A quick sketch design for a few friends of mine with a sloping garden.
bleach, it will damage the dye in fabrics but more importantly it will kill a wide variety of pathogens.
This makes bleach a very important substance for modern settled life. For any settled life the abilbity to create bleach could be a life saving skill.
Surprisingly beach is quite easy to make, the process does release some hazardous gasses such as Hydrogen gas and Chlorine gas, but if done in a well vested area this should not be a problem.
Chlorine gas if exposed to an alkaline solution will produce hypochlorites.
Cl2 +H2O ==> ClO‾ + OH‾
NaCl + H20 ==> Cl2 + H2 + NaOCl
For this reaction, where the chlorine is formed is important as we want it to have a long path to the surface to react with the water, so the chlorine producing electrode should be close to the bottom of the electrolysis container.
The hydrogen gas we don’t care about to much, so the negative electrode is close to the surface.
<pic of chamber>
create chamber from plastic bottle
carbon graphite from a battery, larger in diameter is better.
wash to remove chemicals and plastics that may be on the surface, heating is an aceptable way to remove plastics.
Add to bottle cap by puncture. seal with candle wax.
the salt used should be NaCl, without added iodide which is common in some manufactured salt used for consumption.
some salt has anti caking agents, these should not cause a problem.
100 grams used
the water should be as clean as possible, distilled or rain water is preferred
1 liter used.
Impurities such as transition metals , copper, iron, manganese… will reduce the shelf life of the NaOCL
12V -24V DC
possible sources, car battery, solar panel, 8 x 1.5V batteries in series.
bubbles will form from both electrodes, a smell of chlorine will be detectable.
the water will become yellowish.
Use pool testing strips to test for chlorine levels.
2 to 3+ table spoons in 5 litres of water.
after about 20 minutes add another half a tablespoon of bleach to water.
Some slight smell of chlorine should be present in the water, a little stronger than domestic tap water smell.
pictures and experiment needed
citing and correcting source document. site owner has no operational email address
note the website link talks about charcoal , but actually means graphite.
Download a 2 page printable document bleach making flyer
Complaining will not make a bad situation better.
I went for a hike recently.
The brief for the journey was that we were to go about 3 km on mostly dirt roads to a creek.
The environment was dry Australian forest, mostly eucalyptus trees.
Thinking that the creek would be full of fresh water I foolishly didn’t take any water.
The journey was mostly down hill on the way there. The weather turned from warm to hot and humid.
The creek turned out to be a largely stagnant trickle. I had no way to purify the little water that was there.
Fortunately my companions had brought some water with them, but on the way back to camp we quickly ran out.
I was beginning to suffer the effects of dehydration and heat exhaustion. I felt very tired and even a few minutes walking was exhausting.
We stopped many times on the way back to the camp for me to recover some strength.
My friend asked me on the way back during one of our many stops ” What’s the most important thing for survival?”
Immediately I said “Knowledge”
Had I known the water in the creek was not drinkable I would have taken water.
Had I known the weather would become so hot and humid I would not have carried a jacket in my bag.
Once we had arrived back at camp we all drank lots of water and rested.
My friend commended me on not complaining about my obviously exhausting return journey.
I said ” Complaining never helps, so there’s not point in doing it”
He nodded knowingly.
Hearing the complaints of other people simply converts their problem into your problem.
It multiplies their irritation and makes that person your irritation.
One person complaining a lot can really destroy the morale of a group,
and then people will start arguing and fighting rather than attempting to solve the real problems they are being faced with.
So in the forest (or other places away from civilization) there will be hardships,
how you deal with them physically and emotionally is your choice.
Occasionally the person suffering will be you, it’s easy to ask people to not complain when you are not the person suffering.
When the suffering person is you, remember to not complain, you won’t be respected for your weaknesses, but you will be respected for being laconic.
A very useful substance.
Also called Condy’s crystals and Permanganate of potash.
Can be used to:
Add to a flammable substance that is a liquid, glycerine, oil,fat, a little water will help the fire start.
3 crystals per liter of water will sterilize the water.
Disinfectant for some skin infections.
A stronger solution will make a solution that will attack fungal and bacterial infections.
Keep in a well sealed container
Keep away from eyes
If contact is made with skin wash it off with water, brown stains (MnO2) on the skin are common, but will disappear in a few days without further incident.
can be purchased from pharmacies and often found in survival kits.
