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Author: Subject: Where to Experiment?
CommonScientist
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"Another option is venting it into the bathroom with the fan running, drawing the fumes out the top. This may smell up your bathroom, and make it unusable, but it's the better choice if you don't have a chimney. "

I dont think that would be a good idea - you would just fill up your attic with explosive vapours, then one spark sets it off then PRESTO - you dont have a roof, ceiling ect.

\"rules are for the guidence of the wise, and the blind obedience of fools\"
International Hazard

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Registered: 9-7-2004
Location: Maine
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Mood: Enjoying retirement

Where ?

Depends on what I'm doing. If it goes BOOM then it's in a patch of
woods far away from my residence. I've made KClO3 and KClO4 and
managed to vent the chlorine out of the apartment without problems
that might draw the attention of my neighbors. Hence, my research
for an anode that can be completely submerged to minimize the
loss of chlorine.

From opening of NCIS New Orleans - It goes a BOOM ! BOOM ! BOOM ! MUHAHAHAHAHAHAHA !
thalium
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Mood:

I concentrated H2SO4 on my balcony without drawing attention. I have mostly old people in the building and they usually stay watching TV and the building on the other side is almost in the same situation: old people or people that are mostly at work

I don\'t believe in ghosts but they believe in me

Hell was full so I came back..
Zinc
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I live in a house so I have no problems with conducting experiments. All my neighbours and friends know what I am doing (including pyrotehnics) and nobody has anything against that.

quicksilver
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In so far as energetic materials; one of the best things to find is an old well. The majority of sound moves directly up, is taken by considerable volume of the well hole itself, and is muted by the considerable distance it must tarvel. aside that it is quite safe. The material is lowered by string or dropped w/ fuse, etc. It is astounding how much sound can be muted by a well. If one is close by there is a "whump" but if the listener is any more than 30 yds away there is a bearly audable sound. The issue of retrieving the material or object casing can also be overcome by simple use of cable, etc.

YT2095
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I also am a 40 year old Family man with a lovely wife and baby daughter (20 months old today), I have no problem doing experiments in my Lab, its an Annex to the house the door In/Out leads directly into the house.

the difference being is that I dont do anything in way of Dangerous projects and the ones I May do are always in milligram quantities or less (Ide have absolutely no use for as much as single blasting cap even) it doesnt interest me.
larger scale things that can be dangerous in way of gasses etc, I set up scrubbers, it can take me an entire morning to set up the glassware alone for even simple things like making Ammonia soln, but I see all that as just "part of the fun".

Mega dangerous such as Hydrazine or Cyanides are done outside and again in Very Tiny amounts, I guess Im a bit of a "Chicken" really

any Pyro stuff I write down and make a few days before an event so I can use with impunity, events like Nov 5th or New Years.

I highly recommend the purchase of extra glassware and tubing and construct simple scrubbers, long term theyre worth their weight in Gold

AND the scrubber soln can be used to make further chems to your stock also, so its not like its even getting wasted, IE/ I used dilute HCl as a scrubber for Ammonia soln this morning, this will make some good ammonium chloride when evaporated and I didnt stink the house out

Just a thought.

[Edited on 14-2-2007 by YT2095]

\"In a world full of wonders mankind has managed to invent boredom\" - Death
Twinkies don\'t have a shelf life. They have a half-life! -Caine (a friend of mine)
woelen

Posts: 7779
Registered: 20-8-2005
Location: Netherlands
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Mood: interested

I also have a family and my age is 41 at the moment of writing this, and I do my experiments inside the house. I made a small room, where I do my experiments, and nowhere else in my house there are chems (other than the usual cleaning stuff).

I do microscale experiments and mostly aqueous inorganic chemistry and very small-scale energetics experiments. Sometimes, when gases like Cl2 and so on are produced in somewhat larger quantities I do experiments in the backyard, but only isolated things, such a single beaker or test tube. I do not have the room for setting up larger apparatus, but in the near future, I hope to make a larger room, such that I have a little more space.

