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AvBaeyer
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[*] posted on 21-8-2018 at 13:24
Order a chemical, get something else


Over the past couple of years I have had several experiences where I have ordered a chemical and some other chemical material arrived instead with the otherwise desired correct labeling. This has led to frustrating wastes of precious lab time. I note several of these below. The chemicals were ordered from well known reputable sources who sell to private individuals. I will not name them because the companies made good on their errors.

Company A.
Ordered ammonium acetate, received chromium trioxide labeled as ammonium acetate. Someone was asleep at the wheel. Kept the much more expensive chromium trioxide and ordered ammonium acetate from another source.

Ordered methyl isobutyl ketone, received ethyl isobutyrate. I became suspicious when I used the material in a reaction where a ketone would have easily reacted but it did not. This was a tough one to figure out as I had to use classical qualitative analysis to arrive at the identification of what was in the bottle.

Company B
Ordered phthalimide. Received a bottle of "mud" which turned out to be a mixture of phthalimide and ammonium phthalate. Company sent a replacement bottle - same stuff. Got a refund.

Company C
Ordered basic alumina, received acidic alumina. Every replacement sent was still acidic alumina. I ended up with 5x500 g bottles of acidic alumina (ultimately free) and a refund. Never was able to get basic alumina.

Company D
Ordered a hard to find solid acid anhydride. After several frustrating experiments, found the material to be the diacid. Company replaced the material with authentic anhydride ordered from Alfa and transhipped to me at no additional cost. Totally unexpected great service.

Company E
Ordered maleic anhydride but received maleic acid. Replacement sent but still the acid. Money refunded.

I typically trust the labels but now I usually take a melting point of solids and sometimes distill liquids before use.

Anyone else have similar experiences?

AvB
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DavidJR
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[*] posted on 21-8-2018 at 14:01


Never had such bad luck with reputable sellers nor even with UK/European eBay sellers.

Only times I've got something which wasn't what it said it was, was from Chinese eBay sellers. And I'm pretty sure it was a deliberate scam, not just accident or incompetence.


Quote: Originally posted by AvBaeyer  

Company A.
Ordered ammonium acetate, received chromium trioxide labeled as ammonium acetate. Someone was asleep at the wheel. Kept the much more expensive chromium trioxide and ordered ammonium acetate from another source.

Personally i'd have gone back and ordered more in the hope that I'd get more chromium trioxide...


[Edited on 21-8-2018 by DavidJR]




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BromicAcid
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[*] posted on 21-8-2018 at 14:19


Ordered 5 kg of KOH got 5 kg of NaOH. Complained and got the 5 kg of KOH a few days later.



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fusso
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[*] posted on 21-8-2018 at 22:14


Probably the chinese scammers thought we're easy to scam so they just send out cheaper chemicals (except that CrO3 case) hoping that we can't confirm the genuinity :P



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[*] posted on 22-8-2018 at 01:29


I bought ammonium dichromate from a local shop. Got ammonium thiocyanate. Turns out I got unlucky as every other container contrains the correct chemical.
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[*] posted on 22-8-2018 at 06:11


A few years ago I ordered a couple pounds of manganese(II) sulfate on eBay and got a brown powder that smelled like sulfur dioxide and was only partially soluble. A filtration and recrystallization was good enough to clean it up nicely. The brown insoluble crud was just manganese dioxide, and it was too cheap to be worth complaining.



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MrHomeScientist
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[*] posted on 22-8-2018 at 06:21


I ordered some 35% hydrogen peroxide for one of my outreach programs, for the elephant toothpaste demo. Our setup is a 1L plastic graduated cylinder with 125mL peroxide and some dish soap, to which we pour in ~13g KI dissolved in 10mL water. Usually, it takes about 1.5 seconds for the foam to rise up before shooting out the top of the cylinder, giving the presenter some time to back away.

This time, the foam blasted out almost instantly and right into the presenter's face. Thankfully, we had all our safety gear on (goggles, gloves, lab coat). His eyes were fine, but his face was stained brown and he was smelling iodine for a few days. Scary, but it's exactly what the kids were expecting so they had fun at least.
I tested it later and found out this bottle was actually 50% peroxide :o Labelled correctly, just filled with the wrong product. As concentration increases, hydrogen peroxide gets scary very quickly.
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Morgan
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[*] posted on 22-8-2018 at 15:07


One time I ordered cellophane and got cellophane but it didn't have the properties I wanted. Apparently most is coated ...

Wiki
"In 1900, inspired by seeing a wine spill on a restaurant's tablecloth, he decided to create a cloth that could repel liquids rather than absorb them. His first step was to spray a waterproof coating onto fabric, and he opted to try viscose. The resultant coated fabric was far too stiff, but the clear film easily separated from the backing cloth, and he abandoned his original idea as the possibilities of the new material became apparent."

