Common chemicals

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]

Associate Editor-In-Chief: Cafer Zorkun, M.D., Ph.D. [2]

Table of Common Chemical Ingredients and Where to Find Them

Chemical Name Chemical Formula Common Name Where to Buy Specific Brand or Product
Acetic acid
CH3COOH + H2O 5% Solution: White Vinegar Grocery Store Any brand of white vinegar
Notes: Do not consume
Ammonium hydroxide
NH3 + H2O 10% Solution: Household Ammonia
27% Solution: Strong Ammonia
Grocery Store (for Household Ammonia)
Drug Store (for Strong Ammonia)
Notes: Combine Household Ammonia and Strong Ammonia with Water.
Boric acid
H3BO3 Boric Acid Drug Store None
Calcium Carbonate
CaCO3 Chunks: Marble, Limestone
Powder: Precipitated Chalk
Builder's Supplies (for Chunk)
Drug Store (for Powder)
Calcium Chloride
CaCl2 "Laundry Aid" or "Laundry Salt"
Road Salt
Grocery Store
Hardware Store
Notes: Many chemicals are used to melt snow. Make certain that if you purchase Road Salt it is pure Calcium Chloride.
Calcium hydroxide
Ca(OH)2 Slaked lime, Garden lime Hardware Store None
Calcium oxide
CaO Quicklime Builder's Supplies None
Calcium sulfate
(CaSO4) * H2O
CaSO4 * 2H2O
Plaster of Paris or
Hardware Store None
Caustic Soda
NaOH or KOH Detergent Grocery Store
Pool Cleaning Supplies
Notes: Caustic Soda is not a mixture. Make certain what you are using is 94-99% pure. Caustic Soda is a central to the manufacture of soap. Be extremely careful when mixing with acids.
C6H12O6 + H2O Corn Syrup Grocery Store None
Notes: For use in most formulas, the corn syrup should be dilluted with water, but the solution varies.
Hydrochloric acid
HCl + H2O 25% Solution: Muriatic Acid Hardware Store None
Magnesium sulfate
MgSO4 *7H2O Epsom Salt Drug Store None
Manganese dioxide
MnO2 Pyrolusite Hardware Stores None
Notes: Pyrolusite can be extracted from certain types of batteries, called dry cells, but its use is becoming rare.
C10H8 Moth balls Hardware Store None
Oxalic acid
H2C2O4 + 2H2O Non-chlorine bleach powder cleanser Grocery, Hardware, and Large Discount Stores Bar Keeper's Friend
Potassium nitrate
KNO3 Saltpeter Hardware Store, Garden Center, Grocery Store None
Notes: Potassium nitrate is used as stump remover, fertilizer, and meat preservative.
Sodium Bicarbonate
NaHCO3 Baking Soda Grocery Store Arm & Hammer
Notes: Be careful to use only single action baking soda when sodium bicarbonate is required. Baking soda is pure sodium bicarbonate, but baking powder has other ingredients, such as potassium tartrate and sodium monophosphate. Double Action Baking Powder contains single action baking powder, a 'high temperature acid' which is a gas formed at room temperature when moistened, and corn starch, which is added as a drying agent to prevent accidental activation.
Sodium chloride
NaCl Salt, Table Salt Grocery Store None
Sodium hydroxide
NaOH Caustic Soda, Lye Grocery Store Drano, crystalline granular drain cleaner
Notes: Keep out of eyes, can cause blindness.
Sodium potassium tartrate
NaKC4H4O6 * 4H2O Rochelle Salt Drug Store None
Sodium tetraborate
Na2B4O7 * 10H2O Borax Drug Stores, Laundry Aisle None
C12H22O11 Cane Sugar Grocery Store None
Zinc chloride
ZnCl2 + H2O Tinner's Fluid Hardware Store None
Notes: Also called "Killed acid," Zinc Chloride can be created by dissolving a small amount of zinc in Hydrochloric acid. Used for cleaning copper.


The Golden Book of Chemistry Experiments

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