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Author: Subject: How would you continue a chemistry hobby, if you had to move into an unsuitable living space?
Cou
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[*] posted on 25-12-2019 at 00:09
How would you continue a chemistry hobby, if you had to move into an unsuitable living space?


e.g. if you move into an apartment, or a suburban home.

Currently i can do amateur chemistry because i live on an undeveloped 3 acre agricultural parcel with my parents, with a home far separated from others. If a made a bad smell, it would dissipate by the time it reaches parcel boundary. Agricultural zoning can get away with more chemistry b/c, for example, farmers buy anhydrous ammonia fertilizer. I'm really lucky to be able to live here.

whereas a suburban home is a more foolish place for home chemistry, b/c it's separated from other homes by only a few meters, HOAs, zoning violations, etc.

I can't live here forever, with my parents while commuting to undergrad university.. May have to live on my own, years from now, if I go somewhere far away for chemistry grad school. how would you continue this hobby if you have to move into an apartment?

option 1: Buy an RV, do chemistry like in Breaking Bad. Probably the more possible option, if you can find a remote area to drive the RV to, like in breaking bad. sorry if this is cringy and i've just been watching too much BB, but the next option might be really expensive or might not even let you do home chemsitry

option 2: rent an office space? dunno if most offices can host chemistry like an industrial space can, and we can't lease a whole industrial space unless we manage to start a perfumery business or something.




[Edited on 25-12-2019 by Cou]
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[*] posted on 25-12-2019 at 00:57


I think there are lots of options, although I'm not convinced that your first option is either viable or cheap - I think it would potentially get you a lot of attention from both sides of the criminal divide.
You could also look to see if you could share space with other like minded individuals or get an agreement to use someone elses lab.
Perhaps it's also time to ask yourself which elements of the practical side are essential to you, are there some that you could give up to make doing chemistry in a domestic environment achievable. How about looking at micro scale (unless your chemistry is about producing masses of product for sale. In the end there is also the theoretical side, reading up and planning for when you next have your ideal lab.
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[*] posted on 25-12-2019 at 02:43


Go test tube scale inorganic. Do some transition metal chemistry. Get good at scrubbing gases and managing evolution rates.
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DavidJR
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[*] posted on 25-12-2019 at 05:23


I would suggest that you shouldn't be doing anything liable to create noxious odours or toxic gases in close proximity to other residents. Also try and avoid explosions and fires...

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[*] posted on 25-12-2019 at 05:49


@Cou,
This is actually a good question. I do not have any real advice for you but it did start my thought process flowing.
I hope that this thread produces some good advice.
I may need it myself in the future.
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Cou
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[*] posted on 25-12-2019 at 10:47


Some metroplexes, such as mine, have makerspaces with common chemistry labs
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[*] posted on 25-12-2019 at 11:00


A good question indeed.

I've been into home chemistry for just a couple of years and keep finding new and interesting things to do. The thing is, I really do not want to have to quit doing it.

However it is very demanding in terms of space requirements, and I may not be forever as lucky as I currently am (I have a garage where I'm building a fume hood with proper air filters).
Unfortunately, I don't think there's an easy way, but maybe there are long time apartment chemist on this forum which can enlighten us.
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draculic acid69
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[*] posted on 25-12-2019 at 19:53


Chemistry can be performed on a balcony as that's where I started doing my experiments.theres airflow,tiling with no carpet so everything can be hosed down if there's a spill,runaway or an explosion, you can watch the rxn from behind the glass sliding doors and fumes blow away.balconys are quite good actually and the higher up the better.
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Phosphor-ing
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[*] posted on 25-12-2019 at 20:05


Be aware of the density of fumes on a balcony. In apartments the floor above or below, depending on density, may receive a dangerous concentration of whatever your reaction is outgassing while you look on from behind those glass doors. Not saying it isn’t a viable space, just be aware.

[Edited on 26-12-2019 by Phosphor-ing]




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Cou
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[*] posted on 25-12-2019 at 22:59


Quote: Originally posted by draculic acid69  
Chemistry can be performed on a balcony as that's where I started doing my experiments.theres airflow,tiling with no carpet so everything can be hosed down if there's a spill,runaway or an explosion, you can watch the rxn from behind the glass sliding doors and fumes blow away.balconys are quite good actually and the higher up the better.


