14 Jul 2022 at 21:58...

@Father....try which acid?

FatherFuckMe.... said on Thu, 14 Jul 2022 at 22:01...

Oops......well it goes without saying....the Professor has always pushed HCl.....the day the stir bar bogged down with sulfuric acid...he got a brain fart and said to himself...OMG...I discovered the holy grail of acids...HCl....I can keep my mag stir device after all. And I will spread the gospel to all popper fuck ups, telling them that HCl and butyl/isobutyl are the absolute ONLY poppers and acid worth even thinking about.

Nitritespecialist said on Thu, 14 Jul 2022 at 22:04...

Oh yeah...and the truth of the matter is normal amyl nitrite(normal pentyl nitrite, a synonym) and sulfuric acid make the best overall popper. BUT, this doesn't mean some people will like isobutyl, butyl nitrite more....or that some people won't give a shit if HCl is used instead of sulfuric. Only people who are very very discriminating about the drugs they inhale are going to care.

The Professor said on Thu, 14 Jul 2022 at 22:20...

I thought you left this forum with a full belly...... I Guess you were also lying about that, no surprise.

Anonymous said on Fri, 15 Jul 2022 at 13:45...

@Professor....can you cite your published references for all that your espouse about alkyl nitrite preparation?

Or is everyone just supposed to take your word???

The Professor said on Fri, 15 Jul 2022 at 15:32...

Ken, I've already done that, just a few months ago, and it started your current melt down when you faced the fact that you've been chasing your own tail for over a decade, trying to 'pin down' the aroma of various stages of oxidized alcohol's.

Anonymous said on Sat, 16 Jul 2022 at 22:33...

No Thomas you never cited one single reference except the Italian study where they used sulfuric acid to make a reference study.

The Professor said on Sun, 17 Jul 2022 at 00:25...

Ken, I know you read the dissertation I posted explaining why a reversible, exothermic positive pressure reaction is most suited to as low a temperature and high a pressure as possible; you balked anything that doesn't suit your agenda, and now you are seeking to waste my time.

You are NOT wasting my time; I don't engage YOU. I provide information
that i've found throughout the world that's relevant to alkyl nitrite preparation to those interested.

I DON't and won't respond directly to your demands for references, as you're just trying to waste my time.

Father said on Tue, 19 Jul 2022 at 08:20...

Today or tomorrow for research purposes I will describe two proven methods of producing nitrite from sulfuric acid and from HCl
Both acids are good, but with sulfuric acid is more work to clean the product

Buttfistee said on Tue, 13 Sep 2022 at 08:37...

@ professor you made the claim, the burden of proof falls to you. Also your aimless babbling is not a dissertation.

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