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To make $\ce{NaOH}$ one could electrolyze a solution of $\ce{NaCl}$ in water ($\ce{H2O}$) It would go like this:

$$\ce{2H2O_{(l)} + 2Cl-_{(aq)} + 2Na+_{(aq)} -> H2_{(g)} + Cl2_{(g)} + Na+_{(aq)} + 2OH-_{(aq)}}$$

After calculating a bit, I found that even just a few minutes of electrolyzing this at $10\ \mathrm{A}$ could be deadly.

Can anybody confirm this?

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If the cell is mixed, you would make bleach, sodium hypochlorite and some free chlorine (and probably chew up your anode). Since the solution is not very basic, hypochlorite would probably disproportionate to chlorite, and that possibly to chlorate.

One mole of electrons is one faraday, about 96 500 coulombs. One ampere is one coulomb per second. Five minutes passes $(5\ \mathrm{min})(60\ \mathrm{s/min})(10\ \mathrm{C/s}) = 3000\ \mathrm{C}$ or $0.031\ \mathrm{F}$ in a reaction that requires two moles input for each mole of chlorine. $0.01554\ \mathrm{mol}$ chlorine or $350\ \mathrm{ml}$ at STP, tops. It wouldn’t be good for you.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you again for your answer. I found this on a Web page explaining how to make NaOH, but no mention of the dangers. $\endgroup$ – Friend of Kim Feb 15 '14 at 9:37
  • $\begingroup$ You buy it - lye. If you make it, a diaphragm cell to rpevent mixing of compartments. $\endgroup$ – Uncle Al Feb 15 '14 at 23:58

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