How likely is a landlord to approve of that? better get permission first, because Someone is gonna see it, and think it's a meth lab.

Sounds better if you say you're doing essential oils.

[Edited on 26-12-2019 by Cou]
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[*] posted on 25-12-2019 at 23:28


Probably researching clandestine lab setups is a good start,
summary of a story: a light industry lot next to a friend's lot grew weed and got raided - he got to see the setup - and keep what the police did not smash (lighting, pumps, computer, controllers etc. smashed) ... giant carbon filters, ducting, fans etc.
They were apparently operating clandestinely for over a year - I visited ny friend's lot several times and never saw or smelt anything.

Of course, having an internet search history dominated by 'how to set up a clandestine lab' may be misinterpreted as intent :P




CAUTION : Hobby Chemist, not Professional or even Amateur
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Cou
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[*] posted on 26-12-2019 at 00:57


Quote: Originally posted by Sulaiman  
Probably researching clandestine lab setups is a good start,
summary of a story: a light industry lot next to a friend's lot grew weed and got raided - he got to see the setup - and keep what the police did not smash (lighting, pumps, computer, controllers etc. smashed) ... giant carbon filters, ducting, fans etc.
They were apparently operating clandestinely for over a year - I visited ny friend's lot several times and never saw or smelt anything.

Of course, having an internet search history dominated by 'how to set up a clandestine lab' may be misinterpreted as intent :P


Everyone automatically thinks "meth lab" when they see even one beaker. Non-chemists don't know the difference between essential oils and meth labs.
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[*] posted on 26-12-2019 at 02:13


Do non-smelly chemistry, or work at small scales.
Non-smelly could be inorganic chemistry, electrochemistry, analytical chemistry. Small scale reactions (say 1 gram) are a good idea anyway because you generate less waste and it costs less in reagents.

It takes a lot more planning because you cannot gas the whole building and evacuate everybody if you make a mistake (runaway reaction, ...). Someone might call the firefighters if something smells "toxic" and you will be in big trouble. Invest in some gas scrubbers (gas wash bottles) or one of these activated carbon fume hoods.

I would just pick a new hobby and store the chemistry stuff safely for later. I've gotten into electronics recently, which is much MUCH easier to do in an appartment than chemistry.
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[*] posted on 26-12-2019 at 10:52


All good advice in this thread

Quote: Originally posted by Heptylene  

I would just pick a new hobby and store the chemistry stuff safely for later. I've gotten into electronics recently, which is much MUCH easier to do in an appartment than chemistry.


This is what I've done when I went off to university. I'm now doing a PhD, and haven't had access to my lab for more than a couple of weeks outside of summer. As a result, I've done very little chemistry, and recently I've gotten into computational studies.

While very academic and difficult to decode without someone in the know at your shoulder, it can be rewarding, if rather straining on one's laptop. I've been using GAMESS software, which is free to download; and MacMolPlt to visualise the output - also free.




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[*] posted on 26-12-2019 at 20:47


You can actually do some pretty involved organic chemistry without alarming the neighbors if you use good technique to limit such problems and have the right equipment.

Going microscale is a great way to do organic reactions with limited danger of alerting the neighbors.

You can get a pretty complete microscale lab that fits in it's own little briefcase and will allow you to do many basic organic procedures on a 1 to 10 ml scale.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Wheaton-Scientific-Micro-Kit-14-10-...

Stuff like that threaded wheaton 'microflex' microscale glassware, or even the 14/10 microscale stuff, which is more durable and holds vacuum better in my opinion.

This microscale stuff gets pretty sophisticated.
There are even spinning band stills in this size with 10 or 12 theoretical plates.

Ace used to make a photochemical reactor on this scale too.

EDIT: The kit shown is a fairly basic one. The price they're asking is ridiculous.
Ought to be about 1/2 that or less if you shop around and wait for a deal.

