Lye solution cloudy

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You bet they die
Jul 28, 2018
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Perth, Western Australia
Hi all,

I had part of a bag of ice in the freezer and thought I migh as well use it to make a master batch lye solution as it says it is purified water on the bag. I weighed the ice and had 1,342g of ice, measured the same amount of lye into a separate container and started to combine. Now the lye is all mixed in there is some lye that has not dissolved and the solution is cloudy. The lye is fresh as the shop was refilling their shelves when I bought it yesterday. I had just washed up the stainless steel pot so I don't know if that has anything to do with it. It sounds silly but is it likely there could be air bubbles in the commercially produced ice to make it weigh more than the water they have used? I guess I won't know the answer to that one unless I weigh the solution.

What should I do? Strain out undissolved pieces? Add distilled water? Not sure how to proceed.

Re: the air bubbles making the ice weigh more ... nope.

Re: the NaOH not dissolving ... how cold is the lye solution? NaOH won't fully dissolve if the liquid is too cold and you're adding a lot of NaOH. Don't make a 50% masterbatch with ice, in other words.

Re: what to do now ... let it warm up to room temp and see what happens.
Thanks, @DeeAnna , I let the mixture warm up and then poured it through a sieve. I got 16g of undissolved lye out of the mix which I combined with 16g of distilled water and that dissolved and went clear. The rest of the batch does not appear to have any obvious lumps of undissolved lye in it as it went through the sieve OK but it is still not clear even having sat overnight.

It seemed like a good idea at the time - famous last words.
I'm glad it's behaving better for you! I'm not entirely sure why cold lye solution stays cloudy when it warms up -- I've seen that too. It could be some impurities that precipitate out with the cold, but don't go back into solution when the mixture warms back up.