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Author: Subject: Dropped my stir bar down the sink
mycotheologist
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Dropped my stir bar down the sink

I washed out an RB flask but forgot there was a magnetic stir bar in it. It went down the kitchen sink, followed by lots of water. In college, the lab tech told students that if a stir bar went down the sink, he'll recover it but maybe the sinks in that lab are specially designed for incidents like that. Has anyone here tried to recover a stir bar by disassembling the pipes?
Bot0nist
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Probably in the bend, aka hair trap ( the U turn). Should be no trouble. Installing a strainer in your sink is a good idea. Stir-bars are notorious about getting lost that way.

[Edited on 7-4-2012 by Bot0nist]

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BromicAcid
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Stir bar, wedding ring, etc. People lose stuff down the drain all the time, that's one of the reasons for the trap (other is to block sewer gas). If you don't want to take apart the pipes (although it's usually easy with poly pipes) you could use a strong magnet and try to fish it up the pipe but depending on the configuration that might be next to impossible (or maybe a magnet on a string).

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Hexavalent
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I once allowed a magnet to slip into the toilet whilst dumping a waste inorganic solution . . .I had to go fishing with a magnet duct-tapped to a wooden dowel. I keep it in the lab, end sealed in a plastic baggie, for just such occasions!

"Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm." Winston Churchill
RonPaul2012
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 Quote: Originally posted by BromicAcid Stir bar, wedding ring, etc. People lose stuff down the drain all the time, that's one of the reasons for the trap (other is to block sewer gas). If you don't want to take apart the pipes (although it's usually easy with poly pipes) you could use a strong magnet and try to fish it up the pipe but depending on the configuration that might be next to impossible (or maybe a magnet on a string).
I have dropped one of my stir bars down the sink and getting it out of the drain trap was easy.

BTW here is a picture of what I am talking about
mycotheologist
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Thanks a lot. I was sad because that was my only remaining stir bar. My sink is fairly similar to the one shown in the diagram. My initial thought was it may have got stuck somewhere around the clean-out plug. I'm going to disassemble the piping so I can get a better understand of how sinks work. I love learning about mechanical related things.
Pyro
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but when you do that beware!!!!!!!! you will probably find lots of horrible things down there, in mine i found: hair, fish scales, a few bones (fish i guess), bits of broken glass and plates,... and im carefull not to thow anything like that down the kitchen drain.
Dr.Bob
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 Quote: Originally posted by Hexavalent I once allowed a magnet to slip into the toilet whilst dumping a waste inorganic solution . . .I had to go fishing with a magnet duct-tapped to a wooden dowel. I keep it in the lab, end sealed in a plastic baggie, for just such occasions!

If you are that desperate for stir bars, just send me a note and I can sell you some cheap. They are not that expensive...

I have been selling a bag of 10 assorted normal stirbars for $10 or 5 assorted ovals for$10, plus postage. The postage for just those would only be about $2. So why go fishing in the crapper? bquirky National Hazard Posts: 316 Registered: 22-10-2008 Location: Perth Western Australia Member Is Offline Mood: No Mood I lost a loose diamond down in the s-bend once. it sure gleamed amungst all the gunk when I found it. Hexavalent International Hazard Posts: 1555 Registered: 29-12-2011 Location: Wales, UK Member Is Offline Mood: Pericyclic Quote: Originally posted by Dr.Bob  Quote: Originally posted by Hexavalent I once allowed a magnet to slip into the toilet whilst dumping a waste inorganic solution . . .I had to go fishing with a magnet duct-tapped to a wooden dowel. I keep it in the lab, end sealed in a plastic baggie, for just such occasions! If you are that desperate for stir bars, just send me a note and I can sell you some cheap. They are not that expensive... I have been selling a bag of 10 assorted normal stirbars for$10 or 5 assorted ovals for $10, plus postage. The postage for just those would only be about$2. So why go fishing in the crapper?

Thanks Dr Bob, but alas I live in the UK and the postal costs, I assume, would be higher than the value of the items!

"Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm." Winston Churchill
Dr.Bob
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Actually, the cost of shipping small items to the UK and elsewhere is not bad, since they charge by the ounce, not the pound for smaller packages. So a package of stir bars to the UK might only be a few dollars or a pound or two. I can figure the exact postage sometime for them, but it would not be too bad at all. For things under 4 pounds, it is about $8 per pound, but a small stir bar is less than one ounce, so not so bad. What is costlier to ship internationally are larger, very fragile, or bulkier items, where the box and packing often weighs as much as the item, like a large flask (2L) or sep funnel. But for smaller flasks, like 14/20, the cost if not bad at all. mycotheologist Hazard to Others Posts: 154 Registered: 16-3-2012 Member Is Offline Mood: No Mood  Quote: Originally posted by Pyro but when you do that beware!!!!!!!! you will probably find lots of horrible things down there, in mine i found: hair, fish scales, a few bones (fish i guess), bits of broken glass and plates,... and im carefull not to thow anything like that down the kitchen drain. lol, I'm not looking forward to this. I'm gonna pour some acid or lye down there first to at least disinfect it. Dr.Bob International Hazard Posts: 1963 Registered: 26-1-2011 Location: USA - NC Member Is Offline Mood: No Mood I weighed one assortment of 10 stirbars I had packed for someone (from about 1/2 to 2+"), and it was about 3-4 oz, plus a padded envelope totals 5 oz, which is$6 in postage to Europe, and $10 for the stirbars. For ovals, a mix of 5 would be about 3-4 oz as well, so the same cost. Additional postage goes down with each additional oz, so a mix of 20 standard stirbars and 5 ovals would be$30 for the stirbars, and only about $10 for the postage. And a few people wanted to share with, I can do up to 4 pounds postage for$16 in a flat rate envelope to almost anywhere in the world.

So it would not too expensive to get a decent set of stirbars.
mycotheologist
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Can't believe it actually worked but I just dragged the stir bar out of the sink trap with some neodymium supermagnets. I just put the magnet up to the trap and it was easy to locate the stir bar in there because the magnet suddenly stuck to the trap and I could hear rattling inside whenever I moved the magnet. I carefully dragged the stir bar out of the trap and up to the sink opening. I recommend everyone buy some of these neodymium supermagnets, they are highly impressive. They're dangerous though, a little magnet 2cm in diameter and 0.5cm in thickness is enough to break your finger if you place it in between 2 of these magnets. Once they snap together, they are very difficult to slide apart again.

 Quote: Originally posted by Dr.Bob I weighed one assortment of 10 stirbars I had packed for someone (from about 1/2 to 2+"), and it was about 3-4 oz, plus a padded envelope totals 5 oz, which is $6 in postage to Europe, and$10 for the stirbars. For ovals, a mix of 5 would be about 3-4 oz as well, so the same cost. Additional postage goes down with each additional oz, so a mix of 20 standard stirbars and 5 ovals would be $30 for the stirbars, and only about$10 for the postage. And a few people wanted to share with, I can do up to 4 pounds postage for $16 in a flat rate envelope to almost anywhere in the world. In that case I will buy some from you. This would be a huge help to me since I can't afford to buy new stir rods anywhere else. 4 pounds for$16 from the US is brilliant, I get charged more than that by UK ebay sellers. So far, I've only come across reasonable shipping prices when shipped from within Ireland but the lab supply shops here don't ship to residential addresses which makes it a pain in the ass for the home chemist to stock his lab up here.

[Edited on 15-4-2012 by mycotheologist]
unionised
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Emptying the trap isn't difficult, but this might be quicker
http://www.philipharris.co.uk/product/B8R02602
mycotheologist
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 Quote: Originally posted by unionised Emptying the trap isn't difficult, but this might be quicker http://www.philipharris.co.uk/product/B8R02602

I attached a magnet to some dental floss using blu-tac and the plan was to lower it down the pipe and into the trap but I couldn't get the magnet past the piece of metal that the sieve (or whatever you call it) screws into. I smaller magnet would have worked. One of those stirrer bar retrievers definitely wouldn't have worked. I think a magnet on a string would work better for any sink you come across though because it can maneuver its way down the pipes and into the trap much easier.

 Sciencemadness Discussion Board » Fundamentals » Reagents and Apparatus Acquisition » Dropped my stir bar down the sink 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   » Detritus   » Test Forum