Learn more about Methoxide

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Methoxide is an organic salt, in pure form a white powder. It is the smallest alkoxide.

In Organic chemistry, the methoxide ion has a formula of CH3O- and is the conjugate base of methanol.

Sodium methoxide is an initiator of an anionic addition polymerization with ethylene oxide, forming a polyether with high molecular weight.

In biodiesel production, methoxide is incorrectly referred to as the product of mixing methanol and sodium hydroxide. Since this reaction generates copius amounts of water as a by product, this reaction is unlikely to produce any substantial amounts of usable sodium methoxide (NaO-CH3).

This confusion may have arisen since methoxide is a very powerful base that has been used experimentally in several papers and seems to self perpetuate. As methoxide is a powerful base, and base transesterified biodiesel is a common method of production, the use of sodium methoxide can substantially increase yields, however it is very sensitive to water, as little as 1% in a reaction will stop it from working. Water immediately reacts with the sodium methoxide to form caustic soda (NaOH) and methanol. Since water inhibits the base catalyst, this stops transesterification taking place.

Another problem with water is that the presence triglycerides ( from the biodiesel reaction) sodium / potassium and water when being mixed will undergo saponification (soap formation) another reason why water must be kept out of the system.

Sodium methoxide in methanol is a liquid that kills human nerve cells before any pain can be felt. In the event of contact with methoxide, rinse the contacted area with water, seek medical attention immediately.

Methoxide is also highly explosive.

Making sodium methoxide is dangerous, involving H2 and lots of heat. In addition, the resulting chemical is highly toxic. For this reason, the safety of the design of your equipment and workspace should be carefully considered before use, and protective clothing and a respirator should be worn during handling. Only as much as is intended to be used immediately should be


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