How is camphor made?
The creation of synthetic camphor starts with the distillation of turpentine to yield pinene. After that, the pinene is dried gradually and converted into bornyl chloride which is more commonly known as artificial camphor by exposing it with dry hydrochloric acid gas. The left over solid is then changed by a number of patented chemical processes into camphene by extracting the hydrochloric acid with cresol, alkali, aniline and phenol. The production of camphor is a very tricky business and you need to know about basic chemistry in order to make it and be careful with the substances at the same time.
The uses of camphor
It is very commonly used in a lot of different industrial applications. It is important in creating polyvinyl chloride, various plastics and cellulose nitrate. Furthermore, it is also a plasticizer in lacquers and paints, and it balances out the effect of smokeless gun powder pyrotechnics. Moreover, it is used in pharmaceuticals for home usage as anti infectives and antipruritics along with in rubefacient medications that help ease itching and pain. Among other things it is also present in over the counter medicines such as ear drops and cough treatments.
Camphene is changed easily into synthetic camphor by oxidating it wih oxygen, ozone, potassium permanganate or some other oxidizing agents if it is in small batches. Unluckily, this cannot happen on a large scale, and further steps are required if you want huge quantities of synthetic camphor. On the other hand, if you need large amounts of camphor, then the camphene is chemically change to isobornyl acetate along with glacial acetic acid. It is then separated and converted by alcoholic sodium hydroxide into isoborneol. Once it is purified, it is oxidized by sulphuric and nitric acids into the final syhtetic camphor product and in huge amounts.