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Author: Subject: Purification of phosphorus -- treatment of WP burns
Antimony Pentafluoride
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[*] posted on 17-8-2012 at 13:40


Chemical burns really do require treatment. You don't need to come up with an elaborate lie about why you're seeking treatment, and the medical staff should know that the burn was due to phosphorus so it receives the proper attention.

That compound is lovely. Good work! Please take care of yourself. Burn treatment is deceptively complex, especially when its a chemical burn.

[Edited on 17-8-2012 by Antimony Pentafluoride]
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BromicAcid
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[*] posted on 17-8-2012 at 13:51


When I went to the hospital several years ago for a thermite burn here were the main issues:

1) No one knew what thermite was
1a) No one cared what thermite was
1c) No one believed I knew what I was talking about

I could see a visit to the ER going similarly for a phosphorous burn. How many doctors have been trained on treatment for phosphorous burns? I'm sure they would say you don't know what you're saying, that they already know the proper treatment and don't need to look it up, and coincidentally (and thankfully) send you home with silvadene cream which would properly treat but only by chance. You would have been better off calling poison control, I think they actually enjoy being able to look up odd-ball ailments.




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Rogeryermaw
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[*] posted on 17-8-2012 at 14:16


i would agree with BromicAcid except that you have every news outlet in the world crying foul about the use of phosphorus weapons against targets in the middle east and, domestically, the very word "phosphorus" is synonymous with illicit chemistry. 10 years or more ago that would not be the case. it is likely that handling phosphorus would be viewed much like handling thermite. however, since then, phosphorus has gained quite a reputation. hell, even i knew about the "red white and blue" method before i fell in love with chemistry. and at that time in my life i had no idea about the range of legitimate uses for it.

on the other hand, doctors and medical staff are supposed to follow the hippocratic oath which guarantees absolute privacy concerning your medical status unless it involves a gunshot or child abuse which require reporting (at least in the u.s.). not sure how burns from listed chemicals would be handled.....
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Antimony Pentafluoride
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[*] posted on 17-8-2012 at 15:08


Quote: Originally posted by BromicAcid  
When I went to the hospital several years ago for a thermite burn here were the main issues:

1) No one knew what thermite was
1a) No one cared what thermite was
1c) No one believed I knew what I was talking about


Ooooo thermite burn! Ouch! That you received such poor care is very sad. I'm taking my nursing boards in June, so that should give you an idea of my perspective on this. Phosphorus burns can be really serious... especially if they aren't treated. The first thing I ever learned about phosphorus was that it can burn you real bad. Did the hospital you went to have a dedicated wound care center / burn unit?

At the very least I'd expect doctors to know about treatment of a flammable metals burn. Maybe I have a bias because my clinical rotations have largely taken place at a hospital that has a wound care center, and the personel there were very knowledgeable. I even discussed redox chemistry with the person monitoring the hyperbaric chambers. I'm sure that at a good hospital somebody would know what thermite was... I'd hope.... errrr... I'd know what thermite was. Than again, I had to explain the difference between phosphorus and phosphate to many (more than I ever would have thought) to some of the other nursing students (and a teacher!). So perhaps you are right.

Quote: Originally posted by Rogeryermaw  
on the other hand, doctors and medical staff are supposed to follow the hippocratic oath which guarantees absolute privacy concerning your medical status unless it involves a gunshot or child abuse which require reporting (at least in the u.s.). not sure how burns from listed chemicals would be handled.....


Phosphorus is definitely very sketchy, but that shouldn't stop a person from seeking medical attention. I think if the person doesn't look like a crazed fiend/cook and is generally polite and nonthreatening, they will give him/her the benefit of the doubt. Also people without much chemistry or legal backround would not immediately know it to be a listed chemical.

My personal leaning is if the person said that they currently only possessed a tiny quantity of WP then privacy would outweigh danger to the public. It would also depend on whether it was clear (to any rational person) that other members of the household were in immediate danger. I mean, if the person lived in an oil tanker full of babies and told me they had 50 pounds of WP that nobody knew about...

I have a former teacher who might know whether the right to privacy would outweigh the potential danger of the person's possession of phosphorus. I'll send them an email asking what they think of this situation and perhaps then I'll have something more useful to contribute to this discussion.

