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Author: Subject: Help needed to prevent accidents with ammonium hydroxide.
Tacho
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[*] posted on 26-12-2006 at 03:32
Help needed to prevent accidents with ammonium hydroxide.


I had an accident with a bottle of ammonium hidroxide recently. It was a very hot day, and the bottle had, beneath the screw cap, this plastic plug. When I pulled the plug, the ammonium hidroxide flash-boiled, spraying the corrosive liquid on my face.

I am lucky not to be blind, because I was not wearing googles (famous last words: 'I'll just open the bottle, nothing can go wrong'). All I have is a few blisters on my lips and eyelids (!) and memories of pure agony under the shower. I'll be ok, guess that's my christmas present.

I would like to make a label for ammonium hydroxide bottles warning of it's low boiling point and dangers of opening then on a hot day. I intent to distribute it (for free, of course) to local chemical retailers to prevent more acidents like this, since it's summer here now. But I would like to add a drawing of a bottle spraying it's contents volcano-style. I could do the artistic work, but it would save me some time if anyone had such graphic available.




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Sauron
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[*] posted on 26-12-2006 at 04:15


You were lucky and you know it. Wear eye protection. Take it from someone who is blind in one eye and can't see out of the other, after detached retinas, cateract surgery etc.

If in any doubt about a possible pressure build up, open the bottle in the hood behind the sash. Or use a safety shield between you and the bottle. All that is in addition to the eye protection. Remember: lots of worse things around than conc ammonia.
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kaviaari
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[*] posted on 26-12-2006 at 05:04


About an hour ago I was in my lab making more ammonium sulfate. I had measured H2SO4 to the beaker and took out the bottle containing 25% ammonia solution. Usually I handle cons. ammonia only outdoors. Because this experiment was so simple and it was snowing I thought that it wouldn't be very dangerous to handle it indoors this time.

I didn't pay any attention to the high-pitched tone that was comming out of the bottle. As I opened it I just heard a sound like "whoossh" and a big could of ammonia was floating around the room. I quickly opened the doors and ventilated the lab. Usually ammonia bottles doesn't do that, but because of a finnish tradition we had heated our sauna in the morning of 26th day. My lab is quite close to the sauna, so chemicals bild up heat too. Luckly I didn't end up having an corrosive geisir.

[Edited on 26-12-2006 by kaviaari]

[Edited on 26-12-2006 by kaviaari]




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Aqua_Fortis_100%
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[*] posted on 26-12-2006 at 07:56


Quote:
Mensagem original enviada por Sauron
Remember: lots of worse things around than conc ammonia.


about the some of the "worse things", you must avoid the silver compounds, bromine,mercury,chlorine, calcium hypochlorite, iodine,etc.. many of these can form explosive and too unstable compounds which can blow quite easily if disturbe the flask containing the stuff...and throw in you a lot of shrapnell...




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Tacho
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[*] posted on 26-12-2006 at 08:58


Thank you all for sharing, but does anybody have the graphic I mentioned? I mean, something that illustrates a bottle dangerously ejecting its contents?



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kaviaari
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[*] posted on 26-12-2006 at 09:35


Quote:
Originally posted by Tacho
something that illustrates a bottle dangerously ejecting its contents?


Mmkay, I am no artist but I opened up gimp and tried to draw something:

splash.jpg - 7kB




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Aqua_Fortis_100%
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[*] posted on 26-12-2006 at 12:37


Oh, thanks also Kaviaari...
and about the some photos i tried search some picks of fulminating silver, but haven't sucess ... in other hand, synthesising the compound is a very bad idea.. some peoples can make it accidentaly (making a tollens reagent with ammonium hydroxide and silver nitrate and let it stand for longs periods of time,causing the precipitation of fulminating compounds), and resulting in horrible acidents,with explosion and rupture of any glassware among other nasty things..(even exploding in ice! highly and extremely sensitive!!!..), i heard this in first time on old rec.pyrotechnics which appeared the diferences of silver fulminate and fulminating silver... the mercury salts is also unstable...
read this, http://yarchive.net/explosives/silver_fulminate.html

also NEVER TRY the "improvised" manufacure of mercury "fulminate"...
see, extracted from "anarchist's CRAPPY book", if you follow the procedures ,you probably gets a unforgettable accident :mad: :

"Method #2 for preparation of MF:
--------------------------------
1) Mix one part mercuric acid with ten parts ammonia solution. When
ratios are described, they are always done according to weight rather than
volume.
2) After waiting eight to ten days, the mercuric oxide will have reacted
with the ammonia solution to produce the white fulminate crystals.
3) These crystals must be handled in the same way as the first method
described, and must be washed many times and given several litmus paper
tests. All fulminates are sensitive to shock and friction, and should be
handled in a gentle manner."

