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Thread: Magnesium Oxychloride Cement (Sorel Cement)

  1. #1
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    Magnesium Oxychloride Cement (Sorel Cement)

    I would like to know if there are any suppliers were I can order some. I found a few industrial suppliers, but don't have room for a 5 metric ton minumum. Thanks.

    It's also called magnesia cement.
    Barnyard bladesmith, burnt in the front, and frozen in the rear. Comic book metallurgist, too dumb to know that I can't do that.
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    Gee, i thought at least Jim would know

    Here is some info on sorel cement. It could be used as a binder for crucibles also. http://www.premierchemicals.com/corn...es/cements.htm
    Barnyard bladesmith, burnt in the front, and frozen in the rear. Comic book metallurgist, too dumb to know that I can't do that.
    "I don't believe in the no-win scenario".. Captain Kirk.

    It's good to be skilled, but better to be talented.
    It's good to be talented, but better to be gifted.
    It's good to be gifted, but best of all to be determined. - Me

    "The precise balance of brains and balls, will ALWAYS trump those who have too much of one, and not enough of the other". - me

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    Well, from the article we read " an excellent cement formed from the combination of magnesium oxide and magnesium chloride solution."

    1) Dissolve Epsom salts in water.
    2) Add sodium hydroxide solution to get magnesium hydroxide and sodium sulfate.
    3) Wash and filter to get solid MgOH/MgO
    4) Heat to get MgO
    5) Add MgCl solution.

    Pretty deeply simplified, but it should be doable.

    However, that article also says

    " However, there are two other known magnesia cements. The first is magnesium oxysulfate (MOS), which is the sulfate analogue of magnesium oxychloride and is formed by the combination of magnesium oxide and magnesium sulfate solution."

    So do steps 1-4 to get MgO, then add epsom salts solution to get the cement.

    I may have to try this one. I think I'd use an aggregate composed of a mixture of graphite powder and silicon carbide grit to get microwaveable crucibles that will self heat in a microwave...

    Yet another cool project. Curses! No time to play and too many things to play with!

    "Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art."
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    "A little science estranges men from God, but much science leads them back to Him."
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    Originally posted by jim frank
    Well, from the article we read " an excellent cement formed from the combination of magnesium oxide and magnesium chloride solution."

    1) Dissolve Epsom salts in water.
    2) Add sodium hydroxide solution to get magnesium hydroxide and sodium sulfate.
    3) Wash and filter to get solid MgOH/MgO
    4) Heat to get MgO
    5) Add MgCl solution.

    Pretty deeply simplified, but it should be doable.

    However, that article also says

    " However, there are two other known magnesia cements. The first is magnesium oxysulfate (MOS), which is the sulfate analogue of magnesium oxychloride and is formed by the combination of magnesium oxide and magnesium sulfate solution."

    So do steps 1-4 to get MgO, then add epsom salts solution to get the cement.

    I may have to try this one. I think I'd use an aggregate composed of a mixture of graphite powder and silicon carbide grit to get microwaveable crucibles that will self heat in a microwave...

    Yet another cool project. Curses! No time to play and too many things to play with!

    Thank you for responding Jim.

    Let me get this straight;
    I have the MgO, so all I need is the epsom salt solution.
    How do I get MgCL agian to add to my MgO for sorel cement?

    I have to ask twice when dealing with thermit.
    Thanks, Jerry
    Barnyard bladesmith, burnt in the front, and frozen in the rear. Comic book metallurgist, too dumb to know that I can't do that.
    "I don't believe in the no-win scenario".. Captain Kirk.

    It's good to be skilled, but better to be talented.
    It's good to be talented, but better to be gifted.
    It's good to be gifted, but best of all to be determined. - Me

    "The precise balance of brains and balls, will ALWAYS trump those who have too much of one, and not enough of the other". - me

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    Getting plain chemicals is an excercise in scrounging, these days. It's hard to just buy what you want. MgCl is used as a dust suppressant on roads, so you might try the local DOT office and see if you can bum some. Otherwise, it is used as a de-icer for sidewalks, but is almost invariably mixed with potassium, sodium, and calcium chlorides. MgCl is very hygroscopic, and will dissolve itself into a puddle just from atmospheric moisture. (Which is why it's used to suppress dust, as it stays moist when you add it to the surface of a dirt road, keeping the dust stuck together)

    Why not skip directly to the sulfate/oxide cement?