[Edited on 17-8-2012 by Antimony Pentafluoride]
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Pyro
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[*] posted on 17-8-2012 at 16:52


actually in hindsight, visiting a military doctor would be best, atleast in the US and europe. don't know about [DELETED] :)
but I love the bar of WP!! awesome!
I will definitely try it on a small scale first, after i get a damn torch hot enough! (might take a little while, will ask for one for christmas :D)

[Edited on 18-8-2012 by Pyro]




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nezza
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[*] posted on 23-12-2012 at 04:57


Thanks for the info Endymion. I have prepared white phosphorus from red as per woelen's method some while ago and had a typical yellow waxy solid which phosphoresces patchily. The chromic acid clean works a treat. I now have some opalescent white pearls of white phosphorus which looks much purer. I have a couple of observations on my samples.

1. The pure white phosphorus tends to supercool and is sometimes quite difficult to solidify, even in ice water.
2. When it does solidify it crystallises rapidly (Is this a measure of its purity ?).
3. In the cold it is quite brittle and glass like.

I am hoping to post a couple of pictures of the solid in water and a sample phosphorescing soon.
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[*] posted on 23-12-2012 at 09:21


Yes, if you leave such pearls in chromic acid for at least a month, all of the Cr(VI) turns to blue Cr(II), and the obviously exponential drop in reaction rate means that WP's surface will be etched more and more slowly, etching its surface in a fractal manner, I guess. They indeed show some opalescence, but more than opalescence, they show chatoyancy. It's incredible. I should take a photo of it.

BTW I was wrong here. The scar is still there.
It's possible I'll be left with a permanent one. It's been a few months and it basically looks the same as it did in photo #12, with the exception that now my skin regained its surface texture. But the discoloration is still there and, funny enough, changes with my overall condition. If I'm cold, tired or scared, it gets this ugly cyanotic tinge, like a bruise.
When I'm warm, rested and happy, it's pink. So it's like a mood ring, only it works more reliably. :)




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Endimion17
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[*] posted on 7-8-2013 at 09:16


It's been 1 year, 1 week and almost 2 days since Dracula bit me, so I wanted to inform the community of my wound healing progress. 13

In most cases, it's rather difficult to spot on, but any other observation reveals it. It still changes colour depending on my current state.
The texture is almost completely back, but you can feel the elasticity is lower.

I think the healing has pretty much gone into the realms of asymptotic slowdown and in 5 years, it will be better.




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softbeard
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[*] posted on 7-8-2013 at 23:41
Phosphorus burns


I think a thorough discussion of this topic requires a complete textbook (and I'm sure battlefield surgeons have written them). I have done some professional work making/ designing red phosphorus-based 'marine location marker' (MLMC2) positional military smoke&flame flares designed to be dropped from aircraft mainly for search and rescue.
Let me tell you the little I do know about the subject is, literally,
an opening into hell itself.
While it's true minor burns by red phosphorus or its pyrotechnic compositions could be classified as 'regular' burns with no real dramatic outcomes; especially if quickly treated with copper sulphate solution.
The same cannot be said of multiple white-phosphorus-caused trauma with WP pieces in the tissues.
This is an opening to a hell few want to contemplate. The burns themselves are just a sideshow. WP systemic toxicity means liver damage/organ failure as the nurse/doctor desperately tries to pull smouldering phosphorus fragments from the patient.
Morphine for pain? Ha! Good luck, that's for the movies. Grams are given and the patients still scream. Maybe these days with heroin/hydromorphone or fentanyl.
And of course that's just the begining of the poor saps nightmare as tissue necrosis and WP systemic toxicity provide a true Faustian version of hell.
And WP burns do NOT want to heal.

I've never had a RP/WP burn. A worker I know did; it was very minor due to RP. Believe me, this is a hell you do not want to see or experience.
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Pyro
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[*] posted on 14-8-2013 at 11:56


I just finished purifying all my WP in less than 2hrs and wish to improve on Endi's method.

I started by adding all my WP to a 150 ml beaker of dH2O. to that beaker I added about 5ml H2SO4 and a spatula full of K2Cr2O7 and stirred by hand. when it was all dissolved I had a dark yellow/orange solution.
I then heated the beaker on a hotplate to 55*C and kept it there during the whole procedure. after I had stirred it for about 5 min I took a pipette and sucked in a small amount of the water, then sucked in as much WP as possible, I found that most impurities float to the top of the WP in the pipette, I then gently squeezed the bulb until almost all the WP was out, but the impurities were still there, then I squirted them out in a fresh beaker of very concentrated chromic acid (red).

