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Heptylene
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[*] posted on 11-12-2020 at 10:37


Wtf I would just explode if someone told me dissolving magnesium in vinegar is a problem. Is there anything safe anymore?

Perhaps the students can source the magnesium themselves in the form of pencil sharpeners? I remember burning these when I was in high school.
Or alternatively, send the students some Mg pencil sharpeners directly. Surely the government can't stop you from sending pencil sharpeners?

On an tangentially related note, I once saw cinnamon-scented HCl in the pool section at the local hardware store. If it smells nice it can't hurt you right?
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[*] posted on 11-12-2020 at 11:21


That's what chemphobia does to people. "Chemical" has kind of become synonymous with "not natural", "scary" and "bad". Therefore anything using chemicals must also be scary and bad. Even if it's completely harmless



Nuclear physics is neat. It's a shame it's so regulated...

Now that I think about it, that's probably a good thing. Still annoying though.
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[*] posted on 11-12-2020 at 11:33


This is absolute bullshit and it's only going to get worse. They tighten everything up slowly piece by piece so it's not as noticeable until the freedom to do anything will one day be completely taken away.

It's also mainly because it is the generation of sueing people if you hurt yourself now. Hence why we have silly warnings written on everything now.

I dont see why you aren't allowed to get everyone participating in the chemistry to sign a safety paper outlining what will be dealt with and the potential "risks" before any lab classes.

It's almost too late I think, they have the majority of people scared shitless about doing anything slightly dangerous at all, and thinking on the brain level of a child. If we say you can't have or do it, don't question, just obey.:P




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[*] posted on 11-12-2020 at 11:38


Quote: Originally posted by Heptylene  

On an tangentially related note, I once saw cinnamon-scented HCl in the pool section at the local hardware store. If it smells nice it can't hurt you right?

Wtf? Chlorine and cinnamon, who invented that, it must smell awful. And even if, who would his pool to smell of cinnamon, couldn't they create something more refreshing like mint or citrus?

Can't wait to buy something like raspberry scented SOCl2, at least wouldn't smell bad if I suffocate.
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itsallgoodjames
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[*] posted on 11-12-2020 at 11:49


I'm not familiar with pool stuff, but it's shocking to me that people put HCl in their pools. I assume it's used for lowering the pH?



Nuclear physics is neat. It's a shame it's so regulated...

Now that I think about it, that's probably a good thing. Still annoying though.
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[*] posted on 11-12-2020 at 11:50


Citrus smelling bleach is a thing in my supermarket.

Working with percarbonate is a pleasure due to the fragrances. :D
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[*] posted on 11-12-2020 at 11:52


Making hydrazine must smell great :D



Nuclear physics is neat. It's a shame it's so regulated...

Now that I think about it, that's probably a good thing. Still annoying though.
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[*] posted on 11-12-2020 at 13:43


and people wonder i get so damned political........


*edit* and HORROR OR HORRORS, i have benzyl alcohol and HCl spinning merrily in a small RBF right now.

[Edited on 12-11-2020 by arkoma]




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[*] posted on 11-12-2020 at 16:35


Quote: Originally posted by itsallgoodjames  
I'm not familiar with pool stuff, but it's shocking to me that people put HCl in their pools. I assume it's used for lowering the pH?

I now hope that whatever it is they refer to as,"shocking," a pool, involves HCl.
With the amount of time I've spent in the pool chemicals section I should really know that...

[Edited on 12-12-2020 by paulll]
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violet sin
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[*] posted on 11-12-2020 at 18:31


Pools... yep, You need HCl for lowering the pH, yep. Also helps to kick chlorine from the chlorinator it seems. You tend to smell chloramine after a good shocking and acidification if the pools dirty. Get to play with chems all the time... And pay for them so it's a wash(haha). S.L.A.M : shock, level, algaecide, maintain. Found that on an Aussie site if I'm not mistaken.

this curriculum is challenging and nontrivial if they can't pass a class. What a headache! Could you try to use common things as like iron nail, tinfoil, coins, vinegar, baking soda, perhaps canning acid( ascorbic acid/citric acid). I know when I got bored working away from home, I'd hit up the dollar store and science for cheap. Dropping boric acid from a borax solution. Dropping magnesia from epsom salt solution with ammonia cleaning sol. (Leftovers are benign and actually a fertilizer). Charing bread and pre/post weight it for loss of water etc. ash it down and weigh again.

The cation identification and precipitation stuff was easy to accomplish.

We did a lot of that kinda thing in my highschool science class. Go Timberwolves. HS chem class was much better than gen sci class. We burned Mg ribbon. Watched the guy two over not seal his crucible well, it got a lot of oxygen and hot enough to crack the porcelain = intense light and white smoke for a few sec. Super fun.

