Date: Tue, 11 May 2010 15:11:32 -0500
Reply-To: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
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From: Koster Sandra K <koster.sand**At_Symbol_Here**UWLAX.EDU>
Subject: Re: Picric Acid Synthesis
In-Reply-To: <9AC1FFF43B3149429C9D66F36D0A8C4BA3B25EFD96**At_Symbol_Here**>


Hi Nancy,

Since picric acid is highly acidic, toxic, stains skin and of course is an explosion hazard when dry or dropped on concrete or with certain metals, a microscale prep would be best.  This also minimizes the amount of sulfuric and nitric acid you need to collect and neutralize as well as the cost of disposal of the product.  Its MSDS lists an LD50 of 200mg/kg.  If they are starting with phenol, besides its toxicity phenol causes severe skin burns and I recall hearing that it anesthetizes first so the damage is not immediately noticed.  They would need to take extra care with that.  I might be a bit suspicious of what the students might have in mind for the product after it’s made given its reputation.  It’s prep is listed on the web from aspirin under the heading “Plastique Explosive from Aspirin”.

Sandra Koster

University of Wisconsin – La Crosse

From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**] On Behalf Of Richardson, Nancy A (Faculty Biology/Chemistry)
Sent: Monday, May 10, 2010 3:50 PM
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Picric Acid Synthesis

I was wondering what sort of safety procedures should be used when undergraduates synthesize picric acid.  Also, what one should do with the material after it is made?    As I remember the disposal cost is rather high and it is not something one wants to store long term especially if it likely to be forgotten about.  We have organic students that want to do special projects and a few want the opportunity to make picric acid.

Thanks for any comments and help on this.

Nancy Richardson    

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