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Endimion17
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[*] posted on 1-9-2011 at 17:58
Worst fears when you're gone from the lab


<iframe sandbox width="480" height="390" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/gR71Ijvvb7s" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

I must say I've got the chills upon viewing this, and the music sure didn't help. :o
There's really nothing in my lab that could produce such dreadful situation, but nevertheless, it's frightening.

If you have chemicals that can do this or something similar which can lead to fire, what have you done in order to passivelly contain the fire while you're gone?
I was always very afraid of earthquakes. One large quake, and I'm sure most of our labs would be lost. That's why I keep things like sodium in cans filled with sand, inside a small closet. Only the worst quakes or direct hits with bombs could ignite it, but then the sodium wouldn't really make a difference.
I don't store organic peroxides, that's for sure, but even if I had any, it's always below 25 °C in the room, even during the worst heat waves.




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Panache
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[*] posted on 1-9-2011 at 18:15


YEah you know mE!
Down with SADT
Yeah you know me.




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blogfast25
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[*] posted on 2-9-2011 at 02:08


Endimion17:

And these are your worst fears? You must feel pretty safe then: what home experimenters have that kind of organic peroxides lying around, in that quantities, unattended and unprotected?

Panache:

WTF?




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Mixell
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[*] posted on 2-9-2011 at 04:44


I'm more concerned about long term exposure, especially to heavy metals (that why I don't tend to experiment with them).
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Endimion17
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[*] posted on 2-9-2011 at 05:03


Quote: Originally posted by blogfast25  
Endimion17:

And these are your worst fears? You must feel pretty safe then: what home experimenters have that kind of organic peroxides lying around, in that quantities, unattended and unprotected?

Panache:

WTF?


If I consider the situation where labs are not entered for several months, then yes.
Humidity and elevated temperatures can wreck havoc with containers.

Have you seen that documentary about what would happen if people disappear? :D




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White Yeti
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[*] posted on 2-9-2011 at 06:07


SADT also stands for SAD Turnout :)
My worst fear in the lab is that my container of aluminium sulphide falls and breaks in a sink full of water while I am not there. The water will react with it to form poisonous H2S. My lab isn't very well ventilated when not in use so the gas would probably accumulate to lethal levels.

That is why I store the Al2S3 in an airtight container that is wider than it is tall.

I don't handle many hazardous substances, so this is the worst scenario I can think of with the chemicals I have on hand at the moment.
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blogfast25
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[*] posted on 2-9-2011 at 07:50


My worst fear is when I'm pumping fluorine gas over some oxide for fluorination. I've already gotten a bit of a whiff of it twice but I lived to tell the tale!

(No, seriously, the above never happened and never will happen... ;))

The most ridiculous F2 experiment EVER must the one setting a raw chicken on 'fire' with fluorine gas:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5_9z1TxUfg&feature=relat...

'Salt, anyone?'

[Edited on 2-9-2011 by blogfast25]




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Rogeryermaw
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[*] posted on 2-9-2011 at 19:49


chicken flouride! in the not too distant future we'll be seeing this on the food network!

i never had any fears about my lab chemicals until my wife adopted the dumbest dog alive. stupid bastard made a meal of a syringe with traces of HCl in it. went after a freshly used gas (petrol) can(hope that tasted good...the little asshole) a bleach bottle...there are a thousand things he could go for in the yard. why only the toxic stuff? and i try to keep my things put away. its like he knows there is some bad shit somewhere nearby and he has to have it and goes to find it come hell or high water.




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blogfast25
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[*] posted on 3-9-2011 at 11:48


Pets are a pest when it comes to these things. My lab is in a lockable outhouse but I have to keep the door open most of the time when I'm working and one of my beloved cats creeping in (and perhaps even getting locked in) is a real worry. I'm thinking of maybe installing an anti-mosquito door or something like that, just to have peace of mind...

[Edited on 3-9-2011 by blogfast25]




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Endimion17
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[*] posted on 3-9-2011 at 12:05


Ah, cats. Those devil companions... I always wanted a cat that would behave like cats in movies about witches. You know, cats that sit or nap in designated area and watch you work, make others feel uneasy...
In reality, that works for a day or two, and then they get bored and leave. But they like to climb shelves when you're not around, knocking bottles.

