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Author: Subject: Bad Habits In The Lab
Deathunter88
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[*] posted on 5-4-2015 at 01:01
Bad Habits In The Lab


I wanted to start a thread talking about some bad habits that you have working in the lab. Anything that would not be proper (or safe) procedure counts. I will start:

Swinging around glassware to get rid of extra water on newly washed things. For example, if I wash a graduated cylinder there will always be water left in it, therefore I will swing it around and use centrifugal force to dry it faster. I am sure one day I will hit it on something and break it but until then, I will continue the bad habit. ;)

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[*] posted on 5-4-2015 at 01:04


Haha, I'm guilty of that particular bad habit as well.
I also have the bad habit of letting the washing pile up until I have a mountain of glass to clean.




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[*] posted on 5-4-2015 at 02:41


Too many to choose from........ probably the cider drinking while quietly doing things. I mean it's not like I get drunk and make explosives but yeah, even drinking any liquid in a lab setting feels kinda wrong.

But whatever, it is my own lab, i'm going to play loud music and be awesome.

Edit: why do I sound like a rebellious 13 year old? At what point does the 'Adult' upgrade package get delivered?

[Edited on 5-4-2015 by Tdep]
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Deathunter88
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[*] posted on 5-4-2015 at 03:21


Quote: Originally posted by TheAustralianScientist  
Haha, I'm guilty of that particular bad habit as well.
I also have the bad habit of letting the washing pile up until I have a mountain of glass to clean.


I sometimes also leave my dirty glassware in the sink until I realise that I just ran out of clean 250ml beakers. Then i go into a washing spree and get everything clean. Repeat.
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[*] posted on 5-4-2015 at 07:18


Quote: Originally posted by Tdep  
Too many to choose from........ probably the cider drinking while quietly doing things. I mean it's not like I get drunk and make explosives but yeah, even drinking any liquid in a lab setting feels kinda wrong.

But whatever, it is my own lab, i'm going to play loud music and be awesome.

Edit: why do I sound like a rebellious 13 year old? At what point does the 'Adult' upgrade package get delivered?

[Edited on 5-4-2015 by Tdep]



They stopped the free upgrade decades ago. I think our grandparents received the last versions... :D

I'm just starting out in my lab but I noticed something last night. One of the first items to find a home on my work bench was an ashtray.
It also turned into one of the first items to be removed.

[Edited on 4-5-2015 by Zombie]




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[*] posted on 5-4-2015 at 14:58


My worst habit is writing the tare weight of flasks on the flasks. Then accidently wiping it off :(



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[*] posted on 5-4-2015 at 16:05


I just never put things back on shelves until I absolutely have to clear some space. I also often prepare and dry compounds before I have a place to store them.



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[*] posted on 6-4-2015 at 00:50


Curiosity over safety sometimes...
'Nitric acid on my skin, I will wash that off LATER'
But, now I know that it makes skin yellow :)

And pretty much guilty of all of the above.




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[*] posted on 8-4-2015 at 06:40


My only bad habit is smoking in the lab, obviously not while doing anything dangerous or around volatile solvents but smoking in the lab is a good way to start a fire. Aside from the sometimes eating a snack in between things I dont have many "bad habits"

I think we are all experienced in nitric acid staining skin at least a little bit!




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[*] posted on 8-4-2015 at 12:40


I generally leave flasks on a stirring plate without bothering to clamp them to anything. I realized this was a bad habit yesterday, when I came back to find out that the vibrations had caused them to slide backwards off of the plates and break over the long weekend.



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[*] posted on 8-4-2015 at 13:28


Quote: Originally posted by szuko03  
My only bad habit is smoking in the lab, obviously not while doing anything dangerous or around volatile solvents but smoking in the lab is a good way to start a fire. Aside from the sometimes eating a snack in between things I dont have many "bad habits"

This actually used to be considered good lab practice for some when working for cyanides, if I recall correctly.
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[*] posted on 8-4-2015 at 14:27


My biggest bad habit would have to be that I don't wear gloves all the time, unless I am handling toxic or corrosive substances.



