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Author: Subject: The Wump Incident
Abromination
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[*] posted on 22-2-2019 at 19:43


Quote: Originally posted by fusso  
OMG why were you wearing shoes on a bed/ward?! Σ(゚Д゚|||)

Judging by the fact his wound is not cleaned yet, he probably had not been there very long. I bust my chin mountain biking a few months ago and throughout the stitches I never removed my shoe (I suppose I was not there long, maybe 4 hours, I left quickly to preform in a concert which I still missed)




List of materials made by ScienceMadness.org users:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1nmJ8uq-h4IkXPxD5svnT...
--------------------------------
Elements Collected: H, Li, B, C, N, O, Mg, Al, Si, P, S, Fe, Ni, Cu, Zn, Ag, I, Au, Pb, Bi, Am
Last Acquired: B
Next: Na
--------------
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barbs09
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[*] posted on 23-2-2019 at 05:00
Not quite a "wump" moment


Well, this story doesn't involve a "wump" moment per se, but does contain a fuck up that landed two of us in the Emergency department (with a happy ending).

Many years ago as a geology post grad at Uni, I used to help out around the lab. We had a prof that used a fair amount of hydrofluoric acid, mainly for etching feldspar in determining their composition chemically, amongst. other things.

I was asked to have a hand in disposing around 20l of "used" HF, that was apparently heavily diluted. The prof was the kind that believed in common sense over the excessive use of PPE... and this was before the days of abundant law suites.

Anyway the prof said take the container outside and tip down the drain, which incidentally was in a semi public area.

As soon as the HF met the concrete and aluminium drain, much effervescence and steam was created along with, I believe, a strong smell. Our prof said this was the most environmentally safe way of disposing it as it would be instantly diluted in the sewer.

Curious passer-byres enquired into what we were doing, upon which we naively told them... Being discrete was not part of our briefing!!

It didn't take long for emergency services to arrive, whom quickly doused the drain with thousands of litres of water... An official asked us what we were pouring down the drain, and he must have thought we said "hydrochloric" acid and not "hydrofluoric" acid. Looking back they likely googled (probably Netscaped) what they thought I said and got "hydrochloric", which is what the reporter on the scene also wrote in the newspaper the next day.

Once the scene dissipated, he got called into the proctors office and they interviewed us. When we said HF shit hit the fan. We were dropped outside Accident and Emergency. Upon telling the nurse that we may have been exposed to HF, which I am almost certain we didn't come into contact with, she shuffled off. Meanwhile, knowing how insidious the stuff was (after some reading ourselves), we were amazed that they weren't taking it more seriously.

A good 3/4 of an hour later, and very worried doctor came out and said "did you say hydrofluoric acid?" It was after the answer to that question that things sped up a bit!!!

We were decontaminated etc, nothing else said. Next day at uni, it was like it never happened.. Ahhh the good ol days... :)
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XeonTheMGPony
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[*] posted on 23-2-2019 at 16:46


Well I'm glad you made it through ok! not oft you get second chances in the em field.
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[*] posted on 24-2-2019 at 14:19


That was a truly lucky break! Glad you are ok j_sum!

Our own bad judgement is the first danger we should be aware of when conducting any experiment....all else comes after. It's so easy to have a "hiccup upstairs" that ends in an impulsive bad move.
The Creator knows I've had my share of them occur over the ages. In retrospective I often think "Like for real?? What was going on in my brian?"

I mean my frustrated and youth fueled attempt at relighting a failed "whump" device based on tripper purple+Al and burning the big jesus out of my hand is somehow understandable....with fingernails detaching and all. But cutting open a live rimfire round at the rim, now that one defies all reason. Still got the scars to remind me to not go full retard again.




Exact science is a figment of imagination.......
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C6(NO2)5CH2CH(CH3)N(NO2)2
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[*] posted on 26-2-2019 at 14:28


Wow. quite an experience! It's easy to make mistakes, but it takes real courage to admit to them. In this case, you are also doing a public service by letting the rest us of study the accident so as not to repeat it.

