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Whats the most dangerous chemical you have used / seen?


RyanJ
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Mods: Is this acceptable, I am not asking people how they made the stuff, where they got it etc. I'm just wondering what the most dangerous thing you think you've seen / used :)

 

I saw these when we were clearing out an old cupboard in the chemistry lad last week:

 

I think the most dangerous chemical I have ever seen was something labelled [ce]Hg(ONC)_2[/ce] and it was in the back of one of the school chemistry cupboards... I did some reasearch and this stuff is explosive. My chemistry teacher said he never knew it was there - he said it has probably been there for years, the next day the bomb squad were called up to remove the stuff... I just wish I could have seen it explode!

 

Or... it may have been the really concentrated solution of Hydrogen Peroxide, I've heard that stuff is pretty powerful. My teacher managed to dispose of that one - I'm not shure how he made us leave the room incase of any problems. Apparently it was about 83% concentrated but I'm not shure about that.

 

Edit: then again, the Nitrogen Triiodide reaction was pretty powerful - I'm staying clear of that one too!

 

Anyone else have anything interesting to share? Please do not post how to make the stuff - danger is bad!

 

Cheers,

 

Ryan Jones

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most dangerous ever seen would have to be nerve agents.

 

 

You've actually seen those stuff? Could you imagine what would have happened if some had leaked not that you'd have a lot of time to worry...

 

 

Cheers,

 

Ryan Jones

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Hydrofluoric acid for an isotropic silicon etch. Nasty stuff. Only had to do it once, though.

Same for me (in my advanced physics labs), except that I ran into little ... well, problems ... using it. The manual which said "put in the silicon for 5 minutes" was outdated and refered to another concentration. It should have been only one minute. After about 1-2 minutes the whole stuff started boiling, after about 2-3 minutes my container started melting. Luckily, I was coward enough to break off the experiment at this point.

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For me, the most dangerous chems, which I've used in experiments are:

1) Hot anhydrous mix of H2SO4, HF and KMnO4 (see experiment on website). This stuff is insanely corrosive and also very toxic.

2) Hot mix of NaCN and aqua regia. This bubbles nicely, like carbonated softdrinks, the main difference being that the bubbles are a mix of NOx and HCN instead of CO2 :eek: .

 

As you see on my list, no explosives like NI3 or AP. I'm not particularly after very toxic, corrosive or otherwise extremely dangerous chemicals, but sometimes coincidently a very interesting experiment also involves very dangerous chemicals. I, however, ALWAYS perform this kind of experiments after doing kind of risk assessment, based on the properties of the chems, but also on the risks of spills, breakage of glass, etc. Sometimes the risk assessment takes many hours on Internet and in books, while the experiment itself only takes minutes.

I think that is the great difference between k3wls and serious home chemists. K3wls first act, then think (or repent :-( ), while a real citizen chemist first thinks once, twice or even trice and then acts (or not).

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I' date=' however, ALWAYS perform this kind of experiments after doing kind of risk assessment, based on the properties of the chems, but also on the risks of spills, breakage of glass, etc. Sometimes the risk assessment takes many hours on Internet and in books, while the experiment itself only takes minutes.

[/quote']

 

Seeing those above its probably worth it, I'd say my life is far more important than spending a little time searching for information :)

 

I bet everyone has to agree with that!

 

Cheers,

 

Ryan Jones

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Where do I begin? ;) I guess the first thing I'll say is that RyanJ, the chemical you listed as Hg(OCN)2 is more commonly known as mercury fulminate; a primary explosive which is viciously nasty in terms of explosiveness and toxicity.

 

As for the dangerous chemicals I've worked with, let me now begin:

 

1): NI3.NH3. Synthesized this stuff on numerous occasions and have been very fortuneate to have not hurt myself. Did create some pretty big holes in the earth which kind of shocked me.

 

2): Br2. Bromine is some insidiously nasty stuff.

 

3): Cl2. Chlorine is probably nasty just like bromine is.

 

4): Uranium metal/Uranyl Nitrate. Two radioactive materials with the nitrate being incredibly toxic stuff. The uranium is safely stored away and isn't a big problem, but it is pretty shocking when I think about it.

 

5): Arsine gas. Had a bit of a leak during a Toxicology lab. Smells like rotted garlic. Quickly moved the offending vessel into the fume hood.