Teacher did the spark gap ignited cork/bottle demo with what I referred to as the magic screwdriver, that was rad. Couple drops of alcohol in a bottle with two nails impaling it, one grounded to the cleanup sink. HV source (magic screwdriver) popped the cork across the room.

In college my chem teacher let me try to shortcut a lab because I was behind, by heating all the testubes at once in an oil bath instead of one by one in gentle flame... I failed the lab. Smoke points lower than I thought. Didn't have enough time anyhow. I appreciated seeing the error of my ways shine in her quirky smile, and later understood why she let me try it. There was a makeup lab.

Anyhow, I've rambled enough. I hope you can find something benign enough to keep them passing AND learn something.
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[*] posted on 11-12-2020 at 23:19


Again, the issue is not with supplying. I am more than happy to have students get what they need from OTC sources (pool shops or wherever). The issue is that the government is refusing to let us promote student handling of certain items without a level of supervision that is unpractical (and unreasonable) to provide. At the same time, the Curriculum and assessment authority is mandating the use of those same chemicals as part of students' assessment.

We cannot meet the requirements of both government departments simultaneously.
I want to stick them in the car park and let them duke it out. But in the meantime, magnesium ribbon, calcium chloride, denatured ethanol are all off limits. And probably everything else this side of baking soda. Our hands are tied.

It matters not one jot where the chemicals come from. Nor (stupidly) the scale of chemistry that is being done. It does not even matter to these officials the nature of the risks or the steps we take to mitigate them. The only thing that matters is that somewhere is a piece of paper that designates particular substances as hazardous. And it is forbidden to allow students to handle anything that is designated hazardous: even with parental supervision.

Just nuts.

(And on that note, I am moving this from Responsible Practices to Legal and Societal Issues. What is happening here has nothing at all to do with being responsible.)
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[*] posted on 14-12-2020 at 06:08


Quote: Originally posted by j_sum1  
Again, the issue is not with supplying. I am more than happy to have students get what they need from OTC sources (pool shops or wherever). The issue is that the government is refusing to let us promote student handling of certain items without a level of supervision that is unpractical (and unreasonable) to provide. At the same time, the Curriculum and assessment authority is mandating the use of those same chemicals as part of students' assessment.

We cannot meet the requirements of both government departments simultaneously.
I want to stick them in the car park and let them duke it out. But in the meantime, magnesium ribbon, calcium chloride, denatured ethanol are all off limits. And probably everything else this side of baking soda. Our hands are tied.

It matters not one jot where the chemicals come from. Nor (stupidly) the scale of chemistry that is being done. It does not even matter to these officials the nature of the risks or the steps we take to mitigate them. The only thing that matters is that somewhere is a piece of paper that designates particular substances as hazardous. And it is forbidden to allow students to handle anything that is designated hazardous: even with parental supervision.

Just nuts.

(And on that note, I am moving this from Responsible Practices to Legal and Societal Issues. What is happening here has nothing at all to do with being responsible.)


In the wider scheme of things, I always look at it this way: societal and governmental practices are always in a pattern of ebb and flow as far as expectations, accepted practices, etc. go. Just like a lot of political and societal changes these days, I see it as things went completely the other way for SO long, that what we are seeing is an overwhelming opposite societal and regulatory reaction.

In other words, for years and years and years, safety in regard to chemistry was a third or fourth thought in people's minds and a lot of bright minds were lost too early. I think in the academic world, this really didn't hit until the death of Karen Wetterhahn (dimethylmercury) and the subsequent ACS refocusing on chemical safety, particularly in graduate and undergraduate studies. Then, when Sheri Sangji was killed due to the explosion of t-butyllithium, it caused even more backlash about flying fast and loose with safety rules in the academic realm.

So while egotistically trying to see myself as the "outside viewer" to this issue in our current time period, I am frustrated by, but also empathetic to the overreaction that many have towards chemical safety. Sure, no high school lab is screwing around with organometallics. But my own experience in high school chemistry with a teacher that flew fast and loose with the rules (igniting hydrogen balloons that blew holes in the ceiling, writing on students skin with silver nitrate, etc.) shows me that while there are responsible educators who know exactly where the line is, there are still a few who don't.

I agree it's over the top, just figured I'd give a devil's advocate argument. Everyone SHOULD know better, but not everyone DOES know better.
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[*] posted on 14-12-2020 at 06:20


Maybe a good follow-up question, is why aren't there many chemists in OSHA helping to make common sense regulations? Is OSHA only looking for Industrial Hygienists who are scared of everything? My belief is that these governmental positions don't pay particularly well compared to the median income for a chemist. I dunno...seems to me the problem could be seriously helped if actual chemists were more spread out in the OSHA ranks.
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[*] posted on 14-12-2020 at 07:55


When you can be held responsible for anything, you make sure nothing can't happen.