I repeated this until there were no visible impurities. Then I pipetted the clean WP over to a fresh beaker of dH2O, then added chromic acid, this time more dilute. now I started with the beaker of more conc. chromic acid. I pipetted up the WP careful not to take too many impurities with it, then put it with the rest. after stirring this for another 5 mins to get a few big blobs I poured off 3/4 of the hot water and added cold water to make the WP solidify. I then took tweezers and transferred it to a bottle. it is as pure as Endi's purest.

If you want I could make a picture tutorial from RP to superpure WP




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[*] posted on 15-8-2013 at 04:41


here are the promised pics:



white phosphorus crystal structure.jpg - 59kB
white phosphorus crystal structure above (1).jpg - 65kB

these two are from when I squirted a pipette full of WP into a beaker of cold water, I have never seen this before!
it looks a little yellow but was actually more white, the water is yellow because it contains a tiny bit of chromic acid that got pipetted over with the WP


WP_20130814_006.jpg - 72kB
these are the three beakers needed, on the left a soln. of K2Cr2O7+H2SO4, on the right a more concentrated soln. to put the crap into and in the back distilled water to put the pure WP into



WP_20130814_007.jpg - 49kB
this is the main blob of WP under chromic acid



WP_20130814_009.jpg - 58kB
this is a blob of burning WP on water, as you see it floats! I was pipetting it and accidentally squeezed the bulb ever so slightly and a molten drop came out of the pipette and caught fire before it hit the water


WP_20130815_001.jpg - 69kB
this is the finished product on my desk!



[Edited on 15-8-2013 by Pyro]




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Mailinmypocket
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cool.gif posted on 15-8-2013 at 04:56
Very nice!!


Beautiful work Pyro! Not to sound like a broken record but, be careful, as I'm sure you are :)
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[*] posted on 15-8-2013 at 05:10


Very cool! :D
I'm puzzled, are those needles in that photo with the cold water?

Just be careful, and keep those beakers secured by clamps or small bricks. You don't want to flip that. I know the chances for that to happen are small, but the consequences are grave, so procedures that might sound like an overkill are in fact perfectly normal.
Oh, and remember not to heat it too much. I know it speeds up the cleaning process, but together with high concentration of chromic acid, you actually lose the phosphorus itself. The original procedure takes like a week or so, at room temperature, in the liquid state, just to minimize the loses. You have lots of RP so you don't have to care too much about that, but remember that it can start boiling, and you saw what a tiny liquid blob does outside water. Now imagine a lava lamp like behaviour >100 °C. Pretty sight, if conducted in a desert. :)

[Edited on 15-8-2013 by Endimion17]




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Pyro
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[*] posted on 15-8-2013 at 05:32


yes, those needles are in the beaker of cold water.

I am very careful! but still i did tip a beaker, it had cold rinsing water and no WP so I was lucky, but I was stupid then.
everything was conducted at approx. 55*C

When I find my camera I will make a write-up on making very pure WP from red (If its OK for you of course) and will weigh it before and after cleaning and see how big the losses are. I don't think they are so bad as the P doesn't spend much time in chromic acid and undergoes mechanical cleaning as well




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[*] posted on 15-8-2013 at 10:22


Certainly, go ahead. I don't hold any patents. :D

That thing with the needles is interesting. The only time I've seen phosphorus crystals is when I left an extremely clean sample etching in the chromic acid for a long, long time. It kind of reminded me of surfaces of Europa and Enceladus, but more ordered.




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[*] posted on 15-8-2013 at 12:30


Nice work Pyro. The last picture looks like two sleeping baby Draculas ;)



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[*] posted on 15-8-2013 at 12:39


Endi and Pyro, excellent work!

Could you two make a publication article about this? It may go to Prepublications, Member publications, or even as a two-men review in Journal of amateur science!




...and then I disappeared in the mist...
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Pyro
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[*] posted on 15-8-2013 at 13:52


I'm working on an illustrated guide now.

PS: I have now got more than twice as much as I did before, but it is slightly less pure but still so pure that it exhibits supercooling!

[Edited on 15-8-2013 by Pyro]




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