That a reaction with acetic acid is possible as indicated in Bretherick’s Reactive Hazards. A sudden and somewhat energetic reaction with acetone, in preparation of bromoacetone, if bromine is added to rapidly is noted and the possibility of a similar reaction with carboxylic acids is also noted. If not acetic acid, this would require a significant amount of the more easily oxidized substance contaminating the 1 liter flask; how would that go unnoticed? Or, how contaminated could the acetic acid be?
[I saw the word “speculate” and came to life!]
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU]
On Behalf Of Russell Vernon
Sent: Friday, May 01, 2015 12:36 PM
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Unexpected Reaction - asking for your collective wisdom
Dear Fellow Chemists,
Here’s a description of an unexpected reaction. Please speculate as to the chemical root causes…
1. measured out 400 mL of acetic acid and transferred it to an open mouth flask
2. measured 100 mL of bromine and transferred part of that to the same flask
3. realizing that the flask into the liquids were being transferred was not large enough
4. retrieved a 1 L flask and transferred the partial mixture into this larger flask
5. then poured the rest of the bromine into the 1L flask
Here’s the unexpected part…
· A second or two after the final aliquot of bromine was added the mixture erupted, forcing the contents out of the flask with significant velocity
We have assumed that there was some easily oxidized contaminant in the 1 L flask which was not noticed by the person involved…
Does anyone have a history with this material that would possible provide alternate explanations?
If you prefer to communicate off-line, please do.
Russell Vernon, Ph.D.
Environmental Health & Safety
University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave
Riverside, CA 92521
Direct (951) 827-5119
Admin (951) 827-5528
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