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Author: Subject: storage of chemicals
frogfot
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[*] posted on 18-1-2005 at 01:52
storage of chemicals


How do you all store your chemicals? At home/basemant/specially designed room?

Reason I'm asking is because, living in an appartment, I can't find a good way to store them.. Currently I have most organics and volatile chems in basemant and inorganics is stored at home. For some reason, the locker with inorganics stinks so I'm planning to do something about this..

I know that storing stuff in basemant can't be good though it's not visited that often by anyone and there are no living things for longer periods of time (except for an occasional spider).

One alternative I was planning is to make an airtight locker in the basemant for all chems. The locker will have 4 small open jars with Na2CO3 (take care of volatile acids), citric acid (for volatile bases), activated carbon (for creepy organics) and CaCl2 (optional drying). The locker will have an valve with exit through a carbon filter..
When experimenting I'll just take what needed and return it when finished..
Do you think this is practical?

Another (scary) alternative is to stop all home experimenting and only do the chemistry at university.. :o
Although my home and university chemistry differ quite alot.. first is basically some simple and practical reactions with household chems (to write about on homepage). The second is obviously more advanced.
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cyclonite4
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[*] posted on 18-1-2005 at 03:12


I usually leave all my chemicals in airtight glass jars (I use PTFE to make a airtight grip). The glass jars are labelled and stacked in rows.

An airtight locker sounds good. Your design sounds fairly practical. Maybe you could even add a temperature control?

As for drying, isn't CaCl2 deliquescent (meaning it will absorb enough water to put itself in solution)? This would result in an eventual puddle of CaCl2 solution, which may be inconvenient. If you can afford/find Mg(ClO4)2, that would make a great dehydrator.




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neutrino
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[*] posted on 18-1-2005 at 03:19


You simply drain the puddle away as it forms. For example, you could put your granules on a mesh with a cavity underneath so all of your liquid drains away, leaving your granules to pick up more water.
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frogfot
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[*] posted on 18-1-2005 at 09:25


You mean temp control to detect fire and warn?.. Otherwise, the temp in basemant is pretty constant (15-20*C) so chems will do fine.

About the design.. I was thinking to have usual wooden locker, painted with some fairly chem resistant paint which will also make it more airtight. Then apply some silicone sealant to form the gasket for the door (this may take some while to make it right).
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jimwig
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[*] posted on 18-1-2005 at 09:43


i have searched for some sort of chart ref for the longevity and or storage characteristics of chemicals. unsuccesfully.

seems like many factors enter into the equation -- oxidation, containers, etc. so the variables would be immense.

anyone know of a such a listing online etc.?
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[*] posted on 18-1-2005 at 13:34


Storing your chems in the basement of the building sounds a little bit creepy to me because that's a place where everyone in the building can go, including cleaning persons and people from utilities. You can't know who's going to look aroun (some people have sick curiosities :P). The rest of your plan sound good. If you have a little room (like a storage room) in your apartment that you don't need you can use it. I live in an apartment too and I use the storage room. I didn't find such listing as jimwig said (not online - I'll search further).



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Sandmeyer
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[*] posted on 18-1-2005 at 14:23


i have most of the stuff under a big bed, but I consider to buy a small freezer for storage of solvents and the like... I wouldn't mind having the stuff in a freezer along with food, but I don't live alone. A big, working second-hand freezer combined with a frige could be purchased very cheaply.

[Edited on 18-1-2005 by Sandmeyer]




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runlabrun
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[*] posted on 18-1-2005 at 16:32


I have an old fridge for solvents and other volitiles so the fumes are kept to a minimum, i bought a large amount of glass schott bottles from a closing down lab which had been cleaned and autoclaved so they are safe for re-use which they are all stored in, these provide a excellent seal against fumes.
Other non-volitile materials are in my shed on shelves seperated by catagory as per msds documentation... Away from incompatabilities.

-rlr
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FloridaAlchemist
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[*] posted on 18-1-2005 at 18:23
Semi Microscale For Homelab


I do all my chemical experiments on a semi-microscale, that way a minimum of space and equipment is needed.
Instead of storing large quantities of solvents and chemicals I try and keep them in 120g or 250ml sizes or less.:)
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BromicAcid
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[*] posted on 18-1-2005 at 21:22


All my storage is in an outside shed that I have, it never smells on the inside because it has plenty of air circulation. I keep some things inside but not much.

I'd be nice if you could just get something like a video cabinet with a lock and key, use some rubber gasket to put a somewhat airtight seal around the doors, then put it up against some wall that connects to the outside, drill a hole behind it and run a pipe to vent outside continuously so nothing smelled, but then again they don't like you drilling holes through walls in apartments, maybe you could vent through the same opening as an air conditioner or something, then again the air conditioner might kick on followed by a spark igniting exit gasses and flashing into the cabinet blowing it apart.

