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Author: Subject: Starter Lab Safety
tox662
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[*] posted on 15-10-2016 at 22:49
Starter Lab Safety


Hello, I am new to this hobby and would like some guidance. I have been setting up my amatuer lab for about 3 months, and I have aquired many things along the way. My main interest pertains to energetics, so safety is an obvious priority. The majority of my chemicals are stored in a large refrigerator that I keep at about -5C. I have all sorts of metal powders, sulfur powder, calcium carbide, Azeotropic nitric and sulfuric acid, ammonium nitrate, a few perchlorates, etc. All these materials are in the same fridge, but all of them are individually sealed in airtight containers, except for the ammonium nitrate which is in a large bag. Is this safe? They have been fine for several months and they do not come into contact with each other since they are all sealed at low temperatures.

My other question is what is the best way you know of to deal with 'dirty' glassware? Sometimes after attempting reactions I am left with glassware that has stains/dried chemicals that I cannot get off easily. Is there a standard procedure for cleaning glassware or is it entirely based on the individual substances?

Thank you for your help!
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Fidelmios
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[*] posted on 16-10-2016 at 00:51


I am very new as well, but I'll help in the ways I can. First for the storage, you need to keep acids and bases separated, reducers and oxidizers, and most importantly be careful of the be careful with the organics. Be especially careful of using them with your gloves too. They're not impervious, they are a barrier, and if you spill something on them, they need changed. I recommend buying a FLINN science reference catalog. I got my hands on one, I doubt mind photocopying a few of the pages.


As for the dirty glass wear, you have to identify the stain. In general, soapy water and a wire brush is my go to. After that it is acetone, then an acid/base. A good idea for what I work with is trying to dissolve the stain in something, or converting the stain to something more soluble. For instance I made a lot of copper carbonate, and it got in the nooks and crannies of everything, but copper carbonate is insoluble in... everythinf. But it reacts with HCl, so I converted it to copper chloride, then I use sodium bicarb to neutralize the waste, once it was in a waste container. Sodium bicarb is a must in labs, neutralizes a lot of stuff!
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Deathunter88
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[*] posted on 16-10-2016 at 04:03


There isn't really much point in storing common solid chemicals in a refrigerator. It just makes it a pain when you take it out and the bottle gets wet from condensation. The only things that are recommended to be stored in fridge are things like bromine and iodine. Flammable solvents are also not recommended in a normal fridge, a spark from the thermostat will set off a huge explosion.
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tox662
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[*] posted on 16-10-2016 at 05:42


I hear you Deathhunter88, but my lab is in a shed and the shed is not yet properly insulated, it can get very hot in there. The tenants that rented before I purchased the property did a bit of a number on it so it's a work in progress. Also I have acids/bases and reducers/oxidizers on different shelves if that makes a difference.
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Metacelsus
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[*] posted on 16-10-2016 at 05:45


I agree; you don't really need a fridge for most chemicals (and when you do, you need a specialized fridge for safety reasons). Of the chemicals you listed, I don't think any need refrigeration.



As below, so above.
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Texium (zts16)
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[*] posted on 16-10-2016 at 06:04


Yeah, you don't need the fridge. Maybe keep the ammonium nitrate in there, but even that probably isn't necessary. My lab is also in a non air-conditioned shed, and it gets very hot here during the summer. Despite that, the only things that I keep in the freezer are bromine, iodine, diethyl ether, and methyl iodide. Everything else that I have can take the heat pretty well.



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Amos
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[*] posted on 16-10-2016 at 09:01


If you have the fridge there already, you may as well continue using it for the acids and the oxidizing agents. It presents a good opportunity for you to effectively separate your metal powders from materials they will react violently with.



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[*] posted on 16-10-2016 at 09:16


I'm in an uninsulated shed too.

45 C in August.

Ironically the fridge broke in the heat ...

I didn't bother fixing it again - just use it as a storage cabinet instead.

Common sense is the way to go.

Precis of an irC post :-

"Do not make or buy dangerous/hard-to-store chemicals unless you have an immediate use for them."

Cleaning glassware has been thoroughly discussed over the years.
There's even a wiki entry : http://www.sciencemadness.org/smwiki/index.php/Cleaning_glas...

Try google with :-
site:sciencemadness.org cleaning glassware







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