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Author: Subject: Bad days in the lab or with glassware?
JohnWW
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[*] posted on 21-6-2010 at 13:46


The moral of that story is that concentrated perchlorates (along with chlorates, bromates, perbromates, iodates, periodates, permanganates, ferrates, plumbates, bismuthates, perxenates, and osmium tetroxide) and organic matter do not mix! That "employee" who mixed spilled concentrated HClO4 with sawdust to try to absorb it could hardly have made a better bomb; he should have used common silica sand instead, and should also have tried to neutralize the acid with a carbonate or bicarbonate solution.
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[*] posted on 22-6-2010 at 05:30
Methy nitrate


Explosion Burns Instructor’s Face
University Laboratory Quakes and Chemicals Spill on a Worker.
Students Come Running
Flaring Bunsen Flame Reached Methy-Nitrate Howard Brownell
Was Experimenting With.
New York Times 2iii1916

While conducting an experiment in the Havemeyer Chemical
Laboratory yesterday Howard Brownell, an assistant instructor at
New York University received painful burns and lacerations to his
face as the result of the explosion of a vessel containing methyl-
nitrate with which he had been working. A Bunsen flame, which
had flared too near the apparatus containing the nitrate solution
[solution?] caused the explosion. Members of the faculty and
students on all parts of the University Heights campus heard the
report.

The explosion which occurred at 10:20 A. M. shook the three-story
laboratory building and shattered much glass. Ralph Murray, an
employee in the storeroom containing chemical supplies, was
slightly burned about the face when some chemicals fell from his
hand because of the sudden vibration.

Brownell went to a hospital, but Murray was not seriously injured.
The cuts received by Brownell were caused by fragments of glass
which flew in all directions when the vessel containing the nitrate
exploded.

The explosion occurred in a room immediately adjoining the
private office of Dr. Arthur E. Hill, Professor of Chemistry and
Director of the laboratory. The loud noise brought students
running from all parts of the campus.

Mr. Brownell is a graduate student at the university and was
graduated from Allegheny College.




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[*] posted on 22-6-2010 at 21:37


I love these stories the wiz puts up



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[*] posted on 22-6-2010 at 21:56


Same, but Wiz, I'd also love to know what you get up to/have got up to.



“If Edison had a needle to find in a haystack, he would proceed at once with the diligence of the bee to examine straw after straw until he found the object of his search.
I was a sorry witness of such doings, knowing that a little theory and calculation would have saved him ninety per cent of his labor.”
-Tesla
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[*] posted on 23-6-2010 at 05:48
T-butyl lithium


Deadly UCLA lab fire leaves haunting questions
March 01, 2009|
Kim Christensen
http://articles.latimes.com/2009/mar/01/local/me-uclaburn1

UCLA's Molecular Sciences Building was mostly closed for the holidays on Dec.
29 as research assistant Sheri Sangji worked on an organic chemistry
experiment.

Only three months into her job in the lab, the 23-year-old Pomona College
graduate was using a plastic syringe to extract from a sealed container a small
quantity of t-butyl lithium -- a chemical compound that ignites instantly when
exposed to air.

As she withdrew the liquid, the syringe came apart in her hands, spewing
flaming chemicals, according to a UCLA accident report. A flash fire set her
clothing ablaze and spread second- and third-degree burns over 43% of her
body.

Eighteen excruciating days later, Sangji died in a hospital burn unit.


=========
Same, but Wiz, I'd also love to know what you get up to/have got up to.

What do you want?
Information.
Who is Number One?
You are number ....
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JohnWW
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[*] posted on 23-6-2010 at 07:25


Something spontaneously flammable in both O2 and N2 like t-butyl lithium should be handled only in a glove box under argon. Or if that is not possible, with even a small quantity abstracted in a syringe from a sealed container, only if wearing an asbestos helmet/mask and coat and gloves, and thick heat-resistant safety goggles, of the sorts that firemen are issued with.
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[*] posted on 24-6-2010 at 06:44
A chemist bown to pieces


Melbourne, November, 1893
A Chemist Blown to Pieces
Timaru Herald, Volume LV, Issue 5810, 10 November 1893, Page 3
http://tinyurl.com/2bcnskk

A FRIGHTFUL EXPLOSION.

