How to make Zinc Hydroxide Zn(OH)₂ Mineral Crystal Particles with Carbon Rod in Electrolysis Cell

How to make Zinc Hydroxide Zn(OH)₂ Mineral Crystal Particles with Carbon Rod in Electrolysis Cell

Zinc is naturally present in rocks, soil, air, water, and the biosphere, as well as in plants, animals, and humans. In fact, zinc is essential to life as all organisms require it to survive and complete normal physiological functions.
Zinc hydroxide is not one of the famous minerals bonds. Zinc oxide and other zinc salts have much wider uses. However, zinc hydroxide mineral crystal particles are one of major use is as an absorbent in surgical dressings, rubber compounding. A layer of Zn(OH)2 will protect the zinc from corrosion, also protecting the underlying metal. Zinc hydroxide is insoluble for pH between 6,5 and 13 and in this range, the hydroxide will protect the zinc in water. Zinc hydroxide is slightly soluble in water, becoming more soluble as the pH or the water temperature is either lowered or raised. 

 

LEVEL: Basic, easy

PREPARATION TIME: 30 - 90 minutes

MATERIAL PRODUCED: Zinc Hydroxide in water solution

 

MATERIALS NEEDED:

  1. Carbon stick (graphite rod 99%)
  2. Pure metal Zn
  3. pH Meter
  4. Alligator clips
  5. Baking soda and white vinegar or HCl  for cleaning
  6. Kitchen pad (green scrub)
  7. Couple of Pegs
  8. Distilled water 5l with pH 7-8
  9. Pure Salt NaCl ( if you use other salts, it also change your result, because contain other minerals)
  10. Polypropylene glycol (PG)or cane sugar syrup
  11. Glass jars (Borosilicate jars are heat resistance glass recommended), household jars also could be used if it is the only option. I do not recommend to use any plastic as it could release some extra ions in solution. You can notice difference of water kept in plastic and glass bottle, glass is standard choice in any scientific lab)
  12. Stirrer (optional, for best results recommended) 
  13. Glass rod for stirring (recommended)m but also bamboo stick could be used
  14. Magnetic Stirrer (optional, but for best results is recommended)
  15. DC power supply 30V (highly recommended), can use solar cells batteries etc. 
  16. Funnels
  17. Stainless steel tea strainer
  18. Filter papers (brown coffee filter Melitta size 4 (20 μm) and slow filter paper 10 μm)
  19. Ceramic mortar with pestle (optional) use for powder preparation
  20. Protection gloves
  21. Respiration mask (3M, optional, but very recommended for personal safety)
  22. Strong alcohol (70-95%) for cleaning and disinfection of tools.                   

Step One

Prepare your glass jar with the fresh distilled water.
I use 800ml borosilicate jar.
You can use what fits into your options.

Please make sure you use cleaned tools whatever comes in touch with a prepared solution. Including air in a room!

Use strong alcohol as a cleaning agent!

Step Two

I pour 2ml of glycol (PG) or around 3ml of cane sugar syrup as an alternative in case if you have no access to glycol (PG). 

3 ml of PG on one liter of water.

The sugar molecules will surround each particles and keep separated from strong bond clustering.

Step Three

Ad a pure salt (NaCl) of 10gr to 1L of water and stirred very well till all salt is diluted.

Salt will function as an electrolyte in a solution.

Step Four

Start the electrolysis with carbon rod on one side as negative and on second side zinc rod as a positive electrode by attaching with pegs on glass jar edges.

Use your power supply in the range of 9 to 12 V around 0.50 amps.
I use this for my calculation and time to get my best results. Other settings and variations can be viable. So don't stick to a single method but rather be an observer and be in control of your electrolysis cell.

Please make sure alligator clips are not touching the water!

Step Five

Keep stirring time to time to avoid heavy cluster formation. If you use a magnetic stirrer then use it with full speed.
Insure the electrodes are far enough from each other at least few centimeters to avoid water heating in between electrodes it will create other unexpected results. 

Water should be at regular room temperature constant. Temperature or air change in your room can have different results.
Please read about the water here.

Run the cell up to 90 minutes. More you run your system will start form different fraction zinc bonds, like zinc carbonate or zinc oxide.

Please stick for some fixed time till zinc particles are fluffy and very cloudy!

Step Six

Stop the power supply and let settle for some few minutes. Electrodes are still energized and will still keep running until the energetic balance will take place in your cell.

Note: Mineral crystal particles will continue to be in spin and movement. Aggregation, clustering and different chemical bonds can have with the time. Think about a good preservation of your prepared materials in long term.

Step Seven

Once most particles settle on the button of the jar you can start washing off salinity.
Repeat multiple time at least 4 to 6 times. Be patient between each washing. Let particles sit down as possible you can. The tiniest particles will float much longer the bigger.

It is an issue with nano-particles with salty water what I will address later in coming proposals.

Step Eight

After rinsing is done, filtration is needed to to separate different grades (sizes) of particles.

First filtration with a metal filter to separate biggest cluster part after crystallization .
Second filtration should be done with a coffee filter in the range of 10 to 20 microns to separate larger particles from smaller particles.
Third filtration with lab paper filter of 10 microns.

You can further separate them by a centrifuge to get only nano scale particles of your plasma water.

Which chemical grade and sizes need to be determined as most appropriate for your project before you start this experiment all these steps. There is no magic wand that one grade can be applied to everything. High precision and awareness of what you are doing are your next steps to oneness and unity!

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