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Author: Subject: SAFETY ISSUES (Unique Issues & Answers)
quicksilver
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[*] posted on 16-11-2005 at 07:23
SAFETY ISSUES (Unique Issues & Answers)


I don't know if this thread will have any following but I am interested in some of the techniques & equipment that folks have developed and followed throughout the years to maintain safety in the persuit of chemistry as a hobby. I also think this would be a great place for those who have a problem and are seeking a solution to ask....someone may have had the same challenge.
An example is the use of a fume hood. Since many cannot afford such a contrivance often experiments have been preformed out doors. But then we have to contend with UV light possably interfering with the proposed experiment. (and in some cases neighbors thinking we are making drugs, etc). I have found no easy solution to this. The shade still has some UV in it but someone must have found a way to deal with the whole problem without spending the cost of a good used car.
Another issue (for me anyway) is the cost factor in buying gloves. I finally found a source of good Nitrile gloves in the USA (Lowes), they sell them in the Paint Dept. for a reasonable cost. Up until that time I was using cheap rubber disposable gloves and since I have very large hands, it was a real pain in the ass..
I was wondering if others had unique ideas about safety issues and ways that they solved their challenges.....I still wish I had a fume hood and didn't have to work outside so much but it's better than a big glup of NO. :o
I did purchase a used small refrigerator from a guy who moved out of a dorm at the local University. It was $10 well spent. THAT was a great investment. - Solved a lot of problems.




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[*] posted on 16-11-2005 at 09:51


You can do more in your room if you have good fan and leave windows open.

If you have fireplace or furnace you can use this as fume hood. It works rather well if temperature in room is higher than outside.

You can go to microscale for many experiments. My first experiment - reacting soda and vinegar almost 20 years ago was done with jam jars that were almost full. After this i have continuously moved to smaller vessels. Now i do most experiments with three types of test tubes ( with 15ml, 4ml and 1ml volumes if half-filled ). I have pipettes for 0.05ml precision and scales to 0.1g so i can measure reactants precisely enough. I can measure boiling point of less than 2ml of liquid and i have selfmade reflux for two bigger types of test tubes as well as glass tubes for distilling and collecting gases. Going to microscale is trully rewarding in my opinion.
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[*] posted on 16-11-2005 at 11:38


Always close containers with inflammable stuff.
Have a wet towel around.
DonĀ“t panic.

/ORG




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vulture
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[*] posted on 16-11-2005 at 14:15


Short wavelength UV is not a problem because glass stops this.

Processing your gasses through washing bottles can eliminate the need for a fumehood if quantities and gasflow are well controlled.

Most important thing still is planning. If you know what you're dealing with you probably know what can go wrong and how to contain the situation.




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neutrino
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[*] posted on 16-11-2005 at 14:22


Buy gloves online. They are cheap and of good quality.

My current solution for the fume hood problem: work outside at night with a breeze.
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IrC
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[*] posted on 16-11-2005 at 14:31


Quote:
Originally posted by vulture
Most important thing still is planning. If you know what you're dealing with you probably know what can go wrong and how to contain the situation.


This is the number one consideration for me. I investigate each chemical thoroughly as to properties and hazards, as well as any possible chemicals which will be created. Chemistry is not a subject for cavalier experimentation. The only problem is the price of a Sax volume is too high and MSDS's are about the most useless things ever written. Pim's seem to contain more information and the research done in them is more realistic. Once I had a disagreement with 12AX7 about cadmium, and my data for this was from a pim where the information contained real world cases such as in this instance the guy who died after soldering with a brazing torch using silver solder. The solder contained a fairly low cadmium content but the autopsy suggested the temperatures formed cadmium oxide and this was responsible for the death. I suggest you spend 90 percent of your time in research of every issue when you are planning an experiment. I believe you can never be too safe. Arsine was discovered by a researcher in a circumstance where this was his last experiment, and history is full of such examples.
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[*] posted on 16-11-2005 at 15:05


Ouch! And I was just considering asking for an oxyacetylene cutwelder for Christmas specifically for the purpose of silver soldering.



