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The precipitate made from sea water contains milk of magnesia (Mg(OH)2), which precipitates approximately around the same pH range that m-state does.

Here are four methods to separate Mg(OH)2 from m-state:
1. Suppose you just made a precipitate by adding lye solution to sea water. The precipitate is m-state mixed with Mg(OH)2.
2. Use a syringe to remove the liquid over the precipitate, and discard the liquid. This leaves only the m-state/Mg(OH)2 precipitate.
3. To the wet precipitate, add hydrochloric acid (HCl) until you reduce the pH to 1.0 - 3.5. You can use muriatic acid (31% HCl) from a hardware store, but lab-grade HCl is less likely to be contaminated. A safe alternative to HCl is distilled white vinegar.
4. The white colloidal precipitate should dissolve, leaving a clear solution.
5. Add lye solution VERY SLOWLY drop-by-drop to bring the pH back up to 8.5 - 8.7. The precipitate that forms should be m-state mostly free of Mg(OH)2 (because m-state precipitates in this pH range, and Mg(OH)2 does not precipitate until pH 9.)
Note that your total yield may be diminished because you are not going past pH 8.7.
6. Remove the liquid above the precipitate, and wash the precipitate. It should be mostly m-state.

# METHOD 2: This procedure removes the Mg(OH)2 by dissolving it below pH 9. First get some HCl (or muriatic acid) and coffee filters. A safer alternative to HCl is distilled white vinegar.
1. Dry the precipitate in a dark oven at about 275 degrees F for one or two hours. This forms a dry powder.
2. Take the dry powder and pulverize out any clumps.
3. In a glass container, cover the powder with some distilled water. For example, one liter of water for one cup of powder.
4. Add HCl or distilled white vinegar drop-by-drop to bring the pH to 5 or 6.
5. Shake the bottle and let it sit overnight. The dried m-state should not dissolve at that pH, but the Mg(OH)2 should dissolve.
6. The next day, after all the Mg(OH)2 has dissolved, pour everything into filter paper.
7.  Wash the powder collected in the filter paper several times with distilled water to remove any residual traces of HCl or vinegar.
8. The washed powder may be oven-dried again at about 275 degrees F, and you should have m-state powder free of Mg(OH)2.

1. Dry the original precipitate at about 200 degrees F.
2. Mix the resulting powder with distilled white vinegar or 30% HCl. Everything which does not dissolve in m-state. This will be quite a small amount if you start with sea water. (If you mix pure HCl with distilled water, remember: ADD ACID TO WATER, NEVER ADD WATER TO ACID).
3. Measure the amount of HCl/m-state solution (or vinegar/m-state solution).
4. Add distilled water to the HCl/m-state solution. Add an amount of water that is at least ten times the amount of HCl/m-state solution. (You may substitute distilled white vinegar for HCl).
5. Filter the solution through 5 layers of coffee filters.
6. Wash the powder at least three times in a large amount of distilled water.

1. Starting with clean wet precipitate, add lye to bring the pH up to 12. The m-state precipitate will dissolve, but magnesium hydroxide and the Gilcrest precipitate will not.
2. Filter out the precipitate.
3. To the remaining liquid containing only m-state, add HCl or distilled white vinegar drop-by-drop until the pH reaches 8.5.
4. Add lye solution drop-by-drop to bring the pH back up to 10.78. The resulting precipitate should be only m-state.
5. Wash the precipitate as described earlier.
6. To be safe, check the pH of the precipitate slurry. It should be 9 or less before ingesting.  

Washing three times is intended to reduce the dissolved "impurities" (like salt, for example) by 87.5%. Four washes would provide a 93.75% reduction, five washes a 96.875% reduction, and so on.    

The actual precipitation step usually takes me about an hour once I begin stirring. You would want to go slower until you gain some experience. Then the wash steps take a minimum of 24 hours each if you want to have a good separation. Again the time a precipitation step takes depends largely upon your chosen starting source material.  



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