Life Hack: Home made DDT

If you are into this kind of crazy stuff, there is a great book on Google Books called The True Story of DDT, PCB, and Dioxin. There is also a very detailed step by step process outlined here (German).

The name D.D.T. is derived from dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane: this is a misnomer since the name represents 27 different compounds. As commonly employed it refers to 2 : 2-bis(p-chlorophenyl)-l : 1 : 1-trichloroethane. It is conveniently prepared by the condensation of chlorobenzene and chloral hydrate in the presence of concentrated sulphuric acid:

Method 1

In a 1 litre three-necked flask, equipped with a thermometer, glycerine-sealed mechanical stirrer (compare Fig. II, 7, 10) and calcium chloride (or cotton wool) guard tube, introduce successively 700 g. (380 ml.) of concentrated sulphuric acid, 100 g. (53 ml.) of oleum (20 per cent. S03), 90 g. (81-5 ml.) of chlorobenzene and 68 g. of chloral hydrate. Stir the mixture rapidly enough to keep the materials well mixed for 1 hour: during this period the temperature rises to about 50° and some granular D.D.T. separates. Stir the mixture for a further 1 hour in order to complete the reaction. Pour the reaction mixture with stirring into 3 litres of a 2 : 1 mixture of ice and water. Filter the precipitated somewhat sticky solid at the pump and wash it well with cold water. Remove the occluded acid by transferring the crude product to a beaker containing 1 litre of boiling water and stirring well: this causes the D.D.T. to melt. Decant the aqueous layer, and repeat the washing with two further 1-litre portions of water. To the third washing add a little sodium bicarbonate and stir until the mixture is neutral to litmus. Filter at the pump, and dry upon filter paper in the air or in an air oven at 50-60°. The yield of crude product, m.p. ca. 90°, is 90 g.; the low m.p. is due to the presence of isomers of the para compound. The pure substance, m.p. 108°, may be obtained with 50-60 per cent, recovery by recrystallization from n-propyl alcohol (5 ml. per gram).

Method 2

Place 17 g. of chloral hydrate crystals and 25.5 g. (23 ml.) of chlorobenzene in a 500 ml. Pyrex glass-stoppered reagent bottle and warm on a water bath, with occasional shaking, until all the crystals have dissolved. Cool to room temperature and slowly add 180 ml. of concentrated sulphuric acid. Secure the glass stopper (rubber tubing over stopper held tightly by copper wire round neck of bottle) and shake mechanically for 1 to 1 -5 hours, and then allow to stand for 15 minutes. Pour the contents of the reagent bottle slowly and with constant stirring into 700 ml. of water contained in a litre beaker. When cold, filter the crude D.D.T. through a sintered glass funnel and wash several times with water. (A further 1 -5 g. of impure D.D.T. may be obtained by diluting the filtrate considerably.) Transfer the solid to a beaker and stir it for 5-10 minutes with 50 ml. of 2 per cent, sodium carbonate solution or 4 per cent, sodium bicarbonate solution. Filter and wash with distilled water until the filtrate is neutral to litmus; suck the solid as dry as possible. Transfer the residue to a small mortar, add 100 ml. of ethyl alcohol and triturate with a pestle for 5-10 minutes. Filter through a dry Buchner funnel, wash twice with 25 ml. portions of ethanol, and continue the suction until most of the solvent has been removed. Dry the residue at 70° in a steam oven (or on a water bath). The yield of D.D.T., m.p. 107°, is 15 g. The perfectly pure compound, m.p. 108°, may be obtained by recrystallization from n-propyl alcohol (5 ml. per gram).

18 Jul, 2009 | Virgil


by middleknowledge - 18 Jul, 2009 - 13:58:36

Are the mosquitoes that bad at your place?


by Barry - 18 Jul, 2009 - 15:50:56
We lived in Madagascar in Antananarivo, in 1970.
Just before we got kicked out with guns to our back (because of the revolution when 2000 were killed right in front of the Inn where we had lived 2 weeks after we had left), I remember the vegetable and fruit market right in front of Inn.
I used to watch them cover the produce with news papers before they sprayed DDT over everything.

Crazy missionary family!


by Ed Darrell - 19 Jul, 2009 - 10:16:35
Why in the world would anybody want to make DDT?

by Ed Burley - 19 Jul, 2009 - 11:36:35
Prevent malaria. Darn near eradicated it before the eco-freakos got it banned. Now, malaria is back killing humans.

btw, it's July 19th, and the temperature is in the 60s here in Michigan. Same bunch worked to ban DDT, with the same junk science, that is claiming global, I mean climate change - which happens 4 times a year in our part of the planet. Always has, always will - because God is on the Throne.

by Theolog - 19 Jul, 2009 - 13:20:34
If god is on the throne then let Him take of the environment. They have far deadlier poisons now and are using them now. More people are dieing from chemical and radiation cause cancer than mosquitoes ever did. Or are not aware that we are in the mist of the largest cancer epidemic ever recorded?? Even wild fish are getting cancer.

by Virgil - 19 Jul, 2009 - 21:03:32
Well, the answer would be "why not" make DDT? I used to play with this stuff when I was a kid and it worked wonders on mosquitoes in the flats where I grew up.

The issue is not that I'll sit down and make this any time soon, the issue is that it's "banned" and this recipe is apparently hard to come by. The more a government is trying to repress and hide information, the more people will try to find it and make it public.

Bottom line is that I believe that the banning of DDT has killed tens of thousands of people - the use should be encouraged and monitored, not banned completely at the expense of suffering third-world folks.

by Ed Burley - 20 Jul, 2009 - 21:47:23
If god is on the throne then let Him take of the environment.

IF God is on the throne? Now, there's a Red-Letter statement for you? I of course am assuming that in the second part of your truncated sentence you meant to say "take CARE of the environment." To which I say, HE IS.

They have far deadlier poisons now and are using them now. More people are dieing from chemical and radiation cause cancer than mosquitoes ever did.

Yes, and those "poisons" were developed to replace DDT, which was much safer. Thanks to the eco-freakos, we now have more pollution. Just like the eco-freakos worked to ban burning, and now we have landfills. Yep, that sure helped the environment - dumping trash instead of getting rid of it the way God intended (that's why he created fire). Oh, and the word is DYING, unless you mean that the people were changing colors.

Or are not aware that we are in the mist of the largest cancer epidemic ever recorded?? Even wild fish are getting cancer.

Again, I think you mean "midst." And yes, I am concerned about cancer. I do find it interesting that "wild fish" are getting cancer. Can I presume that domesticated fish aren't then? If so, wouldn't that tell us that privately owned fish have a better survival rate? So private ownership is better for the environment than government ownership, since it is technically the governments that "own" the waterways.

Good try though Paul. Your first statement dethroning God sure made it easy...

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