"It took ten years for Brandenberger to perfect his film, his chief improvement over earlier work with such films being to add glycerin to soften the material. By 1912 he had constructed a machine to manufacture the film, which he had named Cellophane, from the words cellulose and diaphane ("transparent")."

"Whitman's candy company initiated use of cellophane for candy wrapping in the United States in 1912 for their Whitman's Sampler. They remained the largest user of imported cellophane from France until nearly 1924, when DuPont built the first cellophane manufacturing plant in the US. Cellophane saw limited sales in the US at first since while it was waterproof, it was not moisture proof—it held water but was permeable to water vapor. This meant that it was unsuited to packaging products that required moisture proofing. DuPont hired chemist William Hale Charch, who spent three years developing a nitrocellulose lacquer that, when applied to Cellophane, made it moisture proof."

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Chemistry Now: Chance Discoveries: Cellophane
https://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/chemistrynow/chem_c...
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j_sum1
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23-8-2018 at 00:21
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[*] posted on 23-8-2018 at 06:38


Think I’m not the only one to have bought Cr2O3 as a pigment in an art store. The color seems fine, but the powder won’t react with anything. I even tried concentrated sulfuric acid and aqua regia. No avail.

I was able to get a tiny amount of it to react after I mixed it with potassium nitrate and sugar and made the whole thing burn. It produced a sort of a greenish slag that dissolved in hydrochloric acid. Most of it is K2CO3 and so I ended up with potassium chloride in solution, but a small part of the chromium oxide dissolved also — I was even able to make tiny amounts of chromium trioxide from it.

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MrHomeScientist
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[*] posted on 23-8-2018 at 07:04


Pottery chemicals are frequently calcined, which makes them almost inert for normal chemistry use. Often the only option is reacting it with molten hydroxide or bisulfate, IIRC.
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[*] posted on 23-8-2018 at 12:17


Quote: Originally posted by MrHomeScientist  
Pottery chemicals are frequently calcined, which makes them almost inert for normal chemistry use. Often the only option is reacting it with molten hydroxide or bisulfate, IIRC.


Thanks. I’ll try molten sodium hydroxide next time.
What does the "calcination" do to the solid? It passivates it?
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[*] posted on 23-8-2018 at 12:44


As far as I know, metallic oxides change their crystalline structure to a much more stable and compact form at high temperatures. This prevents chemical attack.

I had success making some Cr III salt by melting NaHSO4 (pool pH down) in a test tube and slowly adding Cr2O3 and heating and swirling the test tube until all the solid seemed to dissolve. Extracting with water afterwards wasn't easy because the molten salts solidify to a hard chunk, but it is doable if you only fill the test tube a little.
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[*] posted on 23-8-2018 at 12:53


I bought "food grade" vanillin from ebay once. The vanillin was cheap, in fact suspiciously so (10 $ for 250 g I think). The powder I received smelled of vanillin but looked impure like it contained sugar so I tried to recrystallize without success. Turned out to be mostly sugar and very little vanillin so I threw everything away.

I know it was sugar because I decided to taste it. Very bad idea, don't ever do that!

Anyway I ordered some genuine vanillin from a different seller and this time I took a melting point measurement, which was spot on.

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[*] posted on 24-8-2018 at 00:15


Quote: Originally posted by CobaltChloride  
I had success making some Cr III salt by melting NaHSO4 (pool pH down) in a test tube and slowly adding Cr2O3 and heating and swirling the test tube until all the solid seemed to dissolve. Extracting with water afterwards wasn't easy because the molten salts solidify to a hard chunk, but it is doable if you only fill the test tube a little.


Thanks for the advice – I will do that.
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[*] posted on 24-8-2018 at 08:20


Heavy Acetone only £6.46 for 180ml on Ebay Wow its a bargain!!!
If it was true

hac.gif - 77kB







Borosilicate glass:
Good temperature resistance and good thermal shock resistance but finite.
For normal, standard service typically 200-230°C, for short-term (minutes) service max 400°C
Maximum thermal shock resistance is 160°C
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[*] posted on 26-8-2018 at 15:02


Update to my previous post: I have spent the past 2 weekends trying to figure out why an OrgSyn procedure involving zinc powder wasn't working. Turns out my zinc powder is actually iron.



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[*] posted on 26-8-2018 at 17:56


I have had mostly good luck with both big and small companies, but have had a few big companies ship me the wrong thing before, sometimes very similar compound, like isomers, so hard to tell. Other times, just got totally wrong thing. Most times it was fixed quickly, but once or twice it took a lot of work.