A CHEMIST BLOWN TO PIECES. A fatality happened in the suburb of
Elsternwick, Melbourne, on October 24th, which in point of horrible detail has
rarely been equalled [sic] in the records of casualties in the colony. Mr W. Evelyn
Liardet, a scientific and experimental chemist, was experimenting with explosives
in his laboratory, when by some mischance the compound exploded and
shattered him to pieces. He succeeded in bringing his explosive to perfection,
and at an expense of £2200 had patented it throughout Australia, Great Britain,
America and other places. With the completion of this work he had, as ho
believed, invented a power twenty times stronger than gelatine or nitro glycerine.
He stated that he had sold the patent rights to a Company for £30,000, and
when this was completed be intended retiring from business.

In the morning Mr Liardot was at work as usual in his laboratory, and Dr
Backhouse, a personal friend, called to have a what with him. In order to show
the doctor the power of the " dynamo," Mr Liardet took a couple of ounces of it
and rolled it up loosely in his handkerchief with a piece of fuse and a detonator
cap, then tossing the handkerchief over the garden wall into the sea, be said, "
Wait half a minute and you will see the force of the dynamo." The handkerchief
sank beneath the surface of the water, and while the doctor was smilingly
thinking that the wetting would extract all the devil out of the dynamo a great
volume of water was thrown up about 30ft into the air. Mr Liardet offered to give
some other demonstrations of the power of the compound, but Dr Backhouse
was satisfied, and nervously anxious to get away, wished Mr Liardet " Good
bye," saying jocularly as he went, “Now, be careful, and don't let my next visit to
you be to pick up your pieces." Mr Liardet laughed, and said " Never fear, I have
had several escapes, and am convinced I was not born to be destroyed in that
fashion."

Dr Backhouse left, and Mr Liardet worked away until about a quarter to four
o'clock. Then a loud explosion was heard, followed by the cracking of timbers.
After the first sound there was no other, and though Mrs Liardet could see
nothing because of the dense smoke when she ran out of the kitchen, she
thought the absence of groans indicated that her husband was unhurt, and she
cried, " Thank God, he's safe." As she strained her eyes through the smoke she
tred upon something soft, which she picked up, and to her dismay found it to be
a portion of the body of her husband. In another moment the smoke lifted, and
beneath the kitchen window the wife saw the dismembered body of her husband
not yet dead, though mangled beyond description. Death, however, supervened
almost immediately. Dr Backhouse, who had so recently left the place, was
hastily summoned. At the explosion the laboratory had been shattered, and the
body had been forced through one of the walls, bursting a hole 3ft across as it
passed: Where it rested was about 15ft away from the scene of the explosion,
and as Mr Liardet was about 16 stone in weight, the force of the explosion may
be imagined. The body was literally smashed to piece. The left arm was severed
from below the elbow, and its bones and tissues were scattered round the
laboratory and yard. There was a terrible gap in the abdomen, and another in the
head through which a hand could be placed. Both legs below the knee were
reduced to a pulp, and both eyes were blown out. The face was blackened, the
hair burned, and the flesh of the body generally was torn off with strips of
clothing. When the doctor and others had gathered the portions of the body
together they wore placed in one of the rooms of the house, to await the inquest.

