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Most preparations for nitrocellulose from KNO3+H2SO4 mixture require the use of an ice bath during the process of dissolving KNO3 into H2SO4. Last time I did this I omitted this step and the nitrocellulose turned out to be of very low quality, but theres a number of other possible causes I can think of. Therefore, for the sake of troubleshooting I have this question: What is the purpose of an ice bath during this step? Is it to just limit the fuming, or does omitting it lead to decomposition of HNO3 significant enough to impact the yield? I did not see any brown NO2 fumes coming out, just the typical white mist of acid

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    $\begingroup$ What generally can happen if you run an (exothermic) reaction at a higher starting temperature? $\endgroup$ – Karl Jan 3 at 11:11
  • $\begingroup$ It is an exothermic reaction and generates a lot of heat. $\endgroup$ – Nilay Ghosh Jan 3 at 11:32
  • $\begingroup$ It's not very exothermic, I imagine I'd have to dump all KNO3 at once to see it runaway. So it's just an additional safety measure? $\endgroup$ – Francis L. Jan 3 at 11:51
  • $\begingroup$ Its certainly also a safety measure. You are aware that there are three different basic types of nitrocellulose (mono, di, trinitrate) ? $\endgroup$ – Karl Jan 3 at 14:45

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