If the cabinet were sealed to the entrance or exit of air I really don't see the need for a desiccant, sodium bicarbonate for odors and acid along with some activated carbon possibly. It's not like all of your chemicals have to go in one storage place, many of them might have normal places they belong in a house after all.




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[*] posted on 18-1-2005 at 23:31


I currently have my solvents stored in a plastic shed outside but too near the house. However, I keep my lawnmower gasoline in the garage which is not good as that is where my gas furnace is for home heating. This spring I plan to build a small fireproof outbuilding of concrete block at least 20 feet from my house for solvent storage along with the lawnmower. It will be well ventilated via natural convection. I'm just working out my plans for the other chemicals. Basically I want to keep incompatibles separated as much as possible. All bottles with liquids will have double containment (plastic tubs). My sulfuric acid is triple contained.



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cyclonite4
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[*] posted on 19-1-2005 at 00:32


Thats actually a pretty good idea neutrino, it would most likely optimise water absorption rates when compared to other dehydrators.

The cabinet I store my chemicals in is a a small lockable wooden cupboard, it also functions as a spare table as well. :D




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frogfot
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[*] posted on 19-1-2005 at 08:11


Thalium, my basemant room is closed so any curious person should brake in to come in :P
My main concern is to prevent people from breathing in my toxic crap..

The basemant is designed this way: a main corridor (with curious people), then a locked door to a room which is separated by wooden walls into several little rooms (me having one of them). Whole room have ventilation exit outside, though it is positioned long from me..

Hearing that several of you store chems outside, it seems to be the perfect solution.. I'll by a metal or plastic locker and place it on balcony. I thoat about this earlier but rejected idea because of winter/summer temperature changes. But thinking about this again, temp in Sweden rarely goes lower than -10 and higher than 30*C. Probably the best way to protect locker from direct sunlight is painting it white :P

The only things I have that can freeze at winter are acetic acid and dioxane.

This sounds like a more simple solution. I wouldn't even need to make it airtight (but I probably will due to paranoia). Most probably I'll also make different compartments for acids and bases.

Btw, storing some "household" chems at home showed to be not that good idea. Couple of years ago I had 30% HCl stored in my room (in original storebought bottle) and as result, after couple of months, strings on my guitar became very rusty :o

Thanks for lots of ideas.

[Edited on 19-1-2005 by frogfot]
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The_Davster
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[*] posted on 2-9-2005 at 22:18


This is partially related to chemical storage; proper labeling. Does anyone know of any sites/programs that allow one to print off full labels for chemical storage bottles? Just to make it even more legal and more professional looking.



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Magpie
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[*] posted on 3-9-2005 at 12:36


I changed my mind about building a concrete block storage shed 20 feet (~7m) from my house. I compromised building a plastic shed 3m from my house. I have kept my solvents (acetone, gasoline, paint thinner, toluene, camp stove fuel) and acids (HCl, H2SO4) out there all summer with no problems. I have only passive ventilation but hardly smell a thing when I walk in.

I have worried some about how I will store diethyl ether as it has such a high vapor pressure. I do not want to keep it in a refrigerator based on the experience one forum member had (unionized I think) where a thermostat caused it to explode. I'm thinking a covered pit in my back yard about 0.7m deep would be ideal. In my locale this would stay about 60 degrees F (15 C) all year round. It would be like the root cellars of old. :D




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[*] posted on 3-9-2005 at 14:14


Well you're not supposed to store diethyl ether for that long anyways. According to the Flinn scientific safety manual, 12 months maximum storage. I'm sure they're being overly cautious, should be fine in an amber bottle with a little copper wire in it.

I have no idea how a closed bottle of ether in a refrigerator could have exploded from electrical sparking of the thermostat.
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[*] posted on 3-9-2005 at 15:01


See Unionised's posts in this thread:

http://www.sciencemadness.org/talk/viewthread.php?tid=3915

The warning is clear.

[Edited on 3-9-2005 by Magpie]




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Taaie-Neuskoek
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[*] posted on 4-9-2005 at 01:38


Quote:

Well you're not supposed to store diethyl ether for that long anyways. According to the Flinn scientific safety manual, 12 months maximum storage. I'm sure they're being overly cautious, should be fine in an amber bottle with a little copper wire in it.


Hmm, I recently obtained some diethyl ether of an unknows age, but I am rather sure that it alsready stand there for a couple of years...
I didn't plan to do destillations with the stuff, but is tossing at this point some cupperwire in a good idea to remove/prevent any peroxides?