Wilbraham Evelyn Lilardet
US Patent 417 429
Dec 17, 1889
Manufacture of Explosives

Piciric acid w/ potassium nitrate

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[*] posted on 25-6-2010 at 04:14


Glassware:
For me glassware is very hard to buy. In my first (and probably last) order I got 2 flasks, 2 beakers, a glass stirring rod, a thermometer, a graduated cylinder and 3 test tubes.The first was the cylinder that I was very proud of. I was trying to make it dry fast by waving it in the air when it a impacted a shelf and broke... what an idiot. Second was the stirring rod. It was on my bed and I sitted on it...what an idiot 2. Two of the test tubes broke from heat. All this in first month. Now it's a year that i don't break anything... let's see how much time the survivors will survive :)
Other accidents:
-In my rookie days (about a year ago ;) ) I had a splash of hot concentrated NaOH soln on my face and in my right eye while making hydrogen adding aluminium. Runway reaction, you know. Luckly for me I was close to the tap. Nothing more that pain to the eye for one day, but I have been scared a lot.
-Sulfuric and nitric acid eruption from a flask upon addition of AN to conc H2SO4 that turned out to be contamined with EtOH. The acid jet passed about 5 cm from my face (obviously without goggles, also see above) and it was strong enough to hit the ceiling. It was a mess to clean before it could damage the wooden floor of my bedroom.
-Fire from 100 ml acetone I was boiling on open fire :o . Half meter fireball :cool:
-The same with ethanol :cool::cool:

Yes, I am stupid.
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[*] posted on 25-6-2010 at 06:18


Acid in your bed room? You are an idiot.
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mad.gif posted on 25-6-2010 at 06:39


Quote: Originally posted by the Z man  
Glassware:
For me glassware is very hard to buy. In my first (and probably last) order I got 2 flasks, 2 beakers, a glass stirring rod, a thermometer, a graduated cylinder and 3 test tubes.The first was the cylinder that I was very proud of. I was trying to make it dry fast by waving it in the air when it a impacted a shelf and broke... what an idiot. Second was the stirring rod. It was on my bed and I sitted on it...what an idiot 2. Two of the test tubes broke from heat. All this in first month. Now it's a year that i don't break anything... let's see how much time the survivors will survive :)
Other accidents:
-In my rookie days (about a year ago ;) ) I had a splash of hot concentrated NaOH soln on my face and in my right eye while making hydrogen adding aluminium. Runway reaction, you know. Luckly for me I was close to the tap. Nothing more that pain to the eye for one day, but I have been scared a lot.
-Sulfuric and nitric acid eruption from a flask upon addition of AN to conc H2SO4 that turned out to be contamined with EtOH. The acid jet passed about 5 cm from my face (obviously without goggles, also see above) and it was strong enough to hit the ceiling. It was a mess to clean before it could damage the wooden floor of my bedroom.
-Fire from 100 ml acetone I was boiling on open fire :o . Half meter fireball :cool:
-The same with ethanol :cool::cool:

This makes a good anti-campaign for the case of the amateur scientist. Amateur scientists are idiots who blow up themselves, maim themselves and put fire to the house in which they live. It is time that you do a better job or it is time that you quit the hobby of home chemistry completely.

What most irks me in this is that you seem not to learn from previous near-disasters. A fireball from boiling acetone and then some time later the same kind of near-accident with ethanol? Not cool at all :mad:

[Edited on 25-6-10 by woelen]




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[*] posted on 25-6-2010 at 06:53


Quote: Originally posted by the Z man  
Glassware:
For me glassware is very hard to buy.


----------
Don't put a thick walled - side arm vacuum flask on the
hot plate - burner..... C-R-A-C-K!
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[*] posted on 25-6-2010 at 06:59
Ether? No. Ether!


New York Times
THE CITY; 4 Students Hurt In Lab Explosion
March 2, 1984

Four students were injured, one of them seriously, in an explosion last night in a
chemistry laboratory at La Guardia Community College in Long Island City,
Queens, the police said.

The explosion occurred when a student carrying a beaker containing a liter of
ether accidentally dropped the flammable liquid over the open flame of a Bunsen
burner.

The student, Julio Avalos, 23 years old, of Queens, was taken to the burn unit of
New York Hospital in Manhattan, where he was listed in fair condition. Also at
New York Hospital was another of the students, Marco Celallos, 42, of Queens,
who was listed in good condition. A third student was treated and released from
City Hospital Center in Elmhurst, and the fourth injured student was treated at
the scene.