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[*] posted on 8-4-2015 at 14:39


I paper towel dry my analytical glassware :(, I know I'm supposed to use a cloth!



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[*] posted on 9-4-2015 at 07:08


Quote: Originally posted by Chemosynthesis  
Quote: Originally posted by szuko03  
My only bad habit is smoking in the lab, obviously not while doing anything dangerous or around volatile solvents but smoking in the lab is a good way to start a fire. Aside from the sometimes eating a snack in between things I dont have many "bad habits"

This actually used to be considered good lab practice for some when working for cyanides, if I recall correctly.


That's why my mommy taught me to wash my hands before dinner! And eating cyanide is a great way to get a resistance




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[*] posted on 10-4-2015 at 16:32



Quote: Originally posted by Deathunter88  

Swinging around glassware to get rid of extra water on newly washed things.


By doing this at the basin I am washing up at, I have often smashed cheapo conical flasks on the faucet, so often that my significant other drilled into my head the following procedure - "After turning off the water, turn faucet 90 degrees so that it is parallel with, and pushed against, the wall said faucet is mounted on". In other words, it happened much too frequently.

Other bad habits include :
- Often using my face to move my nose to source of possible odor, rather than using my hands to move said odor to my nose.
- Opting to not use breathing apparatus for "odor-ific" procedures, in order to monitor and minimize possible impact to neighbors
- Not using gloves/glasses/coat/etc, with the rationalization being "It'll only be 30/60 seconds whilst I just 'have a look', nothing serious". Often followed by dozens of hand washings or clothing changes across a dozen or so hours, just to "be safe"
- Carrying a cigarette in my hand or behind my ear unlit (I never carry a lighter in-lab for safety reasons) for as long as it takes for me to accidentally snap/drop/wet it, usually resulting in two thirds of cigarettes in that lab session being wasted.
- Not shaving or wearing a hair net, resulting in a rare beard hair at the most inopportune moment.
- Failing to label non-volatile solids, or solutions of bicarb/vinegar/distilled water/brine/etc, resulting in wasted materials & time to replace them due to being not fully sure when I had a need to certain of their nature.
- When buying labware having the mindset "I don't have one of those" instead of "This is what I need". Resulting in a lot of ornamental glassware, reagents and equipment.

And finally, keeping any cracked/marred glassware, with the unrealistic belief of "I'll anneal/repair it one day". Pointless, due to the fact that I'd never be able to "trust" said pieces again for anything at all anyway, because I'm not an experienced glass-worker.

Quote: Originally posted by szuko03  
Quote: Originally posted by Chemosynthesis  
Quote: Originally posted by szuko03  
My only bad habit is smoking in the lab, obviously not while doing anything dangerous or around volatile solvents but smoking in the lab is a good way to start a fire. Aside from the sometimes eating a snack in between things I dont have many "bad habits"

This actually used to be considered good lab practice for some when working for cyanides, if I recall correctly.


That's why my mommy taught me to wash my hands before dinner! And eating cyanide is a great way to get a resistance


I once heard a saying - "Real chemists wash their hands BEFORE going to the toilet". I'm glad I learned this one in the kitchen at an early age, cooking up concentrated chilli sauce. I live by it in the lab, gloves worn or not.



[Edited on 11-4-2015 by MrBlank1]





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Tdep
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[*] posted on 10-4-2015 at 17:35


Reminds me of a story that happened to a good friend of mine a year or two ago...

He's into mountain biking and was cleaning/etching parts of his bike with concentrated sodium hydroxide solution. No gloves, but it wasn't burning the tough skin on his hands so he didn't really think about it. He went to the bathroom later on with that hydroxide solution still on his hands and, well, recieved some rather unpleasant chemical burns on an area with more sensitive skin...

