DIY alcohol

An integral part of any long trip is a bonfire. Tourists often use dry fuel for quick ignition. However, if a tourist chemist goes on a hike, then in his arsenal for ignition there is something more interesting - solid alcohol. It looks like this:

It will be discussed in this article. I note that only the name combines this substance with alcohol - we will verify this later. Now let's cook it!

Will need

As chemical reagents we will use what can be easily found on the shelves.

So, for the preparation of solid alcohol we need:

  • Acetic acid 70%, sold in grocery stores;

  • Natural chalk - in shops for a summer residence;

  • Medical alcohol 95% or isopropyl alcohol - in a pharmacy or in a car shop, respectively.

We also need some water and disposable (or chemical) dishes for the experiment itself, and rubber gloves. In no case, after completing the experiments Do not use any of the above for food!

As a measuring cup, you can use a 200 ml plastic cup.

Let's start making dry alcohol

First, add 60 ml of acetic acid and 125 ml of water to the flask.

Now we add chalk in small portions to the resulting solution. Gas bubbles begin to stand out, while it is important to constantly stir the solution so that they have time to burst.

The total consumption of chalk will be 42 grams, but it should be added until it ceases to dissolve.

Consider the chemical reaction of the process:

This is a neutralization reaction.

The first substance is acetic acid. The second is calcium carbonate, which is found in chalk. The result of this reaction is carbon dioxide, water and calcium acetate. This substance is poorly soluble in water, therefore, during the experiment, the solution may harden in front of the eyes:

In this case, you need to add a little water and continue the experiment.

When the acid does not remain in the solution, the reaction will stop. Let him stand still.

After some time, excess chalk will settle to the bottom, since by itself it is insoluble in water. Now filter the solution:

I used a paper filter, you can also use a cotton pad.

The filtered solution has a yellowish tint; it is a more or less pure solution of calcium acetate. Pour a small amount into another container and pour a little alcohol. A jelly-like mass begins to form:

Or a lighter shade:

Congratulations, we got the hard alcohol! In fact, calcium acetate, due to the presence of alcohol, which we added, began to precipitate in the form of monohydrate; for alcohol tends to displace the salts of divalent metals from the solution, which we observe.

Now with our hands (always wearing gloves!) We give our jelly the shape of a cube or a ball.

At a temperature of 160 degrees Celsius, calcium acetate decomposes, in particular - into easily combustible substances, which contribute to further decomposition and support the flame.

A piece of this size can burn up to six minutes, which is a pretty good result. And two pieces are enough to make tea for one person. As a result of the experiment, a sufficient amount of calcium acetate was obtained, which means that it will last for a long time.


After manufacture, we place the solid alcohol of the required form in a hermetically sealed container and boldly take it with us on a camping trip. And on this, this article came to an end. Have a nice trip!

PS Also, colorless crystals of a needle-shaped form can be grown from calcium acetate, but this is a completely different story ...