chemistry, anyone?

Discussion in 'Community' started by mcadam, Feb 21, 2005.

  1. mcadam macrumors 6502a

    mcadam

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    #1
    Hello there


    A question: What should I add to bee wax to make it more soft?

    First I tried to add oil. This gives it a very interesting texture and consistency - somewhat like hard vaseline or something. When you press it it's hard (and greasy) at first and then smashes... very nice, but not what I wanted...

    Then I tried lemon juice. This made the wax slightly harder. A more plastic like consistency than before. Also nice, but...

    Then I thought acid makes it hard - so if I add some base, in my case milk, it's gonna do the opposite. But no. The milk just gathered on the bottom as the wax cooled of.


    Any suggestions? I've got an entire kitchen at my disposal for the experiments.

    A
     
  2. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

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    #2
    Heat.

    sorry, I couldn't resist. Besides, it is true.
     
  3. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

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    #3
    What are you trying to do with the beeswax? Make it into polish? Or candles? Or lip balm?

    IIRC, you can use turpentine to soften beeswax although it takes some time to break down (24-48 hours rather than minutes!). The more you add the softer/creamier it gets.

    What kind of oil were you adding? I think it may have to be warm before it's added to the beeswax but this won't make it stay creamy. It does tend to solidify again.
     
  4. mcadam thread starter macrumors 6502a

    mcadam

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    #4
    It's an architectural project. So far it's just experiments with texture and consistensies. I'm casting lots of egg-like objects, pouring stuff into a mold, shaking, pouring out again. This way I get thin shells. I'm using wax, chocolate, plaster, soap and latex. By repeating the above method the shells contain layers of the different materials, with each their different tactile and structural qualities.

    That sounds very interesting, but I don't think I understand how it should be mixed - put the stuff together and let the turpentine dissolve the wax, or...?!?
    So far I've just melted the wax and then added the other stuff! And then let it cool down!
    This process is kind of important to my project, since I need to do casts with it.


    I just used normal vegetable oil from sunflower seeds. It mixed with the wax completely without problems. But perhaps the reason the milk didn't, was that it was cold when I poured it into the wax?!

    Thanks a lot for now... I guess I'll play around with some turpentine tonight :) but any further explanations and suggestions would be very appreciated.

    A
     
  5. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

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    #5
    Pretty much. You flake/slice up the beeswax, pour in the turps and give it a stir every so often.

    I did come across this page of beeswax uses

    Not sure it will be useful in your casts tho.

    Another few interesting options to 'cast' might be sugar or fruit. I read an article a few days ago about fruit leather which might cast. Basically, you stew down fruit (rhubarb) and then put it into a fine mould and bake it for several hours at a very low heat, you then end up with a flexible fruit 'leather'.
     
  6. MongoTheGeek macrumors 68040

    MongoTheGeek

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    #6
    Wax is a string of 50 ish carbon chains in a row with hydrogens sticking off. The shorter the chain the more liquid and runny the liquid is. When you mix 2 different ones you get something that doesn't behave in a uniform manner.

    If you want to actually try breaking up the chains some go for better base. lye or at the very least baking soda.

    Milk has to many other things in it that will just do odd things.

    If you want some other things to cast there is shortening. (which might give better results mixed with the wax than oil.) You could also find recipes for sugar casting. Its pretty much egg white and cane sugar. Its used for easter egg dioramas.

    edit:
    hmm.. this recipe has no egg, just sugar and water.
    http://www.hgtv.com/hgtv/ah_entertaining_other/article/0,,HGTV_3116_1387477,00.html
     
  7. mcadam thread starter macrumors 6502a

    mcadam

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    #7
    wow, mongo - that's what I call proper expert advice... Now I'll just have to find out what exactly lye is and where to get it (in Denmark), otherwise baking soda will have to do. I think I'll start with that since I've allready got some.
    I wonder what is the proper way to the base - I guess I'll just mix a small amount into the melted wax!?

    Thank you very much :)(and hooray for macrumors - the forum that sees all and knows all)

    A
     
  8. MongoTheGeek macrumors 68040

    MongoTheGeek

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    #8
    Lye aka potassium hydroxide aka caustic potash, commonly used in drain cleaner.
    Essentially what the lye does is it converts some of the was into soap.

    Ponders how ever learned anything in chemistry while lusting after a pair of amazonian twins...
     
  9. Nickygoat macrumors 6502a

    Nickygoat

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    #9
    Better known as lud in Denmark - you can find it in most hardware/ DIY stores. Probably under the floor cleaner section. This is as much info as I could get my from my girlfriend before she collapsed into hysterics and told me I was a sad git who should do something else ;) Jyske eh?
     
  10. saabmp3 macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    Pure lye can be some pretty nasty stuff. And when I say 'pretty nasty', think, burn your skin and turn the fat on your skin into soap. They did a good example of it in Fight Club, but, unlike most movies where the special effects are really overdone and exaggerated, they were very realistic in this one. It can be quite painful.

    BEN
     
  11. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

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    #11

    So kids -- don't try this at home...
     
  12. mcadam thread starter macrumors 6502a

    mcadam

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    #12
    Amazing what this forum can do - even translate "lye" into Danish.

    Cleaned the drain in our shower once with that stuff, it was almost scary... In Norway they even use it for cooking their traditional christmas fish dish -
    lutefisk

    Anyway - I just tried with baking soda, and guess what IT WORKED, woohooo :D The wax's got a completely different consistency now. Like soft plastic. Very, very nice, can't wait to use it...

    Mongo - glad you didn't have more succes with those twins...
    Nicky - Tell your girlfriend that she can run and jump, or you'll find yourself a copenhagener

    Thanks again

    A
     
  13. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

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    #13

    MmMmm... The way you describe it, I can almost taste it.

    Sounds like Lutefisk is off my menu, along with Worcester Sauce crisps...

    :D
     
  14. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

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    #14
    Hmm, I was offered lutefisk once but after reading Garrison Keillor in my youth, the thought was too off putting.

    I actually found some on Saturday (along with some beeswax candles) at the Borough Market but decided that the chorizo & rocket sandwich followed by scallops a little later were a better option. What a relief! ;)
     
  15. firewire2001 macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    Try a Shampoo with conditioner, honestly. I think it might work well.
     
  16. mcadam thread starter macrumors 6502a

    mcadam

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    #16
    How about natrium hydroxide? Anyone w any thoughts if that will do instead?

    (the baking soda leaves a lot of funny stuff at the bottom)

    A
     
  17. MongoTheGeek macrumors 68040

    MongoTheGeek

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    #17
    Probably. Not sure natrium is. The way the alkaline works is that it break about the carbon chains and makes soap.
     
  18. mcadam thread starter macrumors 6502a

    mcadam

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    #18
    Very good to hear... I will try it out tomorrow...

    A
     

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