I'm currently a high schooler, and I'm interested in synthesizing silica dodecahedrons for a science project as per this paper:
At the moment, my school cannot buy the catalyst, tributylamine, for synthesis because it is too toxic. Unfortunately, my knowledge of synthesis is extremely limited and I don't know if there is a possible replacement for it. The paper simply says "tertiary amines" and then uses tributylamine as a catalyst, but I am wondering if other compounds such as triethylamine would work in this case? What are the reasons why they chose tributylamine specifically, and is it possible to replace it? Yield or time is not too much of a consideration a the moment.
M(r,z,or x) seeking crispy Crossant Knighthood,
As read from the paper, the Tributylamine is used in the form of TetrabutylAmmonium Chloride. You're trying to make a Silafullerane in H.S. ?!!! Ever heard of airlessware ? If you wish to proceed with this insanity, at least obtain some commercial [Bu]4+ Cl- from commercial sources to save some headaches. Read the SUPPORTING INFORMATION !
This experiment is generally reserved for college-level victims. Your Teacher must either think highly of you, or wishes to ruin their career by letting some STEM student obliviate themselves. Did you know HexachloroDisilane(Si2Cl6) is a semiconductor gas, flammable in air with a putrid odor ? Iff'n your HS Chem Lab hasn't a full Schlenk setup, you all's are bound for GLORY and your "Teacher" is the apotheosis of irresponsible. Whatever made you think of this experiment, reconsider and be happy if you can sucessfully prepare Buckminsterfullerene or better yet, Carbon Nanotubes, the HS preps abound in the usual places. I can't tell if you're really smart or really naive.
You will need more than a glove box in this endeavor but please keep me apprised in this, as I've much experience in air-sensitive compounds and their synthesis. Your safety is of primary concern. The road to discovery is frought with challenges. Seek some of the technical bulletins openly available in Aldrichemica Acta volumes. And of course these techniques aren't learn't overnight. No kidding, you'll need to master the use of a Schlenk and vacuum manifold to yield a sucessful synthesis. And Hexachloro Disilazane is no furry friend. It will eat your face.
gotcha. maybe i just shouldn't attempt it then. I've not done something actively dangerous yet. as a last ditch effort since i like the idea, is there a way i can pay a lab to make it for me maybe? i've tried looking something up but they're all for companies that need huge amounts of certain compounds.
Well, check the Wiki attachment to see what you're hoping to take on. I was once where you are. I do appreciate your ambitions The RXN isn't difficult, but this may be above your pay-grade. There are lotsa other things that would serve to feed your curiosity in the inert-work domain. Getting a contract-lab to do it will bleed you white, financially. They are too busy and you would be a HS graduate by the time they were done. I know from experience. Custom Chem concerns only want > 100g and they'd see you as "an ant in the afterbirth". You might become a good chemist and airless work is an indispensable technique. Keep me posted.