The accident occurred at 8 P.M. in the organic chemistry laboratory at 31-10
Thomson Avenue.

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[*] posted on 25-6-2010 at 11:20


Wow somebody carries a liter of ether in a beaker with open flames in the lab? Strange that something like this would happen in a teaching environment. Sounds more like what would occur in a meth lab.
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[*] posted on 25-6-2010 at 13:56


Was Julio Avalos given a "fail" grade in Organic Chemistry 300 as the result of that ether explosion?
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[*] posted on 25-6-2010 at 14:10


Quote: Originally posted by rrkss  
Wow somebody carries a
liter of ether in a beaker with open flames in the lab? Strange that
something like this would happen in a teaching environment.
Sounds more like what would occur in a meth lab.




Well it do be Community College i.e., a 2-year college. AAS
&c.

I remember in Chem 101 or 2 while doing boiling points, you know
with the little tube rubber banded to the thermometer. Someone
rather than putting acetone in the little tube, and filling the beaker
with water .... filled the beaker w/ acetone and proceed to
boil it unit it inflamed!

Then I remember someone whose name is better not
mentioned here who added tooooo much ethanol to whatever
experiment ....so he hooked up the flask to the house vacuum —
and boiled off the access. Hope they had a good trap!


Your results (gas law experiment) are too good!

Good to a million decimal points as I just did the math and
made the results come out right, very-very right.
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[*] posted on 26-6-2010 at 04:24


Quote: Originally posted by woelen  
Quote: Originally posted by the Z man  
Glassware:
For me glassware is very hard to buy. In my first (and probably last) order I got 2 flasks, 2 beakers, a glass stirring rod, a thermometer, a graduated cylinder and 3 test tubes.The first was the cylinder that I was very proud of. I was trying to make it dry fast by waving it in the air when it a impacted a shelf and broke... what an idiot. Second was the stirring rod. It was on my bed and I sitted on it...what an idiot 2. Two of the test tubes broke from heat. All this in first month. Now it's a year that i don't break anything... let's see how much time the survivors will survive :)
Other accidents:
-In my rookie days (about a year ago ;) ) I had a splash of hot concentrated NaOH soln on my face and in my right eye while making hydrogen adding aluminium. Runway reaction, you know. Luckly for me I was close to the tap. Nothing more that pain to the eye for one day, but I have been scared a lot.
-Sulfuric and nitric acid eruption from a flask upon addition of AN to conc H2SO4 that turned out to be contamined with EtOH. The acid jet passed about 5 cm from my face (obviously without goggles, also see above) and it was strong enough to hit the ceiling. It was a mess to clean before it could damage the wooden floor of my bedroom.
-Fire from 100 ml acetone I was boiling on open fire :o . Half meter fireball :cool:
-The same with ethanol :cool::cool:

This makes a good anti-campaign for the case of the amateur scientist. Amateur scientists are idiots who blow up themselves, maim themselves and put fire to the house in which they live. It is time that you do a better job or it is time that you quit the hobby of home chemistry completely.

What most irks me in this is that you seem not to learn from previous near-disasters. A fireball from boiling acetone and then some time later the same kind of near-accident with ethanol? Not cool at all :mad:

[Edited on 25-6-10 by woelen]

Be sure I learned from my errors. My last (minor) accident was several months ago. Actually the acetone and ethanol accidents were not really dangerous, trust me. That's why I recall them with amusement. Don't take my :cool: smile like "Yo bro It Waz so K3wl, goTTa doo dat again". More like "now it's funny to see how much stupid I could be" :) . About the acid and NaOH ones I admit I was very imprudent but I was very unexperienced. Plus I bet most of you have experienced something similar :D.
I'm still learning and trying to improve :)
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[*] posted on 26-6-2010 at 05:48


STUDENT LOOSED HANDS IN BLAST AT RUTGERS
New York Times, May 6, 1949

NEW BRUNSWICK, N. J., May 5—An 18-year-old freshman lost
both hands and two other class-mates of the same age received
burns today in an explosion resulting from an unauthorized
chemical experiment in a University Heights laboratory at Rutgers
University.

