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Cyclone or anybody, Need help Identifying material under microscope

Discussion in 'Tanning' started by MHTaxidermy, Mar 25, 2009.

  1. MHTaxidermy

    MHTaxidermy (307) 640-2602

    I mixed up some of my bags of chemical stuffs and I used the wrong bag when I was tanning something. I thought it was EZ 100 in the bag but then I found the EZ 100. So I need to know what this is. Do any of you have any Idea?

    I used this in my solution, 6 oz of This, and 12 oz of salt to 2 gallons of water. Then I put a coon in it after it was degreased, pickled, and neutralized.
  2. stuffenstuff

    stuffenstuff Member

    Mark, check the pH If it is sodium carbonate the pH will be high and you should place it back in the pickle over night, then go from there.

  3. Bobbi Meyer

    Bobbi Meyer I luv to ride my tricycle, I luv to ride my trike

    it's an aerial photo of downtown Manhattan at rush time.
  4. MHTaxidermy

    MHTaxidermy (307) 640-2602

    Thats scary, We don't have near that much traffic here. :)

    After thinking about it I'm pretty sure its sodium carbonate. But I wanted to see if their was anyone here that uses microscopes enough that they could Identify it.
  5. Monte

    Monte Missouri fur-Limited hair-tanning

    Sodium bicarb is white
    EZ100 used to be tan in color
  6. cyclone

    cyclone Posts: 400001

    I've checked out a couple of other compounds that I could think of that you might have related to taxidermy. It doesn't look like citric acid, borax, sodium bicarbonate or sodium carbonate. Although the sodium carbonate has similarly shaped crystals it is clear under the scope. Your's is obviously white. Closest I can come is from this pic which is talc. Talc would be a major ingredient of Dry Preserve, DP...

    Did it mix up immediately or did some of it float on top until mixed well? Did it dissolve completely? The thing that bothers me is that I don't see any other crystals mixed in with it..

    Checking the pH would be a good idea as DP would contain borax which would raise the pH, but it could also contain alum which would lower the pH. Depending on the mix ratio pH may vary....

    I would rinse it very well in a white vinegar solution and re-tan paying careful attention to the pH..



    Another puzzling thing is that I don't see any of the angular faces at the ends on your crystals that I see in the talc pic.
  7. Bobbi Meyer

    Bobbi Meyer I luv to ride my tricycle, I luv to ride my trike

    it's a picture of the rejected white Crayons from Crayola?
    Busted chalk?
    dried out cottage cheese?
  8. cyclone

    cyclone Posts: 400001

    Naw, although it does appear to be waxy....not crayons...
    I checked on the chalk as well, gypsum crystals as in "plaster of paris"....not quite that either..

    Wonder if anyone noticed the small fibrous strand to the left of the pointer about 1/3rd of the way to the edge....looks like a triple helix almost...collagen? Where's that goose!
  9. boss400

    boss400 Member

    Maybe powered hide paste
  10. MHTaxidermy

    MHTaxidermy (307) 640-2602

    I don't have any dry preserve at all within 10 miles of the shop. So its not that. It dissolved completely and quickly. I checked the pH and it was quite high. So I put it back in the pickle overnight and I will retan is with the correct stuff.
    But I still want to figure out what this stuff is, I have a whole bag of it and its useless if I dont know what it is.
    If it helps any, the picture is only 40x, you can see the collums with the naked eye.
  11. cyclone

    cyclone Posts: 400001

    Doing a burn test on it could tell whether it is an organic or not. Take a metal spatula and pick up a small amount of the substance. Do this in a safe place away from the other powder and other flammables. Put it in a flame such as a propane torch tip, spatula tip and substance, flame from the bottom. If it burns up completely to ash, chances are it is organic, perhaps a tan? If not, then it more than likely a salt, or other inorganic...

    look for a color change as well...