The single most important condition for a successful synthesis is good mixing - Nicodem
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[*] posted on 16-11-2005 at 17:17


I am now taking more safety precautions now than in the past. In the past I have gotten away with a lot of stuff that I would not do now. I also do much more safety research than before. About that arsine incident, I almost did an experiment which would create stibine unintentionally!:o I am so glad I did not heat the rxn vessel! I only learned of stibine after halting the experiment and learning of it accidentally while searching for something only semi-related a while later. Very little info on it other than that it is toxic...don't let nascent hydrogen get near antimony!

However now with more chems and more to lose I am much more paranoid about doing stuff in view of the neighbours, leading me to do more experiments indoors. When I need serious ventilation I either do the experiment outdoors around midnight, in the garage and just open the door when fumes build up(for irritant fumes, not severly toxic ones), or with my improvised fume hood which is essentially computer fans mounted onto ends of a dryer hose and one end sealed to a window, and the other end has a small translucent box in which I can set a small fume-emmiting rxn vessel. I have no problem working with and releasing small ammounts of chlorine inside with the windows open though, and only when manipulation has minimum chance of releasing it.

[Edited on 17-11-2005 by rogue chemist]




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IrC
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[*] posted on 16-11-2005 at 19:23


I never knew about that one and I have pounds of antimony granules. Going to be researching stibine for a while. On the fume thing, I found that Home Depot has two inline fans designed to go into round ducts to help boost the airflow in a large central air. One is 6 inch at 250 cubic feet per minute and the other is an 8 incher at 500 cfm. I settled on the 6 inch as they also sold a hole cutter for a wall which was 6 inches in diameter. Looked several hours over a few trips and cannot find any tool to make a perfect 8 inch hole through a wall, and it sucks as now I realize the 250 cfm is about half what I need.

The fan is a typical phonograph type motor so there is no spark danger other than the power switch and this can be sealed, relocated, or an explosion proof type. The second consideration was for the outside was a 6 inch dryer vent with flap, and here again they had none in 8 inches. The pipe on the dryer vent accepts the outflow end of the 6 inch fan pipe perfectly and I sealed the whole thing and painted it the color of the outside wall. It blends into the wall so well you nearly run into it walking around outside and is so quiet I can barely hear it running.

Before I put it together I bought a piece of very fine screen and epoxied it to the end of the pipe outlet under the flapper so there is no interference with the flapper, eliminating any chance of bugs coming in through it and the flapper stops any breeze from coming in as well.

The whole thing is near perfect and very simple to put together, and you could leave the fan pipe sticking out just enough on the inside to connect a flexible dryer vent pipe (non metal type best) between it and a fume hood box which can be removed when the bench is used for other purposes. Also when not used they have a white vent looking thing at Home Depot which bolts to the wall and makes a nice cover for the wall with a good appearance. I think I explained the whole thing poorly but if you go there and see the pieces I mentioned you will instantly see how it all puts together for this purpose. I know they did not have this in mind when they designed the parts but it all goes together so well. The only thing is of course the pipes are aluminum but I do not see why the fan assembly could not be reinstalled into a plastic pipe if the need arose.

The first hit on stibine was at Niosh and I saw a pocket guide on chemical hazards you can download for free and run locally. I don't know how good it is but I thought I would give a link:

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npg/

Quote from the page:

"Download NPG

Download a stand-alone HTML version of the NPG compressed as a ZIP file. The ZIP file
contains a condensed version of the NPG. All non-Pocket Guide links were removed so
that this set of files acts as a "stand-alone" database. These files can be used with a standard
web browser or on some mobile devices. npg-only.exe (2 MB), (Self-extracting zip file for Windows)"

[Edited on 17-11-2005 by IrC]
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[*] posted on 16-11-2005 at 19:43


Nice going IrC. I just love Home Depot - bought most of the stuff for my lab there.