So after explaining how soap works and why washing in water alone will only remove some things from your clothes or yourself, lets look at how to make soap.
Soap is made from a chemical process called saponification.
Oil plus alkali becomes soap.
Depending on the type of oil an alkali used and how they are processed determines the type of soap produced.
The types of alkali
potassium (potash): these soaps tend to be liquid. Bracken ash
Sodium common soft soap. normal wood ash
calcium very hard soap. does not dissolve easily. mineral lime
the types of oils commonly used to make soap
This chart tells you how much alkali to add for each unit weight of fat/oil.
So for Almond, Sweet oil you will need 0.136 grams of NaOH per gram of this Oil to make soap.
If you are using multiple oils do the same calculation for each oil as though it were a separate soap and then add up all the alkali needed and add to final mixture.
The specific gravity is the density of this Oil relative to water (water = 1.000) hence anything less dense than water will float on water as almost all of these oils will do.
During the process of soap making you will either have too much oil or too much alkali.
Too much oil will make the soap greasy and too much alkali will be very harsh on the skin or material washed.
It generally better to have too much oil slightly as a bit greasy is better than very corrosive.
If you can do the numbers have 4-10% less lye than oil for optimal results.
Glycerine is a component of fatty acids and as the soap is produced the glycerine is produced.
too much glycerine will make the soap prone to converting to mush after its been left wet.
Try to experiment with removing the glycerine as the soap is made to get the right balance.
measure out quantities carefully.
Lye will get hot as you make it from Sodium hydroxide granules a shatter proof glass container is a good idea.
Heat the oil/fat until it is liquid and about 50C-60C and a similar temperature to the lye solution.
mix in an appropriate container, plastic containers are good, don’t use aluminum pots as they will react with the lye.
use blender to mix. 5-6 minutes should be enough.
pour into tray or muffin molds to set.
cover witha towel to keep the soap warm as it sets.
After 24 hours take the soap out of the molds and leave them is a dry warm place to dry fully.
leave the bars to store for a few weeks to fully react all the lye.
test soap with pH strips or pool water pH kit
Technically oils are acidic and saponification is an acid base reaction and the soap is the ‘salt’ of that reaction
Disturbingly enough during world war I, some bodies left covered in lime became saponified and became soap from the action of the lime on the body fat.
Lye in form of Sodium hydroxide (NaOH) can be purchased from some supermarkets as high purity beads in a small container. The high purity is useful in the very well measured cold soap making process, as you will need to measure everything carefully.
Sodium hydroxide is normally used for clearing blocked drains, usually the drains are blocked with hair, soap scum, scale and fat, and int he case of fat the lye solution turns it to soap similar to the way we have just learned.
<more to come>
An excel based calculator for soap making
Basic rule of thumb:
1 part alkali ( by weight as a dry powder)
8 parts oil (by weight)
24 parts water (by weight)
Warming up the oil to the same temperature as the alkali (which will usually heat the water used to create it).
Soaps created from types of hydroxides
Sodium: a solid water soluble soap.
Potassium: a liquid water soluble soap.
Calcium: a solid mostly insoluble soap.
Lithium: a grease possibly with lubrication potential for machines.
No matter what you do you are going to need to get clean.
Even if you are near a large water source and can wash there you will probably need soap. You will probably want to make soap eventually but before you do that well you need to understand how it works in order to do it well.
If you of your clothes were dirty and all the dirt was water soluble you could simply wash in water.
Salt is soluble in water so if you clothes were covered in salt you could just wash them in fresh water and the clothes would be clean.
However not all things are soluble in water, this is where soap comes in.
Almost all things are soluble in water or soluble in oil. In chemistry this is called non-polar and polar.
Water happens to be polar, which means able to form charged ions and other compounds like this will dissolve in it to some extent.
Oils are non-polar and don’t form ions easily and other non polar substances will dissolve in it to some extent.
Soap is a molecule which is both polar and non polar, having a polar (oil soluble) component and a non-polar (water soluble) component.
It’s polar part is soluble in water it non polar part soluble in oils.
This allow you to use soap and water to wash out both water soluble and oil soluble material from an item.
The soap allows the oil the ability to become partially dissolved in the water and spheres of oil with soap molecules embedded. These are called micelles
The process of micelle formation looks something like this:
Once the soap has liberated the oil from the material the soap/oil/water solution has to be removed, hence the need for the removal of the water with rinsing.