As long as the system does not limit the legal responsibility to the structure of the law, this issue will exaggerate. But, finally, the politicians are held responsible for donothingism, so the issue is more constitutional.

There must be a limitation where enough personal responsibility by common sense must be required. This protects personal freedom.
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[*] posted on 14-12-2020 at 08:21


Quote: Originally posted by j_sum1  

I want to stick them in the car park and let them duke it out. But in the meantime, magnesium ribbon, calcium chloride, denatured ethanol are all off limits. And probably everything else this side of baking soda. Our hands are tied.

It matters not one jot where the chemicals come from. Nor (stupidly) the scale of chemistry that is being done. It does not even matter to these officials the nature of the risks or the steps we take to mitigate them. The only thing that matters is that somewhere is a piece of paper that designates particular substances as hazardous. And it is forbidden to allow students to handle anything that is designated hazardous: even with parental supervision.
So to be clear, they can’t substitute aluminum, zinc, or iron for the magnesium, even though it would accomplish the same thing?



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[*] posted on 14-12-2020 at 08:54


That makes me think of an experience I had. My neighbour has her BSc in chemistry. She works in a geology department of a local lab.

I went to have a couple drinks with her boyfriends and had a strip of Mg with me. She got so scared and thought it was going to burst into flames in air lol.

She also had no idea what the natural oxidation state of Mg is.
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[*] posted on 14-12-2020 at 14:50


My heart hurts for you J. As some of you know, I was fortunate enough to have a number of teachers that permanently and positively affected me and whos names I still remember.

I think that you would have been one of them had i been your student.

*edit* I learned how to do an acid/base extraction of amines in ELEVENTH FUCKING GRADE CHEMISTRY. Hands on, not just by a demo. Mr. Gerofsky.

[Edited on 12-14-2020 by arkoma]




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[*] posted on 15-12-2020 at 15:06


There is a perfect storm of opinion to shut down everything unusual especially in science. IMnot soHO:

Remember the newspaper maxim "If it bleeds, it leads?" Yellow journalism (e.g. Fox News in the US) relies on amplifying fear, especially fear of the unknown. Special interests (industry, religions, politics) suppress or inflate information about dangers. TV drama is much more absorbing and interesting than the outside world. Facts are dry and boring and don't sell media.

Schools are actively prevented from teaching critical thinking (including things like in the long run the house always wins playing roulette) and the basic idea that science is a search for what is real

Technology changes daily. Things presented as perfectly safe (DDT, antibiotics) need special knowledge to be used safely. Crimes against humanity have been concealed under scientific guise. Add the "war on drugs" (ptui) and terrorism of all kinds. One common thread is chemistry. The internet has accelerated the distribution of (mis/dis)information to the speed of light in optical fiber. So chemistry is considered inherently -universally- dangerous - unless promoted on TV. Therefore anything potentially connected with chemistry must be severely restricted.

Unfortunately, the general distrust of science and any authority results in people declaring the covid-19 epidemic fake and mask wearing a tyrannical imposition even as people die around them. You can't win for losing or thermodynamics in daily life.

I assert correlations with current politics but I can't get fuel for my flamethrower and I can't find my kevlar vest.
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[*] posted on 17-1-2021 at 19:21


An update.
With a bit of creativity I have been able to navigate a way through this mess. But, I am quite literally reduced to baking soda and vinegar (Mandatory practical, Molar volume of a gas).

I have just been in contact with another distance ed school (Government run). They do most of their practicals, including titrations using online computer simulations. To give them practical skills they have students do such things as dissolve salt in water. To meet the requirements of assessible practicals they have students perform paper chromatography with water as a solvent and using felt-tipped pens or confectionary. At least I will be able to get students to make a voltaic pile. It is very small consolation however.
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[*] posted on 17-1-2021 at 20:40


Sound more like the only trust things that are used in a kitchen better not let them know that if the water was removed from the vinagar it would be corrosive to skin. Even worse is if acetone is made from the vinagar.

In the future all high school chemistry will be done virtually in and you won't have access to a chemistry lab unless its a college.

Wow that's really restrictive using felt-tipped pens or confectionary.

This reminds me of the dihydrogen monoxide hysteria
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[*] posted on 18-1-2021 at 00:02


I wonder how much of this "chemophobia" is from the legal professions and their love for the idea of lucrative lawsuits. The system by design seems to lack checks and balances; no one makes nearly as much money from lawsuits failing, while lawyers make a lot from successful lawsuits, and so the institutions must pre-emptively restrict chemicals and anything that could be dangerous to avoid the risk of massive financial loss (and bad publicity!).