You should be able to get reasonably good round holes using a keyhole saw, jig saw, or maybe even a reciprocating saw for the larger holes. Usually they don't have to be perfect as you have caulk and flanges to cover the imperfections.

The outlet appearance was a real challenge for me. Criteria for professional installations prescribe a stack that is 8 foot (2.7m) minimum above the roof line. Well, now wouldn't that be a real conversation piece! I was going to cut a hole in my roof but my wife protested and I'm glad she did. Instead I used the existing 12" x 17" gable vent. It was perfect : camoflage, bug screen, and louver to keep the rain out. And my blower is only 44 dB so noise level is pretty low.




The single most important condition for a successful synthesis is good mixing - Nicodem
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[*] posted on 17-11-2005 at 05:01


In the past I used to do my experiments at all kinds of places in and around the house. That practice I abandoned three years ago, when I moved to a new house with my family.

Right now, I have a small room (2.5 x 2.5 m2) in the attic of my house with hot and cold running water. I installed a standard kitchen fume exhaust, normally used for removing food preparation smells and so on, but here it is used for venting away toxic fumes.

Making this small room has cost me appr. $1000 total for the small kitchen, for soft concrete blocks to make the walls and for the kitchen fume exhaust. Because it is under the roof, there was no problem for the outlet of the fume exhaust.

---------------------------------------------

I also do my experiments on a microscale and even fairly toxic gases can be vented away under the kitchen fume exhaust. So, the combination of kitchen fume exhaust and microscale experimenting allows me to do almost everything I want.

I also made a special provision, which allows me to make nice pictures of my experiments (see on my website for examples) with good lighting conditions. I all combined this with the kitchen fume exhaust and that makes a fairly safe and convenient place for me to experiment and to take pictures of them.

Larger experiments, where more toxic gases are produced, I do outside. I'm lucky to have a house with a large garden, surrounded by trees and so on, so I do not have the risk of people watching me and thinking that I'm preparing drugs (at least, in summer :D).

The only thing, which I cannot do, is larger syntheses, which require the setup of larger distillations, heating of flasks, with all kinds of tubing, wires and so on. That sometimes restricts me in my possibilities, but as long as we have small children walking around my current setup fits well.




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[*] posted on 18-11-2005 at 18:44


How about :

1.) Before every reaction, compile a list of all possible products, not just from the reaction itself, but from the products reacting with the surroundings.
2.) Adequate ventilation. Always.
3.) Use the right glove. Some materials stop certain chemicals while others will end them rapidly. Same goes with gas masks.
4.) When working with flammables, make sure to do it away from any heat or ignition source (I have a picture of a diethyl ether distillation where a nice blue propane pilot flame is visible...smart work eh?)
5.) When working with explosives, take into account the sensitivity (light, heat, friction, impact, etc.). Same goes with storing, one should never store a friction sensitive energetic material in a screw off cap.
6.) Have proper emergency plans in case something goes horrifically wrong (some times you have to call the authorities).
7.) Read the MSDS before you open the bottle.
8.) Excercise commonsense (i.e. don't make excessively poisonous, or reactive/unstable compounds unless you a.) live alone at least, b.) have your will already made out
:P )
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[*] posted on 19-11-2005 at 04:53


Put labels on every bottle/box, with all the needed warning signs, write clearly what's inside, wear gloves/gas mask/goggles/lab coat, don't let "unauthorised people" mess around with your stuff, good ventilation, and every other thing that fleaker said



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[*] posted on 19-11-2005 at 12:56


Plan plan plan! Don't wing it! Things go so much better when you take the time to plan it out and decide exactly what you are going to do, how you're going to do it, what might go wrong, what you will do when it goes wrong etc.

I have learned that by winging many experiments.

Also, test any apparatus that will have poison gas in it to be leak free. It is not a good time to discover that the apparatus leaks after you have mixed together the acid and TCCA to generate the required 2 moles of chlorine.

I learned that from experience as well.
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