 

6): Nitroglycerine. Let's just say that the stuff is every bit as tempermental as it's made out to be.

 

7): Picric Acid. Got to see the bomb squad remove 40 year old jars of biological specimens preserved in picric acid. The crystals had dried out and covered the inside of the jars. They made quite the loud sound when they were detonated.

 

8): Concentrated HClO4.

 

9): Osmium Tetroxide. Heavy little liquid.

 

10): 5 year old chunk of potassium metal HEAVILY corroded and covered in oxides/peroxides/superoxides. Professor put it in a huge tub of oil then proceeded to cut into the metal with long shears. Tub of oil proceeded to catch fire pretty dramatically.

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jdurg - you've seen some pretty powerful stuff, lets jsut say I hope I can avoid most of the stuff in that list!

 

Anyone else got anything to share?

 

And isn't Uranium metal/Uranyl Nitrate restricted due to its radioactivity?

 

Heres a question - has anyone ever seen any Antimony compounds, according to a book I have they rank top of the list in toxicity!

 

Is AP Acetone Peroxide?

 

Cheers,

 

Ryan Jones

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odd that TWO people mention NG as being "tempermental" or "most dangerous"

I`ve had a reasonable amount of experience with the stuff (and one or 2 accidents) and never had a problem with it ever, beyond the really bad headache from excesive expose to the fumes.

it really is NOTHING like they try and make it out to be on television and the movies, I`m more worried around AP and the likes than NG, at least NG`s predictable!

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jdurg - you've seen some pretty powerful stuff' date=' lets jsut say I hope I can avoid most of the stuff in that list!

 

Anyone else got anything to share?

 

And isn't Uranium metal/Uranyl Nitrate restricted due to its radioactivity?

 

Heres a question - has anyone ever seen any Antimony compounds, according to a book I have they rank top of the list in toxicity!

 

Is [b']AP[/b] Acetone Peroxide?

 

Cheers,

 

Ryan Jones

 

Let's just say that I'm happy to have only seen them and not 'experienced' them in a first hand account. Small quantities of virtually ALL of that stuff is more than enough for my tastes.

 

Uranium metal is restricted, but only if certain amounts are exceeded. All the Uranium I posess is depleted uranium in which the easily fissile U-235 has been depleted. It's radioactive, but mildly so. (A sample of Uranium ore that weighs the same amount is far more radioactive due to other radioactive isotopes in there). Uranyl nitrate is used in certain analytical labs for multiple reasons. It's pretty nasty because of the radioactivity and because of the chemotoxicity of uranium metal. The stuff is still neat to look at. A VERY bright yellow/green color.

 

For antimony, I've got plenty of it. I could probably make compounds if I wanted to, but right now I've got about a pound of the stuff.

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odd that TWO people mention NG as being "tempermental" or "most dangerous"

I`ve had a reasonable amount of experience with the stuff (and one or 2 accidents) and never had a problem with it ever' date=' beyond the really bad headache from excesive expose to the fumes.

it really is NOTHING like they try and make it out to be on television and the movies, I`m more worried around AP and the likes than NG, at least NG`s predictable![/quote']

 

 

In what manner did you work with the NG? Was the NG a side product of some other thing you were making, or was the goal of the synthesis the actual NG? When I had my experience with it, it was inside a fume hood in organic lab. We made a few mL (well, most of us did. I happened to make a bit more), then we were told to let it evaporate in the hood. Some samples were lit with a match and immediately went BOOM! Some were agitated by taking a yardstick and hammering on it which made it go KABOOM! Some of it just spontaneously detonated while it was evaporating in the hood.

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jdurg - you've seen some pretty powerful stuff, lets jsut say I hope I can avoid most of the stuff in that list!

Well, in fact RyanJ, if you experiment a little more, then many of these things you probably will make yourself. E.g. bromine and chlorine I make quite often, just for experimental reasons and I'm actually quite comfortable with these. I know the dangers (and yes, they are dangerous), but this does not need one to refrain from using/making them. But as I stated before, KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING. In chemistry it simply is true that many fascinating compounds are quite dangerous. An important criterion for me not doing an experiment is unpredictability (such as with AP and NI3) and lack of information. If I can't find sufficient information about a compound and I've heard/read that it is very dangerous then I don't make it.