But the most important thing is, do small-scale experimenting, frequently this is as informative as larger scale experiments.

The art of wondering makes life worth living...
Want to wonder? Look at https://woelen.homescience.net
quicksilver
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This has been an interesting thread. I think that if I lived in a city however and had small children (mine are grown) I would most likely rethink my hobbiest activities. -I hear the "paranoia perspective" of nosy neighbors, etc and personally I wouldn't do any clandestine lab affair other than perhaps a "dark-room" in a garage. As a matter of fact I couldn't imagine -=enjoying=- hobbiest rocket or pyro stuff without living way out in a rural area. If one is responsible (and most of the people who have posted seem that way) and are adults (most over 40) the idea of exposing anyone to any possible hearm or the community to any risk is to be avoided at all costs....so really the only way to even consider this in a city is deal with it on a "seriously micro level". But what would that entail? My initial thinking is that if it can't be don't in the kitchen sink, it should be avoided.
However having had children ; I am ever watchful of poisons (metals, etc) in the home and a lab is full of just those things one does NOT want one's children being exposed to....it's a tough and personal call. I think if my kid was still in the house I would read more than experiment (which is actually what I do by default).

woelen

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Quicksilver, I agree with you as far as pyrotechnics is concerned. This simply cannot be done safely inside a house.
However, general experimenting (e.g. in aqueous solutions) can be done safely, provided
1) The experiments are done in a separate room and no chems are spread throughout the house. One has to be careful for low-level but long-term exposure in the house, hence the strict separation from other rooms.
2) Kids (and pets) are not allowed access to the lab, and the lab is closed with a lock when you are not present in the lab.

I have two kids of 8 and 10 years old, and especially the younger one really likes the experimenting. She really knows that the lab is not for her, when she is alone, but I sometimes let her watch nice experiments (e.g. changing colors in solution, or nice flashes with oxidizer/reductor mixes, done outside).

The art of wondering makes life worth living...
Want to wonder? Look at https://woelen.homescience.net
gregxy
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If you use common sense, courtesy and small quantities you are not likely to get in trouble.

When I was a kid I used to make M80s and set them off in
the yard all the time (in a normal residential neighborhood)
the neighbors knew that I did it but did not call the police
because they knew I was a nice kid. As long as I did it on my
property and did not make too much noise calling the police doesn't serve any purpose. Most people like to avoid trouble.

Even though the police could arrest you for having certain
chemicals, as long as they are in small amounts & not a
safety hazzard they are most likely to leave you alone or tell
you to get rid of the stuff. Sending a hobbiest to jail does
not help anyone and most law enforcement people probably
have enough experience judging character to tell a hobbiest
from a terrorist or drug maker.
quicksilver
International Hazard

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There is a whole question of simple experimentation such as crystal growing, purification of and/or making reagents vs noise/fire/smoke. Were I to view this question in the context of the former I can't see any issue with using a separate room, etc. most anywhere. But neighbors are human beings and a sudden noise is upsetting to most folks. I personally wouldn't want loud noise jostling me at odd hours. I think the most important factor is empathy toward another's living space.

16MillionEyes
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Living in an apartment myself (and in a city) this has proven to be extremly difficult. Tons of things that I would love to do are closed shut right in front of my face.
Being a chemistry major and all I just feel like fish out of water. I really have not been able to solve this problem so I've resigned myself to my kitchen. It's truly a shame.
obsessed_chemist
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Setting up a series of scrubbers can be tricky and a hassle, but it's your only opition if you're going to be working with noxious/flammable gases and solvents.
tito-o-mac
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Do it in plain field, forest or simply a lab!
YT2095
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 Quote: Originally posted by tito-o-mac Do it in plain field, forest or simply a lab!

thats not at all useful is it!

if they Had a Lab then this question wouldnt be asked in the first place, and secondly in a "forest or field" is so exceptionally impractical for the most part that it introduces an entirely New set of dangers and hazards in itself.

it`s not a very well thought out answer is it.