You have already drawn a lot of good conclusions from this accident, about safety in general chemistry, and it will remind me to wear protective equipment, do research before making a composition, and proceed with caution when trying any new reaction.

A few other things this mishap highlights:

Armstrong's mix is just plain nasty. It's reputation for going off accidentally is known widely, but not universally. I think chances are fair that someone who is planning to make some will read this board and He'll decide against it.

It's better to handle a small explosive holding it by an empty part of the casing, cable, etc than to have the "live" part up against your skin. I have this feeling that if you'd been mixing the composition while holding the bottom of the beaker, you might have lost a finger. Holding the top limited the damage to fragments. It's not always possible to hold a charge like this, but it helps when you can. I seem to recall that a kiloton of TNT creates 400psi at 200ft, 70 psi at 400ft, and maybe 15 psi at 800ft. For small explosions, it scales with the cube root of the mass, so for one kg the distances are more or less 2,4,8 ft, or 2.4,4.8, and 9.6 inches for a gram.

Thin plastic and cardboard containers are less likely to create hazardous fragments. You can't use them for every energetic experiment, but it's great when you can.

And, not only for chemistry but for life in general (work, home improvement, cooking, driving, etc.), it's good to note that medical services are not always available right away. Half an hour is a long time to have to manage your own medical emergency. Good thinking keeping your hand closed to stop bleeding. First aid tips like that are very important to keeping yourself alive while waiting for the EMT's to show up. A first aid kit in the lab is not a bad idea, either.

I'm glad your doctor wasn't to suspicious of the injury. I imagine it would be easier to explain getting my ass kicked at the bar, than to explain hurting my hand with an explosive. I would have probably lied and said I'd fell while holding the glassware, and then probably been discovered and still had explaining to do.

By the way, at the beginning you mentioned retelling a day in the lab as a Ludlum novel as being a "Whimsy thread." What's that?

Glad you are going to heal okay. Thanks for sharing.





[Edited on 26-2-2019 by C6(NO2)5CH2CH(CH3)N(NO2)2]




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[*] posted on 5-3-2019 at 07:50


Damn dude, you got all of us with that last photo



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[*] posted on 8-3-2019 at 09:41


That X-Ray photograph looks like one of the background images for an optimism poster which one might see decorating the office of a school nurse with poor taste. I suspect that those who see it will be less apt to throw caution to the wind when handling explosives in the future!

Glad you're OK man, usually the explosive mishaps that people bother to report here end with permanent injuries, so I suspect that everyone is thankful that this went differently!




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[*] posted on 9-3-2019 at 18:03


Time for some updates and responses to some of the comments.

The first round of X-rays did not precisely show the location of the glass. The surgeon asked the radiographer to get some pics with me making the "OK" symbol. It seemed funny at the time. The only record I could get was a hastily snapped copy of the computer screen.

It seems that they had to do quite a bit of additional cutting to extract the glass. Here is the shot just before the 23 stitches came out.
2019-03-01 08.57.07.jpg - 179kB


I have not really been into the lab since -- so many other things in life to catch up on. But I did survey the aftermath. Here is my lab bench with shards of glass and a fine dusting of potassium chlorate all over the bench. The furthest fragment of glass I found was more than 2 metres away from the incident.
2019-02-28 12.56.58.jpg - 215kB


Blood on the concrete floor. All things considered, not much blood.
2019-02-28 12.57.07.jpg - 269kB


Fragments of glass on the bench.
2019-02-28 12.57.30.jpg - 272kB


My lab stool got shredded.
2019-02-28 12.57.44.jpg - 229kB


Marks in the cement sheeting I have on the back wall.
2019-02-28 12.58.34.jpg - 142kB
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[*] posted on 9-3-2019 at 18:12


Healing is going well.