Another case, with a smaller company which normally does well, they shipped something labelled as a subst. phenyl sulfonyl chloride, which was totally unreactive to anything. Turned out to be some totally other chemical crap China had shipped them.

But buying chemicals over Ebay is much more risky, so buyer beware. But if you have a problem, ask about it quickly, and if they don't answer, go to Paypal or Ebay next. I just had a problem with a non-chemical order (got half of order, marked as all of order), and they seller ignored my emails for 2 days until I threatened to contact Ebay and paypal, then they suddenly contacted me to say that the had just shipped the other half and said that they had made a mistake.
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[*] posted on 26-8-2018 at 23:00


On different occasions from the same seller I ordered sodium sulfide and got sodium sulfite. Ordered sodium nitrate and got sodium nitrite. Another time I ordered a 50 ml bottle of 40% formalin and got 500mls instead. This was from a Ukrainian eBay store so if probably was a language problem I guess.
From a pottery supplier More locally I bought 2kg of red iron oxide. The problem was my thermite failed and I found out that the oxide was synthetic.




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[*] posted on 27-8-2018 at 11:20


I have had this kind of mistakes a few times, with eBay sellers, never with real suppliers.

- Ordered Ba(NO3)2, received KBrO3 (according to tests I did), labeled as Ba(NO3)2. After telling the seller about the mistake I received another bottle without additional cost, which did contain Ba(NO3)2. I could keep the KBrO3 for free.
- Ordered KOCN, received KCN, labeled as KOCN (cyanate instead of cyanide). I personally think that this is a VERY bad mistake. I found out because I added the supposed to be KOCN to 10% HCl. This must give a lot of bubbles of CO2, but in my case I only had very weak bubbling. Later testing revealed the material to be KCN. I told the seller and made it clear that he made a very bad mistake, he apologized and gave me a refund. I could keep the KCN.
- Ordered (NH4)2CrO4, received orange/yellow stuff, inhomogeneous, some pieces more orange than yellow. The material is not (NH4)2CrO4, nor (NH4)2Cr2O7, but something inbetween. On standing in contact with air, this stuff becomes orange. Never received any response from the seller. The stuff was too cheap to put any effort in pursuing this seller, I only paid EUR 7 or so for 500 grams and the stuff still is useful.

I also had a few mistakes which worked out very well for me.
- Ordered 100 grams of hydroxyl ammonium sulfate, received 1 lb. I only paid for 100 grams. I could keep the 1 lb package without additional payment.
- Ordered multiple chemicals, one of them being anhydrous sodium acetate. When I receive the parcel, there is no sodium acetate in it. I let the company know and they tell they don't have the amount I ordered. They sent a larger package (1500 grams instead of 500 grams) for the price of 500 grams.




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[*] posted on 1-9-2018 at 01:08


Just received the black wood dye I ordered from Ebay It was supposed to be water soluble and soluble in turpentine as stated in the listing.

It is soluble in neither. If its a pigment it is not a fine powder though it does have a component that is near air float.

Ebay needs to get on top of this problem.





Borosilicate glass:
Good temperature resistance and good thermal shock resistance but finite.
For normal, standard service typically 200-230°C, for short-term (minutes) service max 400°C
Maximum thermal shock resistance is 160°C
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[*] posted on 3-9-2018 at 00:13


The water soluble black dye apparently is Jewish bitumen !!!

It does have a smell reminiscent of coal soot. I have accepted a full refund.




Borosilicate glass:
Good temperature resistance and good thermal shock resistance but finite.
For normal, standard service typically 200-230°C, for short-term (minutes) service max 400°C
Maximum thermal shock resistance is 160°C
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DavidJR
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[*] posted on 4-9-2018 at 02:21


Quote: Originally posted by woelen  

- Ordered KOCN, received KCN, labeled as KOCN (cyanate instead of cyanide). I personally think that this is a VERY bad mistake. I found out because I added the supposed to be KOCN to 10% HCl. This must give a lot of bubbles of CO2, but in my case I only had very weak bubbling. Later testing revealed the material to be KCN. I told the seller and made it clear that he made a very bad mistake, he apologized and gave me a refund. I could keep the KCN.


Well that's scary. Could easily have resulted in someone being poisoned.




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[*] posted on 4-9-2018 at 02:45


Quote: Originally posted by Foeskes  
I bought ammonium dichromate from a local shop. Got ammonium thiocyanate. Turns out I got unlucky as every other container contrains the correct chemical.


looking for ammonium thicyanate right now.. do you still have any? I would really happy to buy some of it from you.




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