    Mag sulfate is also called Epsom salts.
    "Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art."
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    "A little science estranges men from God, but much science leads them back to Him."
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  6. #6
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    Originally posted by jim frank
    Getting plain chemicals is an excercise in scrounging, these days. It's hard to just buy what you want....
    Yep, you said it. I actually scrounge all of the chemicals. The only ones I buy are the iron oxide and the laxatives

    Why not skip directly to the sulfate/oxide cement?
    So how would you make a liner out of this stuff?
    Thanks, jerry
    Barnyard bladesmith, burnt in the front, and frozen in the rear. Comic book metallurgist, too dumb to know that I can't do that.
    "I don't believe in the no-win scenario".. Captain Kirk.

    It's good to be skilled, but better to be talented.
    It's good to be talented, but better to be gifted.
    It's good to be gifted, but best of all to be determined. - Me

    "The precise balance of brains and balls, will ALWAYS trump those who have too much of one, and not enough of the other". - me

  7. #7
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    Interesting stuff Jerry. Look what else shows up:
    Grinding wheels are Magnesite (Magnesium Oxychloride) bonded abrasive products
    Magnesium Oxychloride is used as a binder of wood or straw to make fireproof ceiling panels

    If you were to break down and buy stuff, magnesium oxide is sold as a dietary supplement (is this where you found it?)
    http://www.kornax.com/Merchant2/merc...duct_Code=1310

    Looks like MgCl is too:
    http://www.herballoveshop.com/product.asp?PID=2933

    Time to head to the health food store?

  8. #8
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    Thanks Michael

    I'm learning that the world is a chemestry strore, if you know were to look. This is kind of fun finding hidden treasures.
    Barnyard bladesmith, burnt in the front, and frozen in the rear. Comic book metallurgist, too dumb to know that I can't do that.
    "I don't believe in the no-win scenario".. Captain Kirk.

    It's good to be skilled, but better to be talented.
    It's good to be talented, but better to be gifted.
    It's good to be gifted, but best of all to be determined. - Me

    "The precise balance of brains and balls, will ALWAYS trump those who have too much of one, and not enough of the other". - me

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    Here is a cool, coned shaped flower pot I picked up for five bucks. Should hold an 8 pound charge. I lined it with different refractories. It is what I call a "compound crucible", that is to say, 2 crucibles in one.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Barnyard bladesmith, burnt in the front, and frozen in the rear. Comic book metallurgist, too dumb to know that I can't do that.
    "I don't believe in the no-win scenario".. Captain Kirk.

    It's good to be skilled, but better to be talented.
    It's good to be talented, but better to be gifted.
    It's good to be gifted, but best of all to be determined. - Me

    "The precise balance of brains and balls, will ALWAYS trump those who have too much of one, and not enough of the other". - me

  10. #10
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    Here is a page from my note book, showing the compound crucible design.
    Sorry if you cant read my handwriting. Mad scientists are supposed to have somewhat cryptic penmanship.

    EDIT: BTW, I took an acetyline torch, with a rose bud to this. I got it as hot as I could from the inside. The bottom outside was cold! Just what I wanted, as I need good insulation for the molten iron to have time to settle down and uptake all the alloying chemicals and git rid of all the gas.
    Test run this weekend!
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by Jerry Bennett; 07-07-2006 at 05:22 PM.
    Barnyard bladesmith, burnt in the front, and frozen in the rear. Comic book metallurgist, too dumb to know that I can't do that.
    "I don't believe in the no-win scenario".. Captain Kirk.

    It's good to be skilled, but better to be talented.
    It's good to be talented, but better to be gifted.
    It's good to be gifted, but best of all to be determined. - Me

    "The precise balance of brains and balls, will ALWAYS trump those who have too much of one, and not enough of the other". - me

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    right on, bros !!

    nice size crucible... i really like your inventive spirit !!!
    - looks to be a keeper.....

    Greg

    ps.. laxative, ... why didn't i think of that..

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    To make a crucible, I'd mix MgO and Epsom salts in the ratios suggested in the article you refer to above. They'd both have to be finely powdered, of course. Add any agregate if desired, like perlite or silica sand. Add enough water to moisten it to plasticity, and press into a form of some form (bad pun).

    I'd probably turn a wooden male and female on a lathe, so that when they are pressed together, the desired wall thickness is preserved between mold halves.

    It should be interesting to add wood flour or sawdust to the cement to make an insulating material...
    "Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art."
    Leonardo da Vinci

    "A little science estranges men from God, but much science leads them back to Him."
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  13. #13
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    Originally posted by jim frank
    To make a crucible, I'd mix MgO and Epsom salts in the ratios suggested in the article you refer to above. They'd both have to be finely powdered, of course. Add any agregate if desired, like perlite or silica sand. Add enough water to moisten it to plasticity, and press into a form of some form (bad pun).

    I'd probably turn a wooden male and female on a lathe, so that when they are pressed together, the desired wall thickness is preserved between mold halves.