A week after the stitches came out and it all looks pretty clean. Some scar tissue -- particularly internally. Still some swelling. The wound itself tingles but there is no nerve damage affecting the fingertips.
2019-03-10 09.12.54.jpg - 180kB


I did not get souvenirs of the glass-shards -- except for this one which I pulled out on the initial cleaning. This piece was fully submerged -- photographed beside the hole it came from. Other pieces were close to the bone.
2019-03-10 09.12.39.jpg - 175kB


I have a little damage to one tendon. Nothing that will compromise strength but enough to affect the way the tendon slides. I was expecting it to take months to get a full range of motion back. This fist inclines me to be more optimistic than that.
2019-03-10 10.55.58.jpg - 138kB
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[*] posted on 10-3-2019 at 02:09


Are you expecting a visit from the police/asio/counter terrorism J?
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[*] posted on 10-3-2019 at 02:28


Nope.
But if anyone does call, I simply tell them what happened.
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[*] posted on 10-3-2019 at 04:41


As some one with allot of deep scares and wounds on the hands (Combo of biking and growing up in the logging industry) Once fully healed, keep a regular stretching regimen and massage the scars. This helps make things more pliable again and promotes further healing.

Soaks in magnesium sulfate water that is warmed is a nice treat as well.

If you don't do the stretching exercises the scar tissue will contract and get a bit hard and make fine movement difficult at best.
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[*] posted on 10-3-2019 at 04:46


Thanks Xeon. Already started. I visit the hand clinic tomorrow for more information and some exercises.
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[*] posted on 11-3-2019 at 01:58


J_sum1, I just now notice this thread and I am glad to see that all goes well. That was a close call! If the glass had hit your face, things would have been much worse.

Two weeks ago, I again was shocked by the intense force of the Armstrong mix.
I made a little chemistry box for my 11 year old son. I made a nice booklet with it, with experiments and explanations of the observations. He really likes it. One of the experiments is making a TINY amount of armstrong mix. I had done each of the the experiments in the booklet myself, to be sure that they work if the instructions are followed (more or less). In the box I have some NaClO3 I made myself (in the EU you cannot buy chlorates anymore), consisting of crystals, 2 to 3 mm in size. In my own test, I took one of these crystals and crushed it with the back of a screw driver by hitting it once. To that I added a small pile of red P (appr. 3 mm high) and coarsely mixed this and then tapped with a long glass rod. In my experiments this usually gives a nice flash and a lot of smoke and a bang after two or three hits.

In the booklet I wrote that the NaClO3 has to be crunched very well and that a fine powder must be made. So my son was happily crunching, with the back of a small screwdriver with a metal end. The powder he made was really fine, like powdered sugar. He really put some effort in it.
Next, the booklet says he has to go outside and put a small amount of red phosphorus on the KClO3 on a flat glass surface (which is provided in the box as well). Not more than a 3 mm heap of loose powder. I told him not to use a stick or something for mixing. I took the amount and swirled cautiously, mixing the powder. Carefully with a piece of soft paper I moved the tiny amount into a small pile.
I told my son to take the glass rod, stand back and use a stretched arm to tap the pile. He did and there was an incredible BANG. We all had ringing ears (my daughter and her boy friend also were watching). My son was trembling after the bang and started crying.

One hour later, things were normal again. No injury, just being shocked by the insanely loud bang. I asked my son whether he wanted another experiment. He said "yes". When I asked which experiment, he said "The same experiment, but with smaller amounts" :D




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[*] posted on 14-7-2020 at 00:13


This is very good info what can happen with just a minor quantity chemicals when not knowing what you are doing.
I do not have so much knowledge yet and something like this or worse could easily happen if i do not research the preformed reactions before i attempt them.
I had not thought so little of this mix could cause such damage and the fact that i have 1kg of red P makes me nervous what could have happened if i tried mix some chemicals without prior research.
Its unfortunate that this accident happened but its certainly a reminder and wake up bell how dangerous this hobby can be if not careful.
I also have shown our kids some cool things like putting a small piece of Natrium in a bucket of water and explained how dangerous these to are to combine together.
I hope you heal up well.
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[*] posted on 14-7-2020 at 03:52


I can't see blood, neither read stories which involve such accidents, especially were things like shards are still embedded in the skin.
I get all agitated and restless, legs moving nervously while sitting and reading this story.
This is one of the things, the main reason, why I will never do energetic chemistry :o
Thank you for sharing(as if I would even need more convicing that it is nothing for me).
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[*] posted on 14-7-2020 at 06:36
Armstrong's Mixture


For me it was 1974(age 16) when I
blew off my eyebrows with a small
amount of this mixture in a mortar
and pestle. I haven't used this combo
since.