A spokesman for the university identified the injured students as
Anthony J. Iannarone of 19 Tremont Avenue, Belleville, N. J.;
Walter Wnek Jr. of 205 La Rue Street, Philadelphia, and John H ,
Austin of 422 Morgan Avenue, Palmyra, N. J. In addition to losing
both hands the Iannarone youth received possible chest injuries.
He was removed to St. Peter's Hospital here, where his condition
was listed as fair.

The Wnek boy suffered burns on his right elbow and cuts on his
face and the Austin youth burns on his left arm. Both were treated
at the infirmary and released.


As reconstructed by college officials, the trio were members of a
freshman chemistry class of thirty students that had started soon
after 1 P. M. At 3:30 P. M., when the regular session was over,
the instructor left the room, In his absence the lannarone boy
used four chemicals left over from a previous experiment--red
phosphorus, dry shellac, magnesium and potassium
chlorate,--and combined them in a paper cup. When a second
paper cup was put over the mixture in his hand the explosion
occurred.

lannarone is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Anthony P. T. Iannarone of
the Belleville address. His father is a postal clerk. A chemistry
major, the injured student was graduated thirty-fifth in a class of
239 from Belleville High School last year.

====
NY Times
30iv52

"Anthony Iannarone revives scholarship to NYU Law School."
Presumable not for basketball.
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[*] posted on 26-6-2010 at 08:47


Quote: Originally posted by the Z man  

Be sure I learned from my errors. My last (minor) accident was several months ago. Actually the acetone and ethanol accidents were not really dangerous, trust me. That's why I recall them with amusement. Don't take my :cool: smile like "Yo bro It Waz so K3wl, goTTa doo dat again". More like "now it's funny to see how much stupid I could be" :) . About the acid and NaOH ones I admit I was very imprudent but I was very unexperienced. Plus I bet most of you have experienced something similar :D.
I'm still learning and trying to improve :)
Ah, good to read this post. People being inexperienced is not a problem to me (I also once was and in some areas I still am), but the stupid K3wLs do irk me. My somewhat harsh post also was partially induced by the fact that we lost a member at this forum appr. 2 months ago who probably died after a stupidly dangerous chemical experiment (not 100% sure though). I will do everything I can to prevent another thing like that happening.



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[*] posted on 26-6-2010 at 11:08


Z man, I just hope you are wearing personal protective gear like safety goggles and a lab coat. I once had an incident in my stupid and naive days where I tried to free a frozen stopper by boiling the liquid in the flask (mostly concentrated H2SO4). ended up freeing the stopper but sprayed H2SO4 all over my backyard and got a little on my hand. My PPG saved my face, torso, eyes... Only had a minor second degree burn on my hand which took 3 weeks to heal with no scars. The good thing about it is I learned about safety without any real difigurement and also saw first hand why PPG is so important.
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[*] posted on 26-6-2010 at 15:04


Good to hear you learned, Z man. That could've been a lot worse than it was!

I've learned to think ahead, plan ahead, and predict what may happen (while of course being prepared to encounter the unexpected :P).




“If Edison had a needle to find in a haystack, he would proceed at once with the diligence of the bee to examine straw after straw until he found the object of his search.
I was a sorry witness of such doings, knowing that a little theory and calculation would have saved him ninety per cent of his labor.”
-Tesla
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[*] posted on 26-6-2010 at 16:36


Quote: Originally posted by the Z man  

Be sure I learned from my errors. My last (minor) accident was several months ago. Actually the acetone and ethanol accidents were not really dangerous, trust me. That's why I recall them with amusement. Don't take my :cool: smile like "Yo bro It Waz so K3wl, goTTa doo dat again". More like "now it's funny to see how much stupid I could be" :) . About the acid and NaOH ones I admit I was very imprudent but I was very unexperienced. Plus I bet most of you have experienced something similar :D.
I'm still learning and trying to improve :)

Well, I have read some of your other posts, and you seem to have an obsession on the explosive aspects of chemistry. I noticed you did a thermite style reaction involving lead oxide. You spoke of the lead being vaporized. That's concerning, its a bad bad carcinogen, and you breathed it in. Same with the nitric and sulfuric (IN YOUR ROOM?!) Thats just stupid. The acetone and ethanol events, you say you learned from them, but just the fact you look back with a laugh shows you have not. Just because it wasn't bad that time doesn't mean next time it wont shatter the flask and send shards of glass into your body.

