Date: Tue, 24 May 2005 15:52:36 -0400
Reply-To: chemcon**At_Symbol_Here**JUNO.COM
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: Jay Young <chemcon**At_Symbol_Here**JUNO.COM>
Subject: Re: Fire at UCR Organic Chemistry Stockroom
Comments: To: Russell.Vernon**At_Symbol_Here**EHS.UCR.EDU

It is well documented in Bretherick that Tollens reagent is particularly
susceptible to instability on storage and will explode spontaneously.

If you want to become knowledgeable on chemical safety, then buy and
memorize Bretherick.


On Thu, 19 May 2005 13:52:45 -0700 "Vernon, Russell"
> Dear DivCHAS members, (NACHOS, et al.)
> On Tuesday May 10 at about 2:30 PM there was an explosion and
> subsequent
> fire in the unoccupied Undergraduate Organic Chemistry Stockroom.
> Two
> students were at the help window and we jolted by the blast.
> Fortunately no
> one was seriously injured, and these students received only one
> small skin
> laceration each from the flying glass. One was on a student's
> forehead, the
> other on the other students' hand.
> There is a lot more to tell, and of course we are working on a
> report for
> the Chancellor. We are interviewing the relevant staff tomorrow
> morning and
> already have a couple of working theories as to the causes. The
> reason I am
> bothering you-all right now relates to one of the most likely
> immediate
> causes. The labs had been conducting the usual qualitative organic
> analysis
> labs for the previous couple of weeks and the explosion occurred in
> the area
> of the waste containers. We strongly suspect the Tollen's test
> reagents
> and/or waste were left unattended on a cart for at least four days,
> if not
> many more.
> For those interested, some websites that describe this method of
> testing for
> aldehydes include:
> 384525/MOVIE.HTM
> ch/D-Tollens-e.htm
> This is as RedOx reaction and the active species is the Ag+ ion
> which
> accepts an electron to plate out the silver mirror.
> Do you know of the mechanism for the tendency for the Tollens
> reagent to
> explode on storage?
> I'll follow-up with more information soon (probably after the AIHce
> conference in Anaheim next week).
> Sincerely,
> -Russ
> Russell Vernon, Ph.D.
> Laboratory / Research Safety Specialist
> Interim Integrated Waste Manager
> Environmental Health & Safety
> University of California, Riverside
> 900 University Ave.
> Riverside, CA 92521
> russell.vernon**At_Symbol_Here**
> Direct: (951) 827-5119
> Admin: (951) 827-5528
> Fax: (951) 827-5122

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