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[*] posted on 18-1-2021 at 03:35


This is exactly why legal protective mechanisms must be employed in such circumstances. They attempted to push common sense law in US ages ago, but it got rejected. In this matter, Europe fares better, if someone attempts to get something sued here, they at first get laughed out, and even if they manage to pull it through and all proper safety measures were taken and it still occurred, they will only get compensation for damages that can be proven in reality. You ain't getting a dime for seeing nightmares about chemicals.

In US it works better though if you make everyone sign a responsibility statement which effectively prevents lawsuits.
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[*] posted on 18-1-2021 at 15:02


Interesting that so many restrictions have been put in place in accommodation to distance learning.
Only a few years back in my HS Chem Classes, we were able to work with soluble Lead salts, organic solvents, liquid nitrogen, and acids/bases at 1.0 M concentration regularly. It coincidentally was also my Chem teacher's last year before retiring so that may have played a role.
If I recall correctly, we did sign waivers at the beginning of the year (in the US).
I got on good terms with the teacher and at the end of the year, we prepared some hexanitrate NC that was burned in front of the class.




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[*] posted on 18-1-2021 at 19:55


Quote: Originally posted by HydrogenSulphate  
Absolutely lunacy! I am sick of the Nanny State culture and the control freakery. The chemophobia.

Off topic but relevant, I watched a documentary recently, titled: "The Hidden Killers of the Post-War Home". Featured was the humble Chemistry Set. Shock, Gasp, Horror: a child could, under adult supervision and with safety and common sense in mind, add a few drops of glycerine onto a small heap of KMnO4 on a heat-proof surface, stand back and watch the little deflagration ensue. Modern kid's chemistry sets are a mockery! Interesting documentary, but I was irritated by the chemophobia that is so prevalent these days. Here is the link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2m4ghw2bsQ





And as a bonus, hosted by Prof S. Lipscomb. There are quite few "Hidden Killers" episodes. youtube. The Royal Institute has some good stuff too.

j_sum, is this severe enough Catch-22 where these kids can't even graduate without that chem credit?




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[*] posted on 19-1-2021 at 00:21


I have to say that I was never able to have any meaningful discussion about chemistry in my country. People regarded all chemicals as dangerous and hazardous and discussing about them was always indication of some malicious intentions and generally people always started to ask why I would want to do such thing, where would I need chemical X and it is good that it is restricted (while in reality it's not). I sometimes commented on those discussions by providing neutral and scientific point of view of whatabouts, and usually the discussion just died after that.

Also, it is common for some hobby groups in social media people to ask for example how some rust can be removed or cleaned or something similar, and when I have offered some minor but effective methods, the next 10 posts have been about how dangerous it would be. This was on some other thread already, but another thing that irritates me is how consumer products are so diluted and ineffective that it is practically impossible to get stuff done. I do a lot of metalworking, and if I were to use otc products for example cleaning stainless steel and welding seams, I would never get anything done.

Fun sidenote: I had a hairpiece to lighten a few shades for a while ago and thought that it would be trivial to do with a solution of hydrogen peroxide, so I did so. My friends just laughed at me and were obvious that it would just melt, but it turned out perfect. Instead of buying 30€ hair bleaching product and following the instructions for complete bleaching - or paying 150€ for going to a salon, I diluted my own, and monitored until it was at the wanted shade and rinsed it. I suppose the one friend who works at hair salon and is a reputable in their profession considered this to be a breach on their professional territory, as same stuff can be easily carried out without their expensive stuff and even more expensive labor.

I find it funny that for example this forum is so from another world. The basis that is discussed here would drive the majority of those people mad, and most of them are in believe that these things are only discussed by criminals and terrorists.

But I still agree and have always agreed that chemistry is an area of great knowledge, skill and consideration, and you can't just hand over stuff to an uninitiated, care-free enthusiast or a child who mixes all kinds of stuff together just to get a reaction. It's not a computer game where you can restart when you fall, it's dealing with the very basis of our laws of physics. Anyone who knows even a bit more chemistry is aware that many very otc chemicals mixed together will spontaneously form very reactive, corrosive or toxic reactions which has potential to seriously harm or even kill at spot. Chemistry is very rewarding, but you got to know what you are doing to the detail. Few hundred milligrams is small enough amount to be ignored, especially by younger ones, but it has a lot of potential. If you don't realize this any sooner, you will by heating a very little heap of peroxide based energetic material on a spoon with a lighter. First it melts, ten it boils. And then it goes off with full power. The spoon just disappears from your hand, flying across the room, you can't hear a thing for an hour and your ears will ring a couple of days. This happened to me almost 20 years ago. I read from this very same forum at that time someone took it to next level, having almost half a kilo of that stuff, and no one saw him after it went off.
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