:mad:




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[*] posted on 3-9-2011 at 12:05


Strange, doesnt anyone else have the fear of police waiting for you at the lab?:P
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Endimion17
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[*] posted on 3-9-2011 at 12:17


Well, unless they're <i>complete</i> idiots, they won't do anything which would cause an explosion or fire.
Pets, moisture, quakes, heat and extreme cold are to be feared the most.
Human factors like burglars or police are to be disgusted, no matter if you don't really have illegal substances. I don't live in constant fear of them.

Loss of electricity is another one. Imagine having something sick like the peroxide in the video, stored in a freezer. And the power goes down. That's why alarms should be installed in such labs. UPS or generator backup is a nice touch, too.

[Edited on 3-9-2011 by Endimion17]




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smuv
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[*] posted on 3-9-2011 at 13:18


1) cops 2) fire 3) people I don't want to know finding out about the lab (related to 1).

It does not matter if you have illegal substances or not, you are breaking rules by having a home lab. The way chemicals are stored, disposed of, not having MSDS available, zoning, etc. etc. etc.




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Endimion17
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[*] posted on 3-9-2011 at 14:36


Quote: Originally posted by smuv  
1) cops 2) fire 3) people I don't want to know finding out about the lab (related to 1).

It does not matter if you have illegal substances or not, you are breaking rules by having a home lab. The way chemicals are stored, disposed of, not having MSDS available, zoning, etc. etc. etc.


You really think authorities don't watch this site? If they want to know, they will know, trust me. It's spectacular how easy is to find someone by monitoring his/hers movements on the Web.

If you live in USA, my condolences. Since 9/11 was used to push it few steps closer to a police state, no one is safe anymore.

But here where I live, authorities do not care about home labs as long as they don't catch you filling the Web with actual illegal stuff or if you blow something up.
I've got nothing to hide. I don't do drugs or explosives.
I write a relatively recognized blog about what I'm doing.

Safety situation in my lab is far greater than the one in any ordinary shed filled with tons of organic solvents in corroded containers. I don't pollute the environment more than people who spray Bordeaux mixture in their yards (we're still a relatively free society, people can actually buy that "incredibly toxic" blue vitriol and treat their plants).
Therefore, messing with me would be messing with simple civil rights. I've done nothing wrong.

Having a home lab is not a crime where I live and it shouldn't be anywhere. It is a legal and legitimate right, like having an amateur astronomical observatory.




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White Yeti
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[*] posted on 3-9-2011 at 14:47


smuv
Some people ignore what you mentioned, and you are absolutely right.
But let's be realistic, if you are storing ubiquitous chemicals just to do a lil experimentation, the CIA won't be all over your back.
I don't have a lot of chemicals, and most of them are harmless, but the cops are not as familiar with chemistry as us. They don't know that combining some harmless OTS chemicals in the right quantities can enable you to make something lethal (if you were interested in that kind of thing). So they could overlook some chemicals and identify them as "harmless".

An interesting example was during the second world war (quotation from wikipedia):

"When Germany invaded Denmark in World War II, the Hungarian chemist George de Hevesy dissolved the gold Nobel Prizes of the German physicists Max von Laue (1914) and James Franck (1925) in aqua regia to prevent the Nazis from confiscating them. The German government had prohibited Germans from accepting or keeping any Nobel Prize after the jailed peace activist Carl von Ossietzky had received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1935. De Hevesy placed the resulting solution on a shelf in his laboratory at the Niels Bohr Institute. It was subsequently ignored by the Nazis who thought the jar—one of perhaps hundreds on the shelving—contained common chemicals. After the war, de Hevesy returned to find the solution undisturbed and precipitated the gold out of the acid. The gold was returned to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and the Nobel Foundation who recast the medals and again presented them to Laue and Franck."
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Endimion17
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[*] posted on 3-9-2011 at 14:56


That kind of behaviour, White Yeti, is typical mindset of majority of people who unfortunately work in the police and army department. They're called thugs.



It was like that in the past, it is like that now, and it will be like that in the future. Ignorant thugs.


But let's not spoil the thread with them. Let's return to the topic. How do you handle summer heat?