[Edited on 27-12-2019 by SWIM]

[Edited on 27-12-2019 by SWIM]

Note: the kit posted is mis-labeled. It is not 14/10, it is Wheaton microflex.
This has threads and gaskets where the 14/10 has tapered joints and threads AND gaskets.
The 14/10 can also join to 14/20 gear if you really have to.

[Edited on 27-12-2019 by SWIM]




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[*] posted on 26-12-2019 at 21:01


Quote: Originally posted by Phosphor-ing  
Be aware of the density of fumes on a balcony. In apartments the floor above or below, depending on density, may receive a dangerous concentration of whatever your reaction is outgassing while you look on from behind those glass doors. Not saying it isn’t a viable space, just be aware.

[Edited on 26-12-2019 by Phosphor-ing]



Yeah I know.you can't just vent chlorine gas from the 3rd floorand not think of the ppl below.im a firm believer in washbottles and gas scrubbers.its part of being a responsible chemist and all it takes is a few coke bottles and hoses.
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[*] posted on 26-12-2019 at 21:12


Quote: Originally posted by Cou  
Quote: Originally posted by draculic acid69  
Chemistry can be performed on a balcony as that's where I started doing my experiments.theres airflow,tiling with no carpet so everything can be hosed down if there's a spill,runaway or an explosion, you can watch the rxn from behind the glass sliding doors and fumes blow away.balconys are quite good actually and the higher up the better.


How likely is a landlord to approve of that? better get permission first, because Someone is gonna see it, and think it's a meth lab.

Sounds better if you say you're doing essential oils.
[Edited on 26-12-2019 by Cou]



R u telling me that you inform your landlord you conduct science experiments in the house you rent? I would not tell them unless asked as it's going to cause a problem.
I wouldn't leave a trace of any experiment anywhere but that's because I'm considerate
and careful.and balcony location and visibility is definitely a factor.i was on the 3rd floor and surrounded by other 3story buildings and mine was rather out of view so for me it was great obviously being on the 1st floor facing the street with pedestrians walking past and a high-rise across the street overlooking your balcony is not a good place to do a distillation.

[Edited on 27-12-2019 by draculic acid69]
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[*] posted on 21-9-2020 at 15:25


I would continue my chemistry hobby by...




Continuing my chemistry hobby.

If it's really dangerous just microscale it, outside. Get a tent, make it look like something else entirely, you have to realize most people are clueless and/or do not care. Now a landlord could be a problem. So you make sure they dont find out. (Not implying that you wouldnt take very good care of the place).
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[*] posted on 21-9-2020 at 16:28


I am currently doing chemistry related to electronics.
It is all related to electronics.
My major was electrical engineering after I decided I didn't want to patch up drunks and heart attack victims.
I live in a residential area, odor control is important.
Filters and fans are your friend.
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[*] posted on 22-9-2020 at 10:33


Dude, it might be helpful if I tell you that, although I am always working at small scales, that I made over hundred of different drugs in appartment complexes over the last twenty years.
Not to mention all the precursors to get there!
I never owned my own house(too expensive in this country, especially when you move all the time).
Good working technique and preparation, as SWIM said, is the most important thing here.
I even regularly make and work with lachrymators such as bromoketones and benzyl chloride, and I barely shed a tear myself while transfering.
I have a small self-built fumehood though, for the more worse cases.

So this is not an end for your hobby, you just need to work out a different and smarter way to conduct your experiments.
It will work out well.

[Edited on 22-9-2020 by karlos³]
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[*] posted on 22-9-2020 at 12:32


Most of it has been said already.
In my case I did very little experiments since I didn't consider it safe in a very dense urban setting.
I was quite bothered by it and I am glad I no longer live in such an area, cities are overrated.

Call me paranoid but I was scared of someone knocking on my door with problematic questions.
One should also consider what to do in case of accidents and if those risks are acceptable in such an environment.

As discussed in other topics, most of the people here do not really make a secret out of their hobby but also refrain from hanging a sign on their door.
This should be considered too, urban living often means that you have a small area at your disposal and this makes it more likely for guests(perhaps unwanted) to notice/stumble upon your gear.
Not a problem perse but should be taken into account.

I would always vote for a dedicated space to conduct experimentation, away from potential harm to others.
Captain obvious out * flies away *
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