Buying iodine crystals in the United States is now regulated by the federal government, according to the National Drug Intelligence Center. This is part of an effort to curb the use of iodine crystals to manufacture methamphetamine. However, this has created a problem for those who participate in what is known as at-home chemistry, which is legal experimentation done by chemists. Iodine crystals have several legal uses, such as staining, disinfecting and organic synthesis. Because iodine is sold legally in liquid tinctures, iodine crystals can still be obtained through simple chemistry.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Lab coat
- Paper towels
- Several bottles of iodine tincture
- 1000ml glass measure
- Glass flask
- Distilled water
- Glass stirring rod
- Hydrochloric acid (muriatic acid)
- Bleach or hydrogen peroxide
- Cling film
- Rubber band
- Coffee filter or standard laboratory filter paper
- Rice or silica gel
Prepare your workspace for the experiment. Before doing anything else, put on your gloves, goggles and lab coat. Make sure there is adequate ventilation, as fumes tend to form. Cover up your workspace with an absorbent material such as paper towels and arrange all of your chemicals and glassware.
Measure out 473ml of liquid Iodine and pour it into your glass flask. Now slowly pour 2 cups of distilled water into the flask slowly, mixing with a glass stirring rod.
Measure and pour 30mL of hydrochloric acid into the glass flask and wait 20 minutes.
Measure 473ml of bleach or hydrogen peroxide and pour it into the glass flask while stirring. After pouring, cover the flask with cling film and seal with a rubber band. Leave it sealed for 12 hours.
Filter the liquid mixture through your filter into a new glass container. Take the filter and wrap it in three coffee filters. Then wrap the coffee filters in paper towel and squeeze as much liquid as possible out of the filters. Now place the coffee filters in a container of rice or silica gel, as this will absorb the remaining moisture.
Take the remaining liquid and add another 473ml of hydrogen peroxide or bleach. Filter this mixture again to retrieve the remaining iodine crystals. Treat and store the iodine as in the previous step. You should now have 40 to 50 grams of dry iodine crystals that are ready to use.
Tips and warnings
- Read the procedure all the way through before starting the experiment so that you do not make any mistakes.
- Follow the procedure slowly and carefully to ensure all steps are followed.
- Be sure to use common sense when handling hazardous chemicals and take all necessary precautions. If something does go wrong during the experiment you need to be prepared to address the problem immediately.
- If you ingest any iodine, induce vomiting and call a physician or a poison control centre. Amounts as low as 2 to 3 grams can kill an adult.
- Make sure to have adequate ventilation during the entire experiment and be sure to have paper towels lining anywhere the iodine could end up, as Iodine is a stain.
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