AGAIN,NEVER IN YOUR LIFE, TRY THIS... IS SAME WHICH CALL THE DEATH!!!

[Editado em 26-12-2006 por Aqua_Fortis_100%]

[Editado em 26-12-2006 por Aqua_Fortis_100%]




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Tacho
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[*] posted on 27-12-2006 at 02:07


Thanks kaviaari, specially for drawing it youself. It's perfect!



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[*] posted on 27-12-2006 at 20:49


Tacho I was sorry to read of your unfortunate accident with the ammonium hydroxide and am very glad to hear that your eyes will recover.

Last summer my garage lab got very hot - over 100F (38C) and I was worried that some of my solvents (ether, DCM) might blow their stoppers, but they never did. I just purchased a liter of strong ammonium hydroxide. In my winter condition it is subdued but I fear it will not be next summer. I'm thinking that I should purchase a small refrigerator for these volatile reagents before the summer heat is upon me. What is your thinking on this?




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Aqua_Fortis_100%
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[*] posted on 27-12-2006 at 21:40


I also be worried about other dangerous ejecting substances such as H<sub>2</sub>O<sub>2</sub> (i have at moment 3 liters of 50% grade..) ,sulfuric ether (some days ago i bought 100ml of 50%..),etc..

about ammonium hydroxide, i never undergo accidents with NH<sub>4</sub>OH in my face(Tacho, accidents such the your should be really terrible.. i'm also very sorry about your accident...)..but i have a "unforgettable" accident some monts ago with the NH<sub>3</sub> gas ...
I tried pass a big amount of NH<sub>3</sub> (from (NH<sub>4</sub>;)<sub>2</sub>SO<sub>4</sub>/NaOH) ) in a chilled solution of CH<sub>2</sub>O to make my hexamine , but i added too water to mix in a gas generator, so the reaction scaped out my control and giving a great jet of hot NH<sub>3</sub> in my face (just specially my nose and eyes..)... have the sensation which the stuff eating my lungers for endless hours.. BAH! :mad:


[Tacho, really sorry about my earliers posts, only now i understand exactly what you aiming..accidents with ammonium hydroxide ,not with NH<sub>4</sub>- compounds.. i'm a fool..and sorry also by my poor english]

[Editado em 28-12-2006 por Aqua_Fortis_100%]




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Tacho
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[*] posted on 28-12-2006 at 03:13


Magpie,

As I mentioned quite a few times before, I do my hobby in my attic which, of course, gets quite hot in summer. Although I slow down a lot in during the hot season (it's simply too unconfortable to be there) I still play around with my chemicals. I never had a problem. Only an ocasional "pop" when opening a bottle and diethyl ether that dissapears slowly from its flask no matter how well closed. My volatile solvents are kept in glass bottles with poliethylene "plugs" and screw caps. I have DCM, trichloroethylene, ethyl acetate, diethyl ether, acetone, IPA, methanol and ethanol. The alcohols are kept in simple plastic bottles with screw caps.

About the refrigerator: I would not use it. More often than not, volatile solvents are flamable, and you will have all of them in a closed box that has wires, interruptors, light bulbs etc. If your luck is low enough, your H2O2 bottle may also be leaking inside this fridge in that hot summer day when power goes down for a couple of hours. But if you are willing to take proper precautions, like sealing the right spots but still allowing some minimum ventilation...
Fridge's warranty will be voided anyway.

My plans for the near future is to move the volatile and heat-sensitive things to a ventilated high shelf adjacent to my garage.

Another note: Now that I think about it, most solvents I have would not do much harm if sprayed on my face. Noble exception to methanol and acetone, maybe IPA. Ammonium hydroxide is one of the few volatiles I have that can really hurt seriously. Sheesh. The flask has all the standard warnings (corrosive, toxic), but none about flash boiling on a hot day. I really intent to do something about it.

Aqua_Fortis,

If you were exposed to ammonia like that (lungs hurting), be alert to delayed consequences, like pneumonia.




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[*] posted on 28-12-2006 at 10:37


A good rule to follow is to treat every bottle of chemicals like a large bottle of heavily carbonated soda. Open up the cap very slowly until you can hear the hissing of the escaping gas. As you hear this hissing, continue to open the cap very slowly until the hissing subsides. If it starts to get out of control, close the cap and start over. Eventually, you will depressurize what is in the bottle and you can then open it up safely.



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