Some of the stupid things you (and others, lord knows you are not the only one) do wont effect you for years. These things could also effect your family, friends and neighbors.
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[*] posted on 27-6-2010 at 07:07
Purification of toluene w/ sodium explosion


http://tinyurl.com/2b4obck
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[*] posted on 28-6-2010 at 06:13
10-drops of nitroglycerine


Bruce Herald, Volume XIX, Issue 1939, 9 March 1888, Page 5
http://tinyurl.com/3abdj8k

EXPLOSIVE POWER OF NITRO-GLYCERINE.

An instance of the extraordinary explosive power of a small quantity of nitro-
glycerine is recorded by Dr Gorup Besamez. The incident was the explosion of
only ten drops of the substance in his laboratory, and the astonishing effects he
records as resulting from this explosion are well calculated to give a most
respectable and respectful notion of the properties of nitro-glycerine. One of the
doctor's pupils, in the course of an investigation, placed the above-mentioned
quantity (!) of the substance in question in a small cast-iron dish heater over a
small Bunsen gas burner in common use in laboratories. While so engaged the
nitro-glycerine exploded with great violence, breaking 46 panes of glass in the
windows of the laboratory, hurled the iron dish against the brick wall, the iron
stand upon which it was supported partly split and partly twisted out of shape,
and the tube of the Bunsen burner split and flattened. Those in the laboratory
fortunately escaped without injury
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[*] posted on 29-6-2010 at 06:39
RuO4



Journal - Chemical Society, London, Volume 29. 1876.
Chemical Society (Great Britain)

Ruthenium and its Oxygen Compounds. By H. SainteClaire Deville and H. Debray
(Compt. rend., Ixxx, 457— 461).

The authors prepared hyperruthenic acid (Ru04) by the action of chlorine on the
rutheniates of potassium, sodium, and barium, and obtained it in yellow, regular
crystals, but its instability prevented a determination of the form. On their
attempting to distil 150 grams of it in a closed glass apparatus, a rapid evolution of
gas occurred at 108°, and immediately a violent explosion shattered the vessel to
atoms, the laboratory being instantly filled with a dense black smoke, as if a large
quantity of turpentine had been burnt. A suffocating odour of ozone pervaded the
apartment; but no other inconvenience was felt, and therefore it appears that
hyperrnthenic acid is not dangerous, like osmic acid. A sensation of warmth was
experienced, similar to that observed when the hand is thrust into carbonic acid.
When ruthenium is heated in the oxy-hydrogen blowpipe, the same black vapour and
smell of ozone are produced. Thus, hyperrutheuic acid, which is decomposed with
explosion at 108°, can be produced at the highest temperatures, and when so formed
decomposes at the lower temperature, with liberation of ozone. This is an instance of
decomposition by cooling, or the inverse of that -which occurs in ordinary cases of
dissociation. The authors found appreciable quantities of ruthenium in a sample of
commercial platinum.


THE CHEMICAL NEWS.
VOL. LXXVIII., NO. 2036.
RUTHENIUM TETROXIDE: AN EXPLOSION. By JAS. LEWIS HOWE.

