How can I produce Boric Acid from Borax and Sulfuric Acid

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How can I produce Boric Acid from Borax and Sulfuric Acid

Postby bali on September 6th, 2006, 6:23 am 

I am in desperate need of some help.
I currently use boric acid H3BO3 to treat wood carvings and djembes. The cost of boric acid in Bali Indonesia is high and I have found that it can be made from Borax Na2B4O7•10H2O and sulfuric acid H2SO4 which are quite inexpensive and really available here. I know from the basics that I have in Chemistry that just adding borax to sulfuric acid is going to create heat and gas so I am looking for some direction so that I do not go into this process blindly. Any help in this matter will be greatly appreciated and very possibly rewarded
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so

Postby graemhoek on September 6th, 2006, 8:41 am 

I've only ever used sulfuric acid on wood engravings, it hydrolozes the beta bonds in the cellulose rather effectively. Have you tried it?
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Postby jc__denton on September 6th, 2006, 9:40 am 

From Encyclopaedia Britannica:

http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Boric_Acid

"In small quantities, it may be prepared by the addition of concentrated sulphuric acid to a cold saturated solution of borax."

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so

Postby graemhoek on September 6th, 2006, 2:21 pm 

Yeah... just do it stepwise and don't stick your face over the container.
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Postby BioWizard on September 6th, 2006, 2:26 pm 

Remember, if you need to dilute H2SO4 make sure to add acid to the water and NOT water to the acid.
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so

Postby graemhoek on September 6th, 2006, 2:35 pm 

You can supersaturate a solution of borax in water by heating to about 90 degrees celsuis (Try not to boil it... it gets messy and this lessens the fumes which aren't known to be harmful but are thought to be, it is not flammible, to my knowledge) and adding small quantities of solid borax. Start with 100 ml of water and you should be able to dissolve up to 15 grams in it (at least 5).

Then chill the solution and add sulfuric acid dropwise. Monitor the pH and the temperature. Sulfuric acid hydrating gives off heat so the temp will rise as you add the acid to the water. This is why you should add slowly and keep it away from your bare skin and eyes. Wear goggles...

Adding calcium might precipitate out the sulfate when you're done and help push the reaction in the direction you want. I'm trying to think if it would also react with the boric acid... I don't think it would but I'm going to consult my merck index.
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Postby Silkworm on September 6th, 2006, 5:56 pm 

If you're new at this make caution your best friend. Sulfuric acid can be some pretty nasty stuff. Definitely wear goggles that effectively cover your eyes.

Graem's advice is right on, and I think adding calcium will make things easier, unless Merck says something different.

Where did you hear about using Boric Acid on wood carvings?
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Thank you

Postby bali on September 6th, 2006, 8:04 pm 

Thank you all very much for your replies they are greatly appreciated! I will try this and then get back with the results.

Q: I've only ever used sulfuric acid on wood engravings, it hydrolozes the beta bonds in the cellulose rather effectively. Have you tried it?
A: No, I am going to try to make some boric acid this weekend and when I have the sulfuric acid out I will give it a try.

Q: Where did you hear about using Boric Acid on wood carvings?
A: Originally the idea came from a text that I found stating that borax was used in the 1700’s to treat the wood used in boats. I looked though a few hundred sites over the last couple of years and have been able to find a few more references to borax and boric acid being used for fire retarding materials, fungicide, and wood boring pest control.
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so

Postby graemhoek on September 6th, 2006, 11:36 pm 

That's about right. Sulfuric acid will burn into wood and etch it. Boric acid will preserve it. Good luck and be careful.
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Re: How can I produce Boric Acid from Borax and Sulfuric Aci

Postby redwhitechem on June 8th, 2016, 1:05 am 

Boric acid is used in the manufacture of heat-resistant glass, in insecticides, and in the soap-making process. When borax is a chemical compound commonly found in household cleaning products. H2SO4 acid which is very strong acid produced by dissolving sulphur trioxide in water.
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