Sciencemadness Discussion Board

Acetone Fog in a Dropper

Bromolone - 3-6-2020 at 07:42

I live in a region where the temperature stays quite above 36oC nowadays, and a few days back I was working on a condensation reaction with acetone.

The moment I let a dropper get some acetone from a sealed 400mL bottle I bought from the store, it filled with a dense white fog, which couldn't be cleared up with soap, detergent, or NaOH solution. I then let it soak overnight, and it stayed the same.

The dropper is made of some sort of plastic that came with a medicine vial, not glass.

The fog, I think, is due to the sudden evaporation of acetone. What could clean it up?

(If acids might help clean up, how would they do it?
I do not have acids available right now but 6% H2O2. I prefer avoiding any acetone peroxide.)

Tsjerk - 3-6-2020 at 07:52

Sounds like a plastic that can't stand acetone, I have seen this quite often, nothing you can do to fix it. The plastic is probably fine to use, but the white fog is not going to disappear.

Bromolone - 3-6-2020 at 08:02


Sounds like a plastic that can't stand acetone

Seems like, strongly. Is this why plastics, in general, are discouraged from usage with almost any organic liquid?

I can't get how do they mess up with organics. Polymer chain break-ups?

[EDIT]: Acetone is the "most universal" organic solvent I have ever encountered and I don't remember using it for solvent extractions. A quick search on the web reveals PVC and polystyrene are readily dissolved in it, and there are a couple of YouTube videos on dissolution of certain plastics in acetone... Why is acetone able to break these polymers?

[Edited on 3-6-2020 by Bromolone]

Sulaiman - 3-6-2020 at 16:48

I've used polyethylene pipettes with acetone and not noticed any interaction,
maybe the pipette that you have has a plasticizer that is being leached out by the acetone?

Tsjerk - 4-6-2020 at 01:25

When I buy acetone it comes in HD-PE bottles, also polypropylene is supposed to be fine for acetone.

Bromolone - 5-6-2020 at 08:02

@Tsjerk: Turns out my acetone bottle is also HDPE.

@Sulaiman: I believe either the plastic I've used is incompatible (I don't see any signs of melting or degradation and I've observed no contamination of the liquid being transferred via the foggy dropper), or some additives in it reacted with the acetone. The temperature change was drastic but I did not see such fogginess in a glass dropper.
I remember the fogginess in the plastic dropper appeared almost instantly.

For obvious concerns, I leave this dropper for inorganic uses only. :P

[Edited on 5-6-2020 by Bromolone]