\"In a world full of wonders mankind has managed to invent boredom\" - Death
Twinkies don\'t have a shelf life. They have a half-life! -Caine (a friend of mine)
jarynth
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 Quote: Originally posted by woelen 2) Kids (and pets) are not allowed access to the lab, and the lab is closed with a lock when you are not present in the lab. I have two kids of 8 and 10 years old, and especially the younger one really likes the experimenting. She really knows that the lab is not for her, when she is alone, but I sometimes let her watch nice experiments (e.g. changing colors in solution, or nice flashes with oxidizer/reductor mixes, done outside).

Dear woelen, I always read your posts with interest and appreciate your rigor. You seem to conduct serious and safe experiments and your cool site proves it. So I would hate for this to sound like a personal attack; it is merely an obsevation.

I understand your obvious concern with the safety of the ones you love. While you seem to approve of your daughter's interest for what you do in the attic, I would expect more of you than just letting her watch nice color transitions (the underlying chemistry is undoubtedly non-trivial, but the visual appeal and entertainment level is close to the coke + menthos experiment). I would love to see you teach her chemistry hands on, hiring her as your "assistant", and even letting her work by herself under your supervision (be it only with harmless chemicals, with tons of protective gear, etc).

I don't need to discuss the didactical and inspirational value of such experience. Some of us already started experimenting with home chemisty at that age, if not earlier. I recall how sad I was when I didn't get the big chemistry set because the box read '14+ years', and I had to stick with the plain jane starter kit for a while. Don't you remember how frustrating it was whenever a store asked for proof of age?

Young chemists are frowned upon, while adults don't set off the radar quite so often, but with their accumulated knowledge and disillusionment they're arguably more dangerous than the kids. The controls happen for a reason, but as pointed out extensively in this section, in practice the rule is highly subjective.

I say don't choke her curiosity. When do you expect her to be ready for indipendent experimenting? At 18, when she's already overwhelmed with heart matters, the end of high school and the start of college? It might be too late, and you will be regretting not having "passed on" your passion.

Why do we complain when chemical retailers record, restrict or ban sales to (even ***adult***) individuals? I find all complaints about the 'nanny state' a hypocritical symptom of a double standard.

[Edited on 3-9-2008 by jarynth]
MagicJigPipe
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 Quote: Why do we complain when chemical retailers record, restrict or ban sales to (even ***adult***) individuals? I find all complaints about the 'nanny state' a hypocritical symptom of a double standard.

Are you serious? You like the idea of the government telling you what you can and can't do? You like living in a "nanny state"? Do you think that all even slightly hazardous chemicals should be banned or restricted? Do you not like privacy?

Also, please explain your last sentence. I don't understand what you mean. What is this double standard and why am I a hypocrite because I don't like the idea of a "nanny state"?

And if you truly have these beliefs, tell us why, please. Tell us a little about yourself. What led you to begin thinking this way?

[Edited on 9-4-2008 by MagicJigPipe]

"There must be no barriers to freedom of inquiry ... There is no place for dogma in science. The scientist is free, and must be free to ask any question, to doubt any assertion, to seek for any evidence, to correct any errors. ... We know that the only way to avoid error is to detect it and that the only way to detect it is to be free to inquire. And we know that as long as men are free to ask what they must, free to say what they think, free to think what they will, freedom can never be lost, and science can never regress." -J. Robert Oppenheimer
jarynth
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There appears to be some misunderstanding. I'm highligting the hypocrisy of a double standard. I don't see how you can (based on this alone) infer my position as being either on the 'safety' side or on the 'freedom' side.

My last sentence must not be taken out of context. The double standard I'm talking about is easily illustrated: we forbid our kids to play with chemicals, yet we cringe when the nanny state does the same with us. It shows how the governmental paternalism stems from an innate individual impulse. But if we decide (and we do) to fight the administrative regulations, for consistency's sake we must fight all forms of paternalism. We must condone, and possibly even encourage, indipendent expermentation.

