Water Glass is a very old craft item that was diluted and used for preserving eggs in the days before fridges.  It is also used as a very strong heat-resistant glue for making fire bricks, forges, rocket stoves, kilns, moulds and other general and heavy duty gluing tasks.

It can also be made and used as an electrolyte for batteries and crystal batteries.

Materials:

  • Distilled or purified water (Pharmacy)
  • Crystalline Cat litter or Silica Gel (Sodium Silicate)
  • Caustic Soda or Lye Drain cleaner (Sodium Hydroxide) or Potash (Potassium Hydroxide)
  • Heat Source such as outdoor camping stove or BBQ
  • Steel mixing bowl or jug and a steel spoon

Different quantities (smallest first):

10 ml Water    -   4 g soda   -   6 g gel    (makes a very small amount)

50 ml Water   -    20 g soda   -   30 g gel    (makes half a cup)

100 ml Water   -   40 g soda   -   60 g gel   (makes a cup)

200 ml Water   -   80 g soda   -   120 g gel   (makes about a mug)

500 ml Water   -   200 g soda   -   300 g gel   (makes half a liter)

Approximate conversions:

   1 liter (l) = 1 quart (qt) = 32 fluid ounces (fl oz)

   1 fluid ounce (fl oz) = 30 milliliters (ml)

   1 ounce (oz) = 28 grams (g)

To Make:

  • Make sure you are outside and wearing safety glasses and gloves
  • Place the mixing jug with water on the camping stove but don't turn on the heat yet
  • Gradually add the Caustic Soda and stir to dissolve - the water gets hotter
  • Gradually add the Silica Gel as you heat the jug, stir until its all dissolved
  • Store in an airtight container such as a marmalade jar, or use immediately

Measuring out the right proportions takes a little while, but actually making the mixture takes only about 10 or 15 minutes

If you want to make a liquid electrolyte you can skip adding the Silica Gel but it will be a very watery mix

Optionally, add the water glass to plaster of Paris or cement for a quicker drying mixture

Carbon Dioxide dries / cures water Glass and is available either as welding gas, the gas from a vinegar and breadsoda reaction, or a burning candle in an enclosed space such as a Mason jar

Safety Note: Caustic Soda burns and stings, don't let Children or Pets near it, wear gloves and safety glasses, and only stir it gently, don't splash it or you may end up in the burns unit. Don't get it into cuts, grazes or orifices, and wash your hands after handling.

Safety Note: Never add water to caustic soda, only add caustic soda to water. The reason for this is that you'd be making a super-strong alkali which would proceed to eat through whatever is under it.

Conversion source https://www.convert-me.com/en/

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Replies to This Discussion

I made some crystal cells last week (which are still wet), but the quantity of water glass I made was exactly right.

50 ml of water glass filled the following cells....

15 sections of smoothie straws (10mm diameter), cut at 1 1/2 inches long, just like the picture.

The next batch of cells will be made with a plaster of Paris mix, to try and make them dry quicker

If you want to try different mixtures of electrolyte, you might find it helpful to get some cheap disposable plastic shot glasses and experiment with those instead of making proper cells, just until you find the mix you want.

You may also want to place samples of your cathode and anode metals into the mix before it dries, to enable a more accurate test.

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