Rinsing allows more oil to be removed as all of the initial oils might not have been removed. And excess soap will have more water to liberate the oil into.
Rinsing also allows anything already soluble in water to be removed. this is why a pre-rinse makes sense.
Rinsing also remove the excess soap which would otherwise attract dirt and oil and be an irritant.
Firstly I know my North American readers will say you spelled it wrong, and while you may be right in that in your area its spelled aluminum. But according to IUPAC its been officially Aluminium for the last 15 or so years.
We are of course talking about the 13th element on the periodic table witch has low density and low corrosion rate due to its propensity to form a protective oxide layer.
Aluminium will however corrode markedly if it is left in a salty environment such as a salt spray zone near an ocean or salty lake.
I should talk more extensively about Aluminium as a material at a later date.
We live in a throw away society where things are made to be used once and then destined to become land fill. The humble aluminium can is one such product.
However we can change the game and turn a low cost one use item into something much more useful and possibly life saving depending on the situation.
Water is of course essential for life, 3 days without water and its likely that you will be dead, close to dead, or if miraculously resuced at the last minute you may suffer from life long health effects.
Water is a great mobilizer of materials and living things some of these living things will be very harmful if you drink them.
If you find water of unknown quality you will need to be cautious.
Straining water even with a cotton shirt will remove most suspended material (dirt etc) but will not kill pathogens.
Boiling water after it has been strained will kill most pathogens and make water much safer to drink.
It not appropriate or possible to make a fire in ever possible location you might be so a small cooker is a great option to have.
You could buy a propane/butane gas cooker but they are expensive by comparison require large gas canisters and are in themselves somewhat bulky and fragile.
So there is a niche for a cheap to make cheap to run cooker for boiling water or cooking food.
I made an awesome info-graphic and I’ll add it here. it may be better to download the image or open it is a separate window to see it in its full glory.
It described the manufacture of one of many designs of the aluminium can stove.
1-Remove all of the paint from the can with sandpaper.
2-Empty the can.
3-Put holes into top section. (thumb tack or drill)
4-Cut out the circular section around the ring pull. (razor blade)
5-Cut into 3 sections. (razor blade or tin snips)
6-Cut center section.(razor blade or tin snips)
7-Flange out the sharp edge bottom section slightly. (screwdriver shaft)
8-(optional) add glass wool between bottom and center sections.
9-Put top section inside bottom section.
this stove runs best from pure alcohol.
Pure alcohol is quite hard to obtain. the pureset from of alcohol is methylated spirts.
methylated spirts is about 96-99% Alcohol.
the rest (1 -4%) is made up other impurities (like methanol) so that is is toxic and/or unplesant to drink.
Methlyated spirits is quite cheap at about $2-3 per litre making this a very economical fuel.
pour fuel into the center section of the stove and light.
it may be easier to light the stove with a match or piece of paper or dry grass rather than a lighter.
during day time the flame may be difficult to see.
once light the stove cannot be easily extinguised and the flame heat is not adjustable.
Different sotves produce different ammounts of heat and this may be a way of controlling heat.
multiple stoves may be used together to produce more heat.
Why is this item important.
It shows that useful things can be made from commonly available low cost items.
It introduces people to making things for themselves.
In many situations the ability to boil water to sterilise it maybe a life saving device.
Aluminium does not readily corrode except for in a very salty environment.
(such as in the salt spray zone of beaches)
Aluminium may begin to corrode when place in contact with other metals for extended periods of time.
Aluminium melts at 660C, so its unlikely to melt during normal operation.
the thickness of Aluminium in cans makes them quite fragile.
A sturdy container is recomended to prevent the stove being crushed in a backpack.
there are many alternative designs to the can stove.
For some people constructing these is a serious hobby.
Such a mundane but essential thing. You probably had a shower recently, you probably didn’t even think about it much until you read this.
How long were you in the shower?
How long did it take to get get clean and how long was just being a little self indulgent?
How much water do you think you used?
Consider yourself in a water and water heating limited situation.
How fast could you get yourself clean and what’s the least amount of water you could use?
Could you do it in 2 minutes?
Could you do it with less than 20 /10/ 5 liters of water?
What are you going to do with all the black(?) water you just created?
Have you tested your own home made soaps?