Being teenage guys we gave him a lot of shit for it, insisting he never went to the bathroom and they were in fact friction burns, but deep down we all most certainly could sympathise with him and to this day I still definitely make sure I wash my hands before going to the bathroom
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[*] posted on 10-4-2015 at 18:20


If there is an award for the most bad habits, I'd have to say MrBlank 1 just took a commanding lead.

He'll have to fight a good fight to beat these guy tho...
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[*] posted on 10-4-2015 at 18:37


And yet, in the 30's to 50's, Hydrobromic Acid synthesis was done by teenagers in indoor labs whilst wearing the ol' tweed jacket and tie, with the only safeguard against HBr escape is some excess H2O. Back when you had to rely on your skill with calculations rather than operating inventions, if you will.

How the times have changed, eh? :P

http://blog.modernmechanix.com/fun-with-the-halogens/1/#mmGa...





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[*] posted on 10-4-2015 at 19:08


Laugh or cry. :D :(

Your choice.;)




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[*] posted on 10-4-2015 at 19:22


Letting the wash pile up is a big un. Though I'm kinda glad I did, or I'd have nothing planned in the lab tomorrow!. I also shake glassware really hard to dry it. And I pick at stuck crystals with a glass rod, I've broken two stirring rods this way.
You can tell if you have been in the lab too long if you'd rather have a lab assistant than a girlfriend :)




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[*] posted on 11-4-2015 at 11:59


Got to excited telling my story and realized this wasnt actual an "accidents thread" sorry

I have the best accident story. Its a few years back in my second semester of organic chemistry. I cant recall what we were doing or what strength we had but we had a test tube of some high molar NaOH solution. The lab called for putting something in the solution and shaking it to get agitation.

A few weeks prior to this I had gotten my first and only wart. It was directly on my thumb and it was very annoying and embarrassing, considering no one I knew ever had one. I'm not stupid I know its not from doing some gross thing or a toad, I probably got it from gardening without gloves.

So anyway, I put my thumb over this test tube and shake it for a while. My lab partner says "that is extremely caustic you should use parafin film as we were told" I stop clean off my hand and continue about the lab (acing it and winning the nobel prize of course) and in a few days the wart was completely gone and never came back. I should add that solution ate a nice circle in my thumb and really did a number on the wart but it didnt bother me.

Best outcome ever.


[Edited on 11-4-2015 by szuko03]




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[*] posted on 14-4-2015 at 11:40


Haha, my teacher doesn't let us get near anything acidic over 3 molar. :) Understandably, though; a few of the seniors in the class probably don't care enough to pay attention for the sake of their skin...



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[*] posted on 14-4-2015 at 14:37


@The Volatile Chemist

Quote:

You can tell if you have been in the lab too long if you'd rather have a lab assistant than a girlfriend :)


And then there's that small percentage of us that have both (and they're the same person :D ) :cool:



I must say you guys could get a prize if a contest of bad habits got created.

My worst habit is definitely stirring things up with thermometers. Whenever I'm running a reaction that requires a thermometer and agitation, I never bother to get a stir rod. I just use the thermometer. I've broken two in the past few years with that habit :D

Also, I tend to only wear gloves on chemicals that are chronically toxic. That means no gloves when handling the common Triple Entente: Nitric, Hydrochloric and Sulfuric.
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[*] posted on 14-4-2015 at 16:02


^dude your hardcore, I mean that. I'm not sure which is worse burning or dying skin yellow but both are too annoying for me not to wear gloves. You wear em for concentrated H2O2 right?



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[*] posted on 14-4-2015 at 16:19


Quote: Originally posted by HgDinis25  

Also, I tend to only wear gloves on chemicals that are chronically toxic. That means no gloves when handling the common Triple Entente: Nitric, Hydrochloric and Sulfuric.

I used to not wear gloves when using hydrochloric(used them for sulfuric and nitric though). One day I had a cut on my finger and spilled conc. hydrochloric acid into it, damn does that hurt.:mad: Now I wear gloves using conc. acids, though anything under 6M isn't worth it.
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