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Published on Dec 31, 2009
How to make potassium nitrate at home with instant cold packs and "sodium-free" salt.
"Sodium-free" salt is actually potassium chloride. Instant cold packs contain ammonium nitrate and if the two are mixed potassium nitrate and ammonium chloride are formed in equilibrium. Fortunately potassium nitrate has lower solubility than ammonium chloride at colder temperatures giving us a means of separation.
Just mix 40 grams of ammonium nitrate with 100mL of water and stir until dissolved. Filter the mixture directly into 37 grams of potassium chloride. Gently heat until completely dissolved, do not boil. Cool the mixture to 0 Celsius in the freezer or on an ice bath. Filter the crystals and dry them. Now you have potassium nitrate.
To test it mix 2 parts potassium nitrate with one part sugar and light it up. It should burn with a purple/pinkish flame.