The publicity folks quickly sent out a correction -- it was tetrahydrofuran -- but not all places updated their info (two of three local news media did, very quickly; I haven't checked national bits).
Whether the student was working with the still (yes, the lab has one) or was working with the THF in research is not known yet.
Susan D. Wiediger, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**med.cornell.edu] On Behalf Of Nail, John
Sent: Wednesday, August 26, 2015 10:57 AM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] SIUE Incident (Headlines)
If you are scratching your head over the SIUE incident -
There is no such thing as 'tetrahydroflorine'; H4F doesn't exist. Likely, the 'tetrahydroflorine' is tetrahydrofuran (THF; formula C4H8O).
My guess is that this involved a synthetic chemistry research lab that produces O2- and water- free THF by distilling it from potassium, possibly potassium/diphenylketone, and the student was cleaning out a still.
From the perspective of someone who used to maintain a THF still, cleaning out the pot was always a form of Russian roulette. Despite how careful, patient and deliberate you are in the task, there is always the chance of a bad thing happening. The chances increase if diphenylketone (the blue solution stuff) was used in the still pot. The bad thing odds increase when you try to hurry it because you need to go somewhere (class, meetings, lunch, home, etc.).
As an aside, a major lab fire happened at U Texas in the early 1990's when someone was cleaning out a solvent still and poured the remains into the sink before all of the sodium or potassium had decomposed. The Na or K started a sink fire, which caught a glass collection bottle of acetone on fire; multiple lab rooms were gutted.
Professor of Chemistry
Oklahoma City Univerity
>SIUE STUDENT INJURED IN SCIENCE LAB EXPLOSION
>Tags: us_IL, laboratory, explosion, injury, other_chemical
>A student at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville was injured
>Tuesday afternoon when a mixture of chemicals he was working with in a
>science laboratory exploded.
>The 23-year-old student was working with a beaker containing
>tetrahydroflorine and potassium exploded, causing a small fire.
>The student suffered cuts to both of his hands. He was treated by
>emergency medical services and taken to Anderson hospital.
>The university's new Science Building was evacuated after the explosion
>but is expected to re-open Tuesday night.
Previous post | Top of Page | Next post