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[*] posted on 14-7-2020 at 06:46


The power of this mix also scared me, it literally blew a piece out of the broomstick I used to set it off. It was maybe half a gram of poorly mixed mixture with very coarse KClO3.
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[*] posted on 14-7-2020 at 14:50


J_sum1: Your story sounds horrible. I am glad that you are fine.



If you are interested in aqueous inorganic chemistry look at https://colourchem.wordpress.com/main-page/

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[*] posted on 14-7-2020 at 16:13


Quote: Originally posted by Bedlasky  
J_sum1: Your story sounds horrible. I am glad that you are fine.

A year on and everything pretty much normal. A bit of tingling in one finger from nerve damage but no loss of movement or strength.

But if you want a story you should check out my "thump incident" sequel.
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[*] posted on 16-7-2020 at 04:31


Good thing you only had so small amount of it. I've seen people carelessly scale up things, "oh, let's make 100 grams at once". Even a couple-fold amount could have resulted in much more serious trauma.

I used to experiment with pyrotechnics when I was a lot younger and I'm scared shitless of couple of events which turned out nice but could have resulted in catastrophy. I handled quite a significant amount of flash powder when I was making M-80's for new years', and the other thing featured a certain other compound and an act which would get me banned from this board because of it's sheer stupidity if I were to disclose the details, but let's just say that I believe I was just a fraction of a second away from blowing my entire hand off. Haven't been playing with pyrotechnics for almost 15 years now.
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[*] posted on 16-7-2020 at 06:48


Fyndium - most of us were fascinated with pyro in our chemistry beginnings... I remember preparing "flash powder No 8" at a scale of 100 g a lot of times in the age when I did not yet have KClO4 so I substituted it with KMnO4 (thus it was not really flash powder No 8, and the number 8 is very likely used only in my country), I used electrical cafe grinder for pulverising crystals of KMnO4 (I still have the grinder and few kg of KMnO4 which is well packed and probably still good quality), then added S powder (I still have more than 15 kg of S powder in a bag which had initially 25 kg) and finally powdered Al (still approx 5 kg of it in the stock without any perspective of using it whole in the rest of my life). The weight ratio KMnO4:S:Al was 60:20:20.
Today I do not do pyro (more important things to do which have higher priority) although I have a lot of KClO4 which is much safer than KMnO4. If I do flash powder sometimes in my life it will certainly be KClO4:Al but I'm afraid I will not. I also have few kg of Sb2S3 so probably I would use something even better than only Al as a fuel :)




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[*] posted on 16-7-2020 at 08:24


I'm glad you're OK! It is a valuable lesson for your children to not underestimate the danger of energetic materials.

I'm curious, which country are you in? Did the police or local safety board cause you any problems? Do you need a license or business number for home chemistry?

I heard that doctors or hospitals report injuries due to gunshots, explosions, etc. to the "Security establishment". Do they do that where you're at?
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[*] posted on 16-7-2020 at 13:45


When I was 15, I happened to have potassium chlorate and red phosphorus too. I even have bought the red P especially for pyrotechnics. First time I mixed them, I thought that the mixture will just burn.
It had exploded right before my face and made me deaf for short amount of time. Then I thought "yeea man that the shit". For some time I was hanging out with my friends and was detonating the mix just loosely poured on the ground with visco fuse.
Thanks God, that reagents were not totally dry as they tend to blow up just by themselves together. Anyways, I'm glad that nothing have happened to me and I had quite a lot of fun.
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