From: Michael D Ahler <mahler**At_Symbol_Here**HANCOCKCOLLEGE.EDU>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] "safe" barking dog demo
Date: Sun, 1 May 2016 21:59:24 +0000
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: 99080534A99D89479A51A4EB6489672E06097E6B**At_Symbol_Here**


I have seen this Whoosh Bottle performed live several times ( the 5 gallon version) without mishap, and youtube videos showing many other successful Whoosh Bottle demos abound.
But, being Lucky looks the same as being Safe.

After only a half hour searching I have discovered these two videos showing Whoosh Bottle demos that exploded instead of working as expected.   Adding the burned hand incident that Vivian referred to, I can point to three Whoosh Bottle demos that I know of that proceeded with uncontrolled violence instead of "normally" (classroom demos, not the idiot teenager lighting up his driveway with gasoline).  I stopped searching the internet when I found two.


So, I conclude that Being Lucky has a finite shelf life.
I should also like to comment on the second video (rainbow labcoat man).   He was both un-lucky and lucky at the same time.     He had the bad luck to experience the explosion but as the same time was very lucky that his explosion and fire didn't involve the gallon size glass bottle of fuel (I'm guessing) that the video shows still sitting on the bench top just after the explosion.   What is in the gallon jug with the Fisher label on it?   I'm guessing its his Methanol for the demo.   Luck was on his side when his uncontrolled event failed to dislodge that fuel storage bottle.     Do you know how big the fire is when 1 gallon of alcohol is spilled on the floor and ignited?   I have seen pictures.  I still have them.    J.T. Baker had a chemical hazard training course a number of years ago for which they had prepared a series of images of fires they intentionally set in a remote abandoned factory site and photographed.    A 1 gallon fire in rainbow labcoat man's classroom would have sent several young people to the emergency room with life threatening burns.   Fortunately, his gallon glass jug of (presumed) Methanol survived.   Sometimes you can shoot an arrow straight up to see how high it goes and not suffer an arrow wound.    I have tried it  (I was 12), but that one close call was enough to convince me to stop doing that, or at least stop doing it that way.

Lest I convey the wrong impression, let me say that I think people who work with hazardous materials and processes should be trained and therefore experienced in how to work "safely".   "Safely" meaning with reduced risk - (1) knowing what bad things can happen and (2) taking steps to prevent/minimize the bad things happening and (3) having a competent response in mind (and resources in place) if a bad thing happens anyway.   These 3 things are never apparent in any of the Whoosh demos, if they existed, whether the Whoosh a success or not.

People will continue to perform the Whoosh Bottle demo because they know it has been done many times before without a failure (true) and they expect it to go successfully "this time" also (likely).  It would help to continue spreading the word about the hazards of this and other fire demos and include visible evidence that things can and do go wrong unexpectedly.    These two videos are, I think, useful resources to that end.

Thanks for listening.

Mike Ahler

Michael Ahler
Part-Time Faculty Member
LPS (Chemistry)
and CHO (retired) Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**] on behalf of Patrick A Ceas [ceas**At_Symbol_Here**STOLAF.EDU]
Sent: Wednesday, April 27, 2016 12:10 PM
Subject: [DCHAS-L] "safe" barking dog demo

Just a quick yes or no, please.  Would you lump the "Safe Barking Dog Demo" in the same category as the Rainbow Demo & Tornado Demo (i.e., it is an open flame demo, where additional flammable fuel -- let's say 95% ethanol -- could be added to an already confined ignited situation, therefore it is not prudent to perform, especially at a local grade school).  We are having a discussion about it.

Here are two links that show/explain it:



Patrick A. Ceas, Ph.D.
Chemical Hygiene Officer
312 Regents Hall of Natural Sciences
St. Olaf College
Northfield, MN 55057
507-786-3560 (o)
507-321-0379 (c)

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