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Whats the most dangerous chemical you have used / seen?


RyanJ
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In semiconductor manufacturing we used a chemical polishing mix to polish the surface of silicon and or germanium wafers. It was a mixture of 75% concentrated nitric acid, 15% hydrofluoric acid and 15% glacial acetic acid. It did a very nice job of making the surface of the wafers smooth and shiny but you didn't want to get any on your shin or inhale the fumes. In the manufacturing plant we got this hellish mix in teflon lined 55 gallon steel drums. We used quite a few drums a day. It was used in an automated etching machine that cycled batches of a hundred wafers through an etching and rinse cycle. Occasionally a valve failure would dump gallons of etchant on the floor. We kept a bunch of 25 pound boxes of sodium bicarbonate handy to neutralize the mess.

After several years of draining hundreds of gallons a day of this down an underground drain pipe the acid created a mini grand canyon under the building floor which was discovered when a fork lift fell through the floor into the canyon.

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  • 1 month later...

Hydroflouric acid (HF) and potassium cyanide (KCN).

 

The hydroflouric acid was used to scrape the surface of a small glass plate used to measure surface tension. The HF was very diluted though..

 

The KCN solution i came across when i was doing a lab about metal complexes.

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  • 2 weeks later...

For me, probably chlorine gas. It's a greenish gas that is toxic to breath, and was a major chemical weapon in world war I. It reacts I think all but the noble metals spontaneously at room temperature. It also reacts spontaneously with most organic molecules, and if you put a leaf in a container of chlorine gas, it turns brown in a matter of minutes.


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The most dangerous I've seen would be sodium hydroxide.

 

Just for people who aren't familiar with sodium hydroxide, it's very caustic and if you spill it on you, you won't feel it for hours, but it reacts with you're flesh slowly and makes it fall off. As long as you wash any spills after you spill it, there is no real harm, but the main reason for danger is that you don't feel it until it is too late. (The same is true -worse- for HF)

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  • 2 weeks later...
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.

 

Hmmmm, right about picric. I believe that is a close relative to TNT, no? Picric is OK as long as you keep it DAMP. Worked with it for years making hospital fixatives.......

 

Perchloric acid though, gets a bad rap. It is perfectly safe away from a , what I would call a building fire....LOL. Have handled about 100 55 gal drums over the years. You could dip your hand in it and no hurts (for a few seconds). Keep it away from organics, and FIRE....

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Lead arsenate. :eek: An old Quaker Oats cardboard container full of the pretty pink powder in the garage of a house I bought a long time ago. The previous owner had reminisced that he had put lead arsenate on his potato plants many years earlier, but I never thought he still had the stuff around. He never told me. Good thing my kids didn't find it.

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Lead arsenate. :eek: An old Quaker Oats cardboard container full of the pretty pink powder in the garage of a house I bought a long time ago. The previous owner had reminisced that he had put lead arsenate on his potato plants many years earlier, but I never thought he still had the stuff around. He never told me. Good thing my kids didn't find it.

 

OMG! You have kids who would eat Quaker oats?

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cn solutions are extremely dangerous also they can pass through the gloves.

 

Wow, didnt know that. Even neoprene? Most I work with is 1000ppm CN....pretty weak. You can smell the sweetness when opening up a botle of KCN........

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  • 5 months later...

I'm studying chemistry at the university, this is my first term, so my most dangerous stuff doesn't really compare to what some here have experienced.

So far the most dangerous stuff im about to list, i've encountered in my current course, which is a organic chemistry course.

 

The most dangerous:

 

Methyl iodide (CH3I)

 

Bromine (Br2)

 

Aniline (C6H5NH2)

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There was a time that I carried little containers holding a mixture of chemicals that could kill a man who was a considerable distance from me. These containers were of specific size (say 9mm in diameter) with a special tightly fitting plug made of a heavy metal. It was the plug of heavy metal which could leave the container at high velocity and injure or kill anyone who got in the way. I don't know the specific formula that made up these dangerous chemicals!

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I haven't seen or used many chemicals but I'd say it was either powdered sulphur or whatever that was I made ago which turned into some weird purple/black crystals once the water had evaporated...I've thrown it out now but it had been in more room for ages...I think it had dust and some dead flies in it...must have been a breeding ground for all sorts of nasty bacteria...I forgot about it after I made it...don't even remember what I made it from or why...

...Actually I just remembered Bromine...

Edited by ProcuratorIncendia
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