  12. Bobbi Meyer

    Bobbi Meyer I luv to ride my tricycle, I luv to ride my trike

    it's MSG?
  13. stuffenstuff

    stuffenstuff Member

    Keep going Bobbi...... LOL

    Mark, best thing to do with that is trash it, you have not needed or you would know what it was, don't chance wasting a hide with it. I am going to send you a marker ::)
  14. MHTaxidermy

    MHTaxidermy (307) 640-2602

    Okay, I just went through my records of everything I have ever bought from a taxidermy supply company. The Only options that this could possibly be are,
    Magnesium carbonate
    Sodium carbonate
    Oxalic acid
    Citric acid crystals
    EZ 100 tan
    Sodium formate
    I have everything accounted for except for the Citric and the Sodium carbonate. And since It does not have a low pH, It is obviasly not the citric. So the only option left is the Sodium carbonate.
    But cyclone, You said it is clear under the scope? Does anyone have any Sodium carbonate and a microscope? Or you wouldn't even need a microscope, Here is a picture of the stuff without a microscope. You can easily see the texture.
  15. cyclone

    cyclone Posts: 400001

    Could be a rough grade of sodium carbonate. The grade that I looked at was reagent grade which is ground very fine for laboratory use..
    Could also be the hydrated version since you stated that is was stored in a bag. What I looked at was anhydrous, without water, stored in a plastic container...airtight...

    I don't have any of the rougher grades but I can always recrystallize some tomorrow...

    Do that flame test, it should just glow orange without turning to ash...once cooled..

    If sodium carbonate, you've subjected the hide to a high pH solution.. for a long period...

    Magnesium carbonate isn't as soluble as what you stated in your original mixture...I'd rule that out.

    Great picture by the way, the penny adds perspective. The talc pic I found by googling.. more that 40x
  16. Monte

    Monte Missouri fur-Limited hair-tanning

    It could be sodium sesquacarbonate it has longer grains and has a bit of shine to it. Maybe some supplier re-packed it at some time or another.
    If it came in a kit or package deal with the chrome you had , this is most likely what it is.
  17. MHTaxidermy

    MHTaxidermy (307) 640-2602

    OK, The Sodium carbonate that I got is from Jonas Supply, not in a kit just the sodium. Cyclone, I put a pile on the bottom of a tuna can and heated it up from the bottom with a mapp gas torch. As it heated a light brownish tan wave went across the pile of stuff but it went back white again. As It got hotter, So hot that the can was bright red and sagging underneath the pile, It started to melt to a clear liquid. after most of it was melted I took the heat off and it cooled to a very hard creamy whitish lump with some sulfur colored residue around the edges. The first picture is the result of heating it, You can see some grains embedded in the top that did not melt. The second is a piece of the stuff that I chipped off the can, under 40x. The third is a small quantity off the hardened melted stuff that I scraped of the can and crumbled, under 100x.
  18. MHTaxidermy

    MHTaxidermy (307) 640-2602

    Got any more Ideas Bobbi? You might hit it one of these times. ;D
  19. cyclone

    cyclone Posts: 400001

    This confirms that it is not an organic substance. The brown that you noticed is more than likely from residue left in the bottom of your tuna can or the coating. This means that your substance is inorganic, most possibly a salt such as sodium carbonate. I recrystallized some today and let it air dry so that I would have the hydrated version. It is indeed white and forms longer crystals. If you notice in your bottom pic some of the crystals are now clear. This is the anhydrous version, without water, caused by the heating...

    So if you put all of these posts together you have:
    More soluble than Magnesium carbonate
    More basic than the acids
    physical appearance similar to sodium carbonate
    not organic

    My next step would be to dissolve as much as you can in about a cup of water, use a clear glass. Making sure the final solution is clear i.e. make a saturated solution and then add some calcium chloride. Calcium carbonate is only slightly soluble in water and the solution will turn a cloudy white when the calcium carbonate precipitates out...Calcium formate is much more soluble and would not precipitate out...

    Now you just have to find some calcium chloride....

    Check your ice melting supply, some contain calcium chloride...

    This just might be a bit of overkill...but I'm curious... ;)
  20. MHTaxidermy

    MHTaxidermy (307) 640-2602

    So you say to make a saturate solution of this stuff, then add calcium chloride? From there on I am lost, What is supposed to happen? What does Calcium carbonate and calcium formate have to do with anything?