 

Anyone else got anything to share?

Well, the following is not good at all and I've been exposed to it far too much unfortunately (I even ingested quite some amounts :eek: ):

alpha-d-glucopyranosyl-(1->2)-beta-d-fructofuranoside

A nasty longterm effect of repeated overexposure to this stuff is that it can make you really fat. So, if you use this, be careful.

 

And isn't Uranium metal/Uranyl Nitrate restricted due to its radioactivity?

Unfortunately it is where I live. I have been looking for sources of uranyl salts, but where I live, they cannot be purchased, nowhere, never. I've not the courage to import it from the USA, I'm quite sure that the package will not pass the customs and that I'll get BIG trouble with it.

 

Heres a question - has anyone ever seen any Antimony compounds, according to a book I have they rank top of the list in toxicity!

Antimony compounds are fairly toxic, but not very special. At ceramics and pottery suppliers you can buy antimony oxide, which you can dissolve in HCl to make an acidic solution of antimony chloride. Elemental antimony can also be purchased easily on eBay for a reasonable price at amazing purity. I personally have done quite some experiments with antimony, the most beautiful compound I made being red antimony sulfide.

 

Is AP Acetone Peroxide?

Yes, it is. In fact, there are two forms, a dimer and a trimer. The dimer is the most crappy stuff there is. Totally totally useless because of its instability. The trimer is the next most crappy stuff (together with NI3 :rolleyes: ).

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Well' date=' in fact RyanJ, if you experiment a little more, then many of these things you probably will make yourself. E.g. bromine and chlorine I make quite often, just for experimental reasons and I'm actually quite comfortable with these. I know the dangers (and yes, they are dangerous), but this does not need one to refrain from using/making them. But as I stated before, KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING.

[/quote']

 

Maybe I will but that'll be when I'm ready. First year in an AS level course and just starting chemistry as a hobby - I will but I'm not quite ready to deal with anything like that yet - I like to research into things so they don't blow up in my face :)

 

Stupid 9import laws, I can't get Uranium anything here in the UK either, even if the stuff is depleted. Well - thats not 100% true. You can but you need to get a special lisence from the local government, they have to come up an inspect your property make shure you have all the correct storage stuff and whatnot and as you've guessed it costs quite a bit to get them to do that.

 

Antimony does sound like fun, I'm shure I have a bit of it in my mineral collection too :)

 

Cheers,

 

Ryan Jones

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Technically it's a chemical, namely a nasty soup of specialized protiens: I helped retrieve a venom sample from a weird little hybrid rattlesnake (cross-*genus* hybrid). Given the genera in question, and the results of hybridization, it could've produced anything from swelling and sickness to rather rapid death.

 

It may not be explosive or acidic, but having significant portions of your internal anatomy liquify/die can be fairly unpleasant.

 

Mokele

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Could you get Bromine by passing Cl gas through a solution of Bromine salt, or is that only for Iodine/Iodine salt solution?

 

As long as its more reactive than Bromine then a displacement reaction will occur, so in this case the Chlorine will displace the Bromine from its salt. The only problem will be getting the actual, Bromine out of the solution, It will probably sink to the bottom as (I think anyway...) its denser than water :)

You'll also have to make shure that the solution does not produce a big exotheric reaction that could vapourize the Bromine.... :)

 

Cheers,

 

Ryan Jones

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alpha-d-glucopyranosyl-(1->2)-beta-d-fructofuranoside

A nasty longterm effect of repeated overexposure to this stuff is that it can make you really fat.

 

Does it have a non-scientific name, I can't find any reference to it in my chemical lookup book - not that thats a bad thing - I just want to see the warnings it has :D

 

Cheers,

 

 

Ryan Jones

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Yes, it will work. I 100% guarantee it. Any oxidizer stronger than bromine will be able to oxidize the bromide ion back into liquid bromine. Chlorine will oxidize bromide to bromine and iodide to iodine. Bromine will oxidize iodide into iodine. Iodine can only oxidize astatide into astatine, but that's not a reaction you'll ever come across.

 

As for getting bromide salts, if you have any pool/spa store near you, you can get everything you need. Hydrochloric acid, calcium hypochlorite, sodium bromide, and a few other things too.

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