Sodium tetraborate (Borax) and metaborate suppliers

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by michael_r, Apr 8, 2013.

  1. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    These have probably been asked before but...

    1. Besides Formulary and Tech Chem (which doesn't have metaborate), where can you buy these? Are there any suppliers in Canada?

    2. On Formulary's website, when you click on the details/MSDS for Sodium Metaborate it sends you to a Mule Team sheet indicating 4 Mol, Dihydrate. My understanding is in most photgraphic formulas it is assumed to be Octahydrate, so I'm a little confused.

    3. Formulary's Borax also appears to come from Mule Team. Are these Mule Team borates really "photo grade" (ie are they good/pure enough for film developers)?

    Thanks
    Michael
     
  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    1 & 3 I used to buy Borax direct from Consolidated Borax (20 Mule team) a few metric tons at a time, I used a small amount for my developers, it's the same as Photo grade but not analytical. Any good chemical supplier can get you Borax.

    2 You'd need to ask the Formulary what version they are selling, Kodalk/Sodium Metaborate was the Octahydrate.

    Ian
     
  3. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    Hi Michael

    Sodium metaborate has two hydrates. The confusion arises from how these hydrates are represented in formulas. Often the formulas are doubled making the tetrahydrate look like the octahydrate.

    tetrahydrate NaBO2.2H2O also as NaB2O4.4H2O
    octahydrate NaBO2.4H2O also as NaB2O4.8H2O

    To distinguish between the two it is imporatant to not only look at the number of water molecules but also the number of boron atoms.

    20 Mule team Borax is quite pure and can be used for photography. The term photo grade is misleading as it can be quite impure chemically. The only thing that photo grade gets you is a guarantee that the chemical contains no compounds the are injurious to the photographic process. It can still contain many impurities.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 8, 2013
  4. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Qualifying the term Photo grade there's listings in books like LFA Mason, Photographic Chemistry, and elsewhere of the actual maximum levels of impurities in each chemical. I only have the BS Standards but they mirror the ASA/ANSI now ISO standards.

    Purity is based on final use, food grade might be higher or lower than techniocal grade which is the industry norm, photograde is usually technical grade except for a few chemicals which may need to be purer and closer to analytival grade.

    Ian
     
  5. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    Here is the metaborate formula indicated in the Mule Team link from Formulary:

    NaBO2·2H2O [Na2B2O4·4H2O]

    They refer to it as Dihydrate.

    Interestingly Formulary also sells Balanced Alkali as a different product. I assume balanced alkali is Kodalk which would be the typical octahydrate form called for in developer formulas. I guess I'll have to ask Formulary.

    Basically this all concerns a few experiments I wanted to try with a few typical versions of split D23-type developers. I've always stayed away from mixing my own developers but just want to try a few things for experimental purposes. One formula is the Stoekler version which calls for 10g/L Borax (assuming decahydrate) in the second bath, and the other one is the Adams version which calls for 10g/L Kodalk/Sodium Metaborate in the second bath, and that's the one where I'm not sure what type of metaborate to but in the second bath. I'd like to avoid overcomplicating this with conversion formulas etc if possible.
     
  6. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    NaBO2 is what is known as a stoichiometric formula. It shows the relative proportions of the different elements. It does not indicate the actual structure which is more complex.
     
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  7. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Michael , have you tried John at Nymoc?
     
  8. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    Bob, thanks. I'll look them up. I didn't know about Nymoc.
     
  9. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    1 416- 465- 1929 ask for John and mention I referred you.

    He is one of the nicest suppliers we have.

     
  10. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    Thanks again for the help!
     
  11. albada

    albada Member

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    Does ArtcraftChemicals.com ship to Canada?

    Mark Overton
     
  12. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Yes
     
  13. Ronald Moravec

    Ronald Moravec Member

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    20 mule team works fine. $2 gets a lifetime supply.
     
  14. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    If intrigued, I can dig up records on file somewhere on making metaborate from borax and sodium hydroxide.

    I did it once when my dry metaborax stoock ran out (silly me). You end up with an aqueous solution.

    I mixed 1l of film developer with less water to start, and added the volumetrically right amount of aqueous metaborate in when it was time to add it to the formulation.