IT may be worth while to call attention to an explosion which occurred recently in this
laboratory in connexion with work on ruthenium tetroxide. As is well known, the only
satisfactory method of obtaining pure ruthenium is that of passing a rapid current of
chlorine through a solution of the melt obtained by fusing crude ruthenium with
caustic potash and saltpetre. The distillate, which consists of Ru04, is generally
received in dilute alcoholic potash, the ruthenium being precipitated as a hydroxide,
n the case noted the distillate was collected in a small flask for the purpose of
obtaining the Ru04, the excess of chlorine and Ru04 being led into dilute alcoholic
potash, the amount of alcohol being about 10 per cent. After some 5 grms. of Ru04
bad been collected the chlorine tube became stopped up, and the alcoholic potash
solution sucked back into the flask containing the Ru04. In a moment there was a
very violent explosion, the apparatus being completely shattered. The force of the
explosion can be judged by the (aft that a splinter of the thin flask was driven
through a thick glass bottle standing near by, making a hole about 3x1 m.m., but not
breaking and hardly cracking the bottle. One is reminded of the accident in Deville's
laboratory, when nearly 100 grms. of Ru04 in process of distillation exploded with
terrific violence. Ru04 is so rapidly reduced by organic substances that, if any
considerable quantity is present, the heat of the reaction causes instantaneous
decomposition. A drop of Ru04 coming in contact with rubber, wood, or many other
organic substances, instantly explodes. On the other hand, in the distillation with
chlorine, the Ru04 can be received apparently with perfect safety in dilute alcoholic
potash.

The dense black smoke produced when Ru04 explodes is readily soluble in
hydrochloric acid, and hence probably consists of Ru203. When Ru04 in a liquid
condition is brought in contact with a lump of sulphur, the latter becomes gradually
covered with a black deposit, and in the course of a few moments an explosion takes
place. Here the sulphur seems capable of reducing Ru04, a hitherto unnoticed.

Chemical Laboratory of the Washington and Lee
University, Lexington, Virginia.

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[*] posted on 30-6-2010 at 05:57
Michael Faraday


The annual register, Volume 112. 1871.
edited by Edmund Burke

The " Life and Letters of Faraday, by Dr. Bence Jones," is just the sort of book we like
to have for the commemoration of such a man as Faraday, one whose childlike
simplicity fitted him to be the follower of that great philosopher who, at the end of
his days, said he could only think of his career on earth as that of a man " picking up
a few pebbles on the sea-shore………….

His love for science was still further stimulated by the opportunity of reading the
article on electricity in an Encyclopaedia he was employed to bind. Shortly
afterwards, having had the chance of hearing a course of lectures by Sir Humphrey
Davy, he took the bold step of writing to the great philosopher and of enclosing to
him a short abstract of his lectures. Sir Humphrey was much struck by the talent of
the young man, and, though he dissuaded him from the pursuit of science as a means
of livelihood, not long afterwards obtained for him his appointment to the Royal
Institution, with a salary of 26s. per week, as an assistant in the laboratory, with the
use of two rooms at the top of the house. Nor was his place there either a sinecure or
free from danger; on the contrary, he was nearly blown to pieces by an explosion of
detonating powder. As he says himself, " Of these the most terrible was when I was
holding between my finger and thumb a small tube, containing about 7 1/2 grains of
it. My face was within twelve inches of the tube, but fortunately I had on a glass
mask. It exploded by the slight heat of a small piece of cement, that touched the glass
about half-an-inch from the substance, and on the outside. The explosion was so
rapid, as to blow my hand open, tear off part of the nail, and has made my fingers so
sore that I cannot yet use them easily. The pieces of tube were projected with such
force as to cut the glass face of the mask I had on." In the autumn of the same year,
he accompanied Sir Humphrey Davy on a tour of a year and a half on the Continent—
………

---
Most I suspect know that the Farad - The unit of capacitance in the
meter-kilogram-second system, was named for Michael Faraday.
Who among you knew that the deciBel (dB) was named for A. G.
Bell's daughter Deci? Or that the unit of conductance, admittance,
and susceptance the Mho (now Seimen) was named for one of the
Three Stooges?


djh
-----
Sigma field (algebra) — A collection of
subsets of a given set which contains the
empty set and is closed under countable
union and complementation of sets.

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