Producing Sodium Carbonate

Jan 2020
2
0
Mexico
Hello ppl
:)
amateur chemist here

Before I begin, I wanna ask if anyone here knows and is willing to teach me of a cheap, workable process to create sodium carbonate?

With that out of the way, I want to talk about how I recently become very interested in this useful chemical called sodium carbonate, since it has tons of practical uses (as glass and metallurgical flux, for the production of biodegradable soap, as a cleaning agent and to produce sodium bicarbonate, which is also extremely useful), and so I've decided to try and develop my own process to produce it... since the ones I'm most familiar with (Leblanc and Solvay), are too hard and costly for a DIY setup (except burning sea vegetation, but I don't live by the sea).

Reading about plant material (cellulose) combustion, I've learned that, the resulting CO2 creates a reductive environment, which enables the plant's nutrients to bind with the carbon and produce minerals such as calcite/aragonite (calcium carbonate) and potash (potassium carbonate), and also a bit of sodium carbonate (though the yield is pretty low).

For what I can gather from the Leblanc process:

Leblanc process - Wikipedia

Is that sulphuric acid is used on table salt, to dissociate the chlorine and then bind the sulphur to create sodium sulphate, which is a lot less stable than sodium chloride, allowing for another, easier dissociation of the sodium and sulphate (using mere combustion and a catching material i.e. calcium carbonate, to take the sulphur away), to bind the former with carbon (producing sodium carbonate) and the later with sulphur (producing calcium sulphide).

So I was thinking that, the main problem I've got here to tackle, is how to dissociate sodium from chloride, without any, all too fancy chemicals or processes, if possible. Since I've already been producing some coke (very pure charcoal) in a kiln, I've decided that, maybe, I could just dip my sodium chloride into some water, to dissociate the ions, drop coke dust into my salty water, then, drop my soaked, salty coke into a kiln full of incandescent, non-treated coke to evaporate the water and, hopefully, the chlorine as well (pure chlorine boiling point is -34.04 °C), leaving only sodium behind (while pure sodium's boiling point is 883 °C) in the highly reductive environment of my kiln (and maybe some trace potassium from the coke to create the mixture known as "soda ash").

You guys think this setup could work? And also, what test can I perform to tell me, I've indeed got ashes with a high sodium carbonate yield?

P.D: other potential processes I've thought up are:

1. Simply burning my table salt in a bloomery (more than 1000 °C), to try and dissociate the chloride (like ceramicists do to create salty glazings i.e. sodium silicate i.e. liquid glass).

2. Feeding common plants a lot of salty water till they die and then, burning their remains.