I have all my solids stored in a big iron cupboard, on alphabet of course, otherwise I cannot find anything back...
This is all except for the aluminiumpowder I have, I keep that apart because the stuff is so damn dusty! After I've handled it I looked like a robot :o...

The liquids are stored separatly in plastic containers, acids apart from bases, organics apart, and a small container for aromatics.
I use the so called 'curver boxes', if one might know them, they are made of thick plastic.
On the bottom of each container I put some newspapers, so I can see if one of the bottles is leaking...
Hydrogen peroxide has a special place in my lab.
I have my lab in the cellar, but it is a cellar with openings on 2 sides, so there is some ventilation as I am on the far end, where 3 doors can be opened. This part of the cellar is completely of concrete.

How do most of you store 95+% HNO3? I've had it in a erlenmeyer with a glass stopper in it, but it leaked small amounts of HNO3 to the outside, with and without teflontape between the joints. Now I have it in a brown bottle with a teflon insert in the cap, and lately I checked for leaks, and the newspaper under it was wet as was the outside of the bottle!!
How to store this strength of HNO3 in a proper way?

[Edited on 4-9-2005 by Taaie-Neuskoek]




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neutrino
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[*] posted on 4-9-2005 at 07:13


Copper won't destroy peroxides that are already in your ether. See Vogel for information on that.
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[*] posted on 5-9-2005 at 06:30


This is a good thread.
I use plastic coolers for my stuff...contains leaks and is fairly airtight.
Yeah, storing HCl is tough...got to wrap the cap with tape and even then it still leaks a little.
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[*] posted on 5-9-2005 at 13:54


I have my ether in a 500mL jam jar, with a plastic lid. To give it a good seal, I put a plastic ziplock bag over it and then screwed on the lid as tight as I can. It has been sitting with my other chems for several months and has barely evaporated (I think there is a little less in the jar, as the lid wasn't on as tight as possible for a month, after that it seemed to stay at the same level) in the 35*C summer weather I got, although it only got to 25 to 30*C inside the shed. The plastic lid bulges up, but they do that with toluene as well. It doesn't actually weaken the plastic lids, and the polyethylene is holding up fine. So, no, it's not perfect, or even close to it, but it works.
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[*] posted on 5-9-2005 at 14:22


Taaie-Neuskoek

I find the best way to store 95% fuming nitric is in a thick walled bottle with a tight ground glass penny head stopper. I wrap teflon tape around it to seal it even better. The HNO3 was sitting in a pear shaped receiving flask (w/ 24/40 stopper). Concentrated nitric doesn't agree with a phenolic cap, even one with a teflon insert, rest assured, it will eat through, just a matter of time.


Also, elemental bromine doesn't seem to like it either. I had about 40mL in a small amber glass bottle with teflon tape on the inside, a teflon insert for the phenolic cap, and even a thick coating of paraffin on the outside. The bromine really had its way with the cap. Left a sticky goo and literally the cap was like swiss cheese. I know BromicAcid has a good store of bromine, anyone else? I have a really good bottle to recommend to you all.
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[*] posted on 5-9-2005 at 15:54


Cu definitely does something with impure ether, what it is or what is not to be recommended of it, I don't know. Once I made a fair amount, but no spare electrical cord or whatever Cu wire was on hand after distillation. I took no precautions against air or light and put it in an oversized container. A few days later I added Cu shavings, from ACR tubing. The gas evolution was immediate and freaky. The shavings went from bright to oxidized. I did not test for peroxide afterwards, though.
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neutrino
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[*] posted on 5-9-2005 at 17:21


I may as well add my two cents on this subject.

I have a small amount of bromine—2 mL—in an improvised vial. As far as I can tell, absolutely none has leaked out and the cap is in good condition.

Making these vials is a bit of an art. First, you start with one of these. Next, you work the rubber out of the cap with a good pair of tweezers. Now comes the fun part: cut discs of exactly the right size and shape out of some pliable plastic to fill the cavity where the rubber was. Then, cut a disc of exactly the right size out of teflon sheet. The shape is a circle with a small notch in it, the size...well, I can't really describe it. Finally, get the teflon disc into the bottom of the cap by screwing the cap's threading down through that notch. If all goes well, you'll have a leakproof cap.

One more thing: a pair of nail clippers is a godsend for working with that sheet.
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[*] posted on 11-9-2005 at 16:38


I have most of my chemicals out in the garage..Where they will stay until winter sets in. Then my workshop will still be out there but I wanna make sure nothing freezes or whatever.



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