[Edited on 3-9-2011 by Endimion17]




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White Yeti
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[*] posted on 3-9-2011 at 15:13


Quote: Originally posted by Endimion17  


But let's not spoil the thread with them. Let's return to the topic. How do you handle summer heat?

[Edited on 3-9-2011 by Endimion17]


I deal with the summer heat by drinking some carbonic acid cooled with dry ice and flavored with citric acid, acesulfame potassium, and limonene, all of which have been made in my lab ;)

I don't store any heat sensitive chemicals, so I have a clear conscience, for now at least.

[Edited on 9-3-2011 by White Yeti]
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[*] posted on 4-9-2011 at 19:47


Endimion17 + White Yeti: I mostly agree with what you are saying, but all it takes is someone reporting a drug lab or suspicious activity etc. to get someone at your front door. Once there is reasonable suspicion even if you are not making drugs, you will get fined/charged with something. Cops hate to come up empty handed. Even if you get charged with nothing, it will be a big deal and quite a hassle...

The incident a while ago with a retired chemist continuing research at home, is a case in point.




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[*] posted on 5-9-2011 at 16:00


In explanation of my post, to understand it you first must watch the linked video, then you must have a healthy cynicism when it comes to new acronyms and thirdly you must know a particular popular rap diddy with the lyrics i quoted except SADT in the diddy is OPP.

Apologises for the confusion.

In relation to worst fears mine is definitely power outage, i have two -86freezers that contain liquids that would much prefer to be gases should they warm, not that they are dangerous just that it would be annoying to make them again.
As such both freezers contain 100kg of ice/cacl2 as a heat sink and both have the lpg backup system should the power fail and the temperature rise above -40. i figure this gives me a few days. i would like ones that telephone should there be a problem but haven't seen any come up cheap ever.





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[*] posted on 12-9-2011 at 23:15


Quote: Originally posted by Roger86  
Strange, doesnt anyone else have the fear of police waiting for you at the lab?:P


yeah thats one of my fears but i dont have many organic chemicals anyways, only naphthalene, tartaric acid.... but i do have some organic solvents and used to have ammonium nitrate




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[*] posted on 13-9-2011 at 12:08


I don't store anything that spontaneously ignites so thats not on my list of worries. My biggest worry is any of the electricals in my lab starting a fire. For this reason I store my chemicals in a separate place so if a fire were to start, at least there wouldn't be flammable solvents and oxidizers around to fuel it. I also lined the interior walls of my fumehood with fire proof grade gypsum and use a tough polycarbonate window so if the hotplate or reaction flask were to catch on fire, the fume hood should contain it.

[Edited on 13-9-2011 by CrimpJiggler]
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Endimion17
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[*] posted on 13-9-2011 at 13:42



How many of you use a main switch? Or at least any form of powering down the lab completely.




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White Yeti
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[*] posted on 13-9-2011 at 15:17


I never use it. Have you ever needed to use it?
The light switch to my lab is located two rooms away, so the sparks don't cause any kind of explosion, but other than that, no main switch.
I can't really think of any instance where you would need to shut off the power in the lab entirely. Shutting off power means you are also killing any electrical appliance that is responsible for ventilating the lab. If anything bad happens, your first reflex should be to:
1: mop up the spill
2: vent out dangerous fumes
3: neutralize the acid/ base spill
4: put out the fire

Shutting off the power would be last on my list, unless an electrolysis experiment got out of control. This can't really happen if you're using a power supply. If you're not using a power supply, you're just looking for trouble.
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[*] posted on 14-9-2011 at 07:31


I guess my worst fear is that a reflux or distillation bumps and makes a big mess(not that I leave these unattended for more than 5 minutes at a time). Or my cat get's curious and poisons herself or gets a burn of any kind, though she stays away from the work area. Aside from that hmm... I don't really play with anything dangerous.



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[*] posted on 14-9-2011 at 08:35


The last place I worked, city water pressure always dropped to almost nothing during the evening, then spiked at night before settling down. My worst fear was that either the water in the reflux condensors would stop during the evening and all my solvent would disappear, or that the spike would blow one of the tubes off and the lab would be flooded by the next morning. Neither result was unusual, and the biology labs below us got very tired of having water drip on their instruments.
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