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Author: Subject: Common accidents in the lab and how to avoid them
chief
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[*] posted on 9-10-2008 at 15:16


==> Care to never over-heat Teflon, since many chemists died a miserable death from maybe 1breath-intake of the fumes (professor said so)
==> don't heat metal-powder with sulfur, may be very explosive,since at the ignition-point everything is already hot (Mg + S (powder), heated in a furnace, will make a big explosion)
==> beware of spurious Arsenic-content in metals, that dissolve in acid (eg. Zn), since the arsenic forms with hydrogen arsenic-hydrogen,_very_poisonous_ (more than HCN)
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[*] posted on 9-10-2008 at 17:49


I have done that too Picric (lcukily not with anything dangerous....yet)

Also, watch out for reactions that bubble a lot more than you think...

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Picric-A
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[*] posted on 9-10-2008 at 23:15


Chief- that is very true but nowerdays thigns like zinc flashing has almost all the arsenic removed due to health and sefety reasons ect...
Lab grade Zn granules/powder are pretty much free of arsenic.
But good warning- always best to be on the safe side...
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cnidocyte
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[*] posted on 31-1-2011 at 13:24


A lesson I just learned. Never turn on the stirrer if the solution is already boiling/bumping. I was distilling HCl just there and the solution was bumping. I had a magnetic stirrer in there and decided to turn on the stirrer then WHOOOOSHHHH, the still head flies off and the flask spits out boiling hot hydrochloric acid, some of which gets in the hot oil bath which causes the whole thing to erupt. Its amazing I escaped all that without any 3rd degree burns. I'll never make this kinda mistake again.
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Magpie
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[*] posted on 31-1-2011 at 13:35


Quote: Originally posted by chief  
==> Care to never over-heat Teflon, since many chemists died a miserable death from maybe 1breath-intake of the fumes (professor said so)
==> don't heat metal-powder with sulfur, may be very explosive,since at the ignition-point everything is already hot (Mg + S (powder), heated in a furnace, will make a big explosion)
==> beware of spurious Arsenic-content in metals, that dissolve in acid (eg. Zn), since the arsenic forms with hydrogen arsenic-hydrogen,_very_poisonous_ (more than HCN)


Chief those are some very good warnings! I occaisionally work with ores (Cu, Zn, Au, etc) and usually do dissolve them in acid or reduce them in a furnace. So it is indeed wise to do ore processing in a hood. You never really know what they contain, and very often do have arsenic.

I have proabaly been a little careless with heating Teflon also, not really realizing how lethal this could be. Thanks.




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[*] posted on 31-1-2011 at 13:46


Wear gloves and safety goggles at all times. It's amazing I haven't lost my eyesight or suffered from serious burns yet.

Make sure you have several types of thick gloves. Nitrile is my favourite, but it does NOT protect against e.g. concentrated nitric acid. 99% HNO<sub>3</sub> will ignite nitrile, not a scenario you would like to witness first hand (pun intended :P ).

Never ever add boiling stones after you have heated up your reaction mixture. I learned that the hard way when distilling acetone from a solution of benzoic acid. I don't want to think about how it could have been if it was a strong acid or something toxic.

Squirt bottles! Buy at least 3 of them. One with distilled water, one with dilute acetic acid and one with a sodium (bi)carbonate solution. If you work with bromine I recommend getting one for a sodium thiosulfate solution as well. These things are extremely handy to have standing around. One for acetone is extremely handy for cleaning purposes.
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