    It should be interesting to add wood flour or sawdust to the cement to make an insulating material...
    Thanks Jim.
    Wood ash is the insulation of choice. After that experiment with the torch, I was impressed, plus wood ash can take the heat. I burry the whole contraption in the ground now. Burry it with dry filbert ash, with a charcoal fire in the bottom of the pit.

    Gotta go to the shop now, and whoop out my mortar and pestal
    Barnyard bladesmith, burnt in the front, and frozen in the rear. Comic book metallurgist, too dumb to know that I can't do that.
    "I don't believe in the no-win scenario".. Captain Kirk.

    It's good to be skilled, but better to be talented.
    It's good to be talented, but better to be gifted.
    It's good to be gifted, but best of all to be determined. - Me

    "The precise balance of brains and balls, will ALWAYS trump those who have too much of one, and not enough of the other". - me

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    Once you have MgO, preparing MgCl2 is as simple as adding some hydrochloric acid to it.
    (or muriatic, as I've seen it referred to on this board)

    BTW, there's an analog cement made of zinc oxide + zinc chloride. I remember playing with these things back when I was a teenager. The magnesium one is better though IIRC.

    MgO + 2HCl -> MgCl2 + H2O

    You'll have to evaporate the solution to get solid MgCl2 because it's soluble.
    Last edited by Silviu Tamasdan; 07-13-2006 at 04:05 AM.

  15. #15
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    Originally posted by Silviu Tamasdan
    Once you have MgO, preparing MgCl2 is as simple as adding some hydrochloric acid to it.
    (or muriatic, as I've seen it referred to on this board)

    BTW, there's an analog cement made of zinc oxide + zinc chloride. I remember playing with these things back when I was a teenager. The magnesium one is better though IIRC.

    MgO + 2HCl -> MgCl2 + H2O

    You'll have to evaporate the solution to get solid MgCl2 because it's soluble.
    Thanks.
    Typically I roast the powder in a crucible, in the forge before I shape it. Get it nice and hot to be sure there are no rogue water molecules or impurities that would boil and cause an unpleasant liquid iron shower.
    Thanks for the help, Jerry
    Barnyard bladesmith, burnt in the front, and frozen in the rear. Comic book metallurgist, too dumb to know that I can't do that.
    "I don't believe in the no-win scenario".. Captain Kirk.

    It's good to be skilled, but better to be talented.
    It's good to be talented, but better to be gifted.
    It's good to be gifted, but best of all to be determined. - Me

    "The precise balance of brains and balls, will ALWAYS trump those who have too much of one, and not enough of the other". - me

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    Let me know how it works out.

    In the meantime I'll "borrow" your pot-crucible idea for my experiments...

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    Hi Jerry

    where bouts did you get the MgO... is it refractory grade?

    heres a little snip of info i got from a site

    " Dead burned magnesium oxide "

    --Temperatures used when calcining to produce refractory grade magnesia will range between 1500°C - 2000°C and the magnesium oxide is referred to as "dead-burned" since most, if not all, of the reactivity has been eliminated. Refractory grade MgO is used extensively in steel production to serve as both protective and replaceable linings for equipment used to handle molten steel. --

    from this site
    http://www.magspecialties.com/students.htm

    i'm not sure if this will make a difference with the oxy/chloride version but its good to know that it is considered dead at 1500 to 2000 C.... so i imagine it'll act funny before that temp

    G

  18. #18
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    Originally posted by Greg Thomas
    Hi Jerry

    where bouts did you get the MgO... is it refractory grade?

    heres a little snip of info i got from a site

    " Dead burned magnesium oxide "

    --Temperatures used when calcining to produce refractory grade magnesia will range between 1500°C - 2000°C and the magnesium oxide is referred to as "dead-burned" since most, if not all, of the reactivity has been eliminated. Refractory grade MgO is used extensively in steel production to serve as both protective and replaceable linings for equipment used to handle molten steel. --

    from this site
    http://www.magspecialties.com/students.htm

    i'm not sure if this will make a difference with the oxy/chloride version but its good to know that it is considered dead at 1500 to 2000 C.... so i imagine it'll act funny before that temp

    G
    Hey thanks Greg.

    Yeah, that's what I do with the powder in the crucible. I get it real hot, and it bonces and "boils" all over the place, before settling down. I do it in my biggest silicon carbide crucible.

    Right now,since I only need a small amount, I get it from milk of magnesia. I buy it on sale and reduce it down. Ireally shoud just buy some of the grade I need.

    Thanks much for the link, and when are YOU going to try this
    Do it out in the snow like Olof did If you insulate the crucible, you shouldn't have any worries. You can throw some of that mystical sorel iron in for some bodacius wootz

    2 minutes to wootz buddy!
    Barnyard bladesmith, burnt in the front, and frozen in the rear. Comic book metallurgist, too dumb to know that I can't do that.
    "I don't believe in the no-win scenario".. Captain Kirk.