To put it simply, it was ok for us to take apart firecrackers, yet we find it unacceptable if our own kids do it? Are we blaming our moms and dads with bad parenting because we got away with it?

 Quote: What is this double standard and why am I a hypocrite because I don't like the idea of a "nanny state"?

You don't like that idea, and that's fine. What makes you a hypocrite is when you nonetheless play 'nanny state' with your kids (or the fellow citizen, by and large).

[Edited on 4-9-2008 by jarynth]
Magpie
lab constructor

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Mood: Chemistry: the subtle science.

This is an interesting question and I think jarynth has a valid point about a degree of hypocrisy.

When I was a child growing up in the 40's and 50's it seems like my parents were much less involved in my extra-curricular activities. My mother wanted me to take up tap dancing like other little kids. But I hated this and I was never so glad as when she said that I didn't have to go to those awful lessons anymore. So after school my friends and I were on our own until dinner time. Yes, we built rockets, played with gun powder, and made burning stink bombs. And boy did we have fun with firecrackers! My parents bought a chemistry set for me when I was 13 or 14. There was little or no supervision and there was a lot that went on that I'm glad they never found out about.

Now, when we raised our boys they were involved in cub scouts and as many sporting activities as we could get them to take, and my wife was a hands on supervisor. But they still had sword fights, made match guns, and later told me that they had done "a lot of shit" that it's better I never found out about.

So, yes, we were much more nannys than our parents, and yes, I do hate the nanny state.
woelen

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Registered: 20-8-2005
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Mood: interested

 Quote: I understand your obvious concern with the safety of the ones you love. While you seem to approve of your daughter's interest for what you do in the attic, I would expect more of you than just letting her watch nice color transitions (the underlying chemistry is undoubtedly non-trivial, but the visual appeal and entertainment level is close to the coke + menthos experiment). I would love to see you teach her chemistry hands on, hiring her as your "assistant", and even letting her work by herself under your supervision (be it only with harmless chemicals, with tons of protective gear, etc).
You probably didn't read my posts over here about the chemistry party I have given for both bitrthday parties of my youngest and eldest daughter. In those parties they were allowed to do experiments themselves (with NaHCO3 + dilute acetic acid, ferric chloride + K4Fe(CN)6, pH - indicators and some acids + bases), and not only two kids, but 10 kids per party, each working in groups of 2 or 3. These parties were very good and the parents of those kids also liked these parties very much.

To our eldest daughter I try to explain what happens in the chemical reactions. I explain that atoms are rearranged and that there only are a few tens of kinds of atoms, but that by combining them a bazillion different compounds can be formed. I even explained to her the concept op isomers, with CH3CH2OH and CH3-O-CH3 as examples. But not all of these things I write on sciencemadness. This might be a good idea for a thread though. People with children, what do they do with their kids?

The art of wondering makes life worth living...
Want to wonder? Look at https://woelen.homescience.net
chloric1
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Its hard with a 3 year old. I mean I really can only have her watch. I let her put magnesium strip in the thermite or sometimes I let her drop the stir bar into the beaker if nothing caustic could possibly splash. Otherwise, she is now just a spectator. Obviously, she does not yet understand the science yet but I am just trying to get her to have the visual experience. Later I will have her participate in setup and when she gets some math skills I will have her make calculations.

I figure if I tell her just the very basics right now that I can build an interest in science in general. I can't wait until she is in school so I can by the little homeschooling kits and maybe creating my own!

In the theater of life its nice to know where the exit doors are located.
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 Sciencemadness Discussion Board » Non-chemistry » Legal and Societal Issues » Where to Experiment? Select A Forum Fundamentals   » Chemistry in General   » Organic Chemistry   » Reagents and Apparatus Acquisition   » Beginnings   » Responsible Practices   » Miscellaneous   » The Wiki Special topics   » Technochemistry   » Energetic Materials   » Biochemistry   » Radiochemistry   » Computational Models and Techniques   » Prepublication Non-chemistry   » Forum Matters   » Legal and Societal Issues