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Readers Respond: Chemicals and Where to Find Chemicals

Responses: 32


If you're not a chemist, you may have trouble finding some chemicals for chemistry experiments and projects. There are a lot of chemicals that are commonly available, but usually they aren't labelled with a chemical name so you might not recognize them. Have you found a good source of chemicals or do you know of pure compounds that are sold as common household chemicals? If so, share your information with others. Share Your Finds

manganese oxide and lithium metal

can be removed from some large rechargeable batterys (usualy they are labeled)
—Guest xyyx

Manganese Dioxide

Inside batteries, wash the impurities out and let the MnO2 settle at the bottom, pour the solution out leaving the manganese dioxide behind, and boil it off. Not sure if it's pure, but it's good enough
—Guest Mr. Eva

Various chemicals

There are a variety of small-scale suppliers of various chemicals on eBay.
—Guest Frank


Strontium Barium and Cobalt Carbonate can be found at pottery suppliers.
—Guest Anonymous

Sodium salts

Sodium bisulfate (NaHSO4) and sodium carbonate (Na2CO3) can both be found at Walmart as pH changing chemicals in the pool and garden section at Walmart.
—Guest Magic_mav

Chlorine gas

can be made by mixing Ammonia And Bleach, which can be found at Wal-mart
—Guest anonymous


Inside Thermometers - a meter that helps you read the temperature in Degrees Celsius and usually, Degrees Fahrenheit.
—Guest Anomynous

Americum dioxide

You can get a basic alpha source of radiation from your smoke detector.
—Guest Jon Ashley

Potassium nitrate

Spectracide stump remover granules, which go for about 6 USD for 1 lb (453 grams), are almost 100% pure potassium nitrate.
—Guest LanthanumK

Potassium permanganate

Sold at most agriculture and livestock stores. Do not know about preservatives or additives to the product.
—Guest science

Where to find chemicals

HMS Beagle (www.hms-beagle.com, 180 English Landing Drive, Suites 110 & 120, Parkville, MO 64152) offers over 600 chemicals for home experimenters. Most are ACS reagent grade.
—Guest Fishman Jack

Do not boil battery acid

Boiling 40% sulphuric acid from a car battery is a very good way to strip every surface the steam touches, including your lungs.
—Guest Guest91956

Sodium Hydroxide (caustic soda, lye)

Found as drain openers (although often with contamination in the form of aluminium granules and sodium salts). Some paint supply shops sell them in the form of pellets as paint stripper (this is usually pure sodium hydroxide).
—Guest krys

Copper sulfate & Sulfuric acid

Copper sulfate can be found as root kill, usually 99% purity, also Rooto makes sulfuric acid drain cleaner that is almost lab grade with no inhibitors.
—Guest praseodymium

an excellent source for quality chemical

The web site United Nuclear Scientific Supply sells many ACS reagent grade chemicals in small quantities. The amounts are small enough to be classified as ORM-D, so there are no hazmat charges for shipping. I have ordered there several times and am very satisfied with their service.
—Guest mhanes

Share Your Finds

Chemicals and Where to Find Chemicals

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