    It's good to be skilled, but better to be talented.
    It's good to be talented, but better to be gifted.
    It's good to be gifted, but best of all to be determined. - Me

    "The precise balance of brains and balls, will ALWAYS trump those who have too much of one, and not enough of the other". - me

  19. #19
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    Originally posted by Silviu Tamasdan
    Let me know how it works out.

    In the meantime I'll "borrow" your pot-crucible idea for my experiments...
    That's great!
    Let us know, so we can register your name in the 5000 degree club!
    Not trying to tell a chemistry major how to do things, but based on a lot of trial and error, here is what I have discovered about thermite for custom alloy steel making so far;

    Use good iron oxide, (the red stuff). Don't use the black.

    The reaction crucible should be a nice cone shape inside.

    If you use the wood ash/powdered charcoal mixture for the top portion, use no larger than 80 mesh charcoal.
    I have had bits of charcoal inside of the ingot because the charcoal was too big. Thermite is short lived and the charcoal needs to be small enough to burn fast so the iron can absorb the carbon fast. Do not put loose charcoal powder in with the charge. I tried this and there were a LOT of tiny charcoal inclusions in the ingot. It was a big charge too.

    If you are going high carbon, you should add a few small bits of white cast iron. Place them in layers starting from the middle of the charge, and go up. don't put the pieces too close together. That way they wont "clot up" toward the bottom and mess up the flow and reaction.
    Dialing in the right amount of carbon for your steel is somewhat difficult with thermite. This is the best way I found so far.

    I've tried all kinds of ratios of aluminum to iron oxide. I've had a bunch of steel tested, and here is what I have found that is the best for producing a good reaction and clean steel.

    1 part iron oxide (by volume, no packing), to an equal part by volume of aluminum, no packing. I then take a "hand full" of aluminum out. Yeah, it sounds crazy, but it's the best so far. In other words, just a little less than an equal volume of aluminum.

    After mixing and cutting, pack the charge in the reaction crucible as dense as you can without cracking the crucible. I do it by hand, in layers. This is were you put any scrap iron in.
    If you pack it nice and tight, the whole thing is much easier to manage. Also expect the reaction to last over 2 minutes for charges of 8 pounds and up, with a nice packed charge.

    You must pre-heat the crucible to prevent cracking and a possible containment failure.

    You can expect around 40% +- of your charge, by weight to be usable steel.

    For those who are lurking and contemplating this, please have an area were it will not make a difference if you have a containment problem. Absolutely no moisture of any kind any were near the system.

    Sorry if I'm telling you stuff you already know, but since others might want to try it, I thought a mini tutorial was in order.

    Can't wait to see the results. Be safe, Jerry
    Last edited by Jerry Bennett; 07-13-2006 at 03:07 PM.
    Barnyard bladesmith, burnt in the front, and frozen in the rear. Comic book metallurgist, too dumb to know that I can't do that.
    "I don't believe in the no-win scenario".. Captain Kirk.

    It's good to be skilled, but better to be talented.
    It's good to be talented, but better to be gifted.
    It's good to be gifted, but best of all to be determined. - Me

    "The precise balance of brains and balls, will ALWAYS trump those who have too much of one, and not enough of the other". - me

  20. #20
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    Thanks, that's a very useful tutorial. I knew most of it but of course not the bits you found out already by experimenting.

    For instance the part about not mixing the C powder with the main charge. I plan on coating the crucible with a layer of very fine graphite at first and see what %C I get from that. Then I'll add some pig iron to the mix if I need it.

    I'll stay in the sub-mini charge size until I get close to what I want, then size up.

  21. #21
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    Glad to help in any way I can.

    Aww c'om on, my first run was a 12 pound charge

    If I can do it, you can dot it better!

    EDIT: I need to clean up my language

    You can make use of those little runs and make up some ferro alloying chemicals out of pure stuff. Just don't put too big of a chunk in when you go to make your steel, or it might suck too much heat from your ingot and get a cold spot.
    Last edited by Jerry Bennett; 07-14-2006 at 07:33 AM.
    Barnyard bladesmith, burnt in the front, and frozen in the rear. Comic book metallurgist, too dumb to know that I can't do that.
    "I don't believe in the no-win scenario".. Captain Kirk.

    It's good to be skilled, but better to be talented.
    It's good to be talented, but better to be gifted.
    It's good to be gifted, but best of all to be determined. - Me

    "The precise balance of brains and balls, will ALWAYS trump those who have too much of one, and not enough of the other". - me

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