From: Monona Rossol <0000030664c37427-dmarc-request**At_Symbol_Here**LISTS.PRINCETON.EDU>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Horror stories
Date: Sat, 17 Oct 2020 12:21:18 +0000
Reply-To: ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**Princeton.EDU>
I strongly agree. People visualize themselves as being there when you tell these kinds of stories and will sit still and listen to the science if you go into detail to explain why it happened. And now with power points to show the kind of location, the equipment and materials they create their own little movies in their heads. Tell it right and they will star in their own productions as the person who knows what is happening and can save the day. Monona
From: davivid <davivid**At_Symbol_Here**WELL.COM>
To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**Princeton.EDU>
Sent: Sat, Oct 17, 2020 06:21 AM
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Horror stories
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This thread about nitric acid distillation got me thinking.
One thing that I think would be useful, educational, and entertaining is
a collection of laboratory "Horror Stories". I'm sure every experienced
chemist has a few. These could be a means of motivating and educating
the public as well as other chemists. Think of these as chemistry
"morality tales". No obtuse jargon, no lengthy analysis. Just some good
old fashioned story telling. Youtube channel anyone?
A couple of my favorites
A low boiling solvent condensed in a liquid nitrogen cooled trap. When
the dewar was removed the twisted vacuum tubing flipped the trap upside
down sending the cold solvent into the rotary vacuum pump that had been
running overnight. The overpressure created by flash boiling when the
solvent hit the hot oil split the pump casing at the casting seam.
There was an attempt to grind a material in a ball mill. Unfortunately
the material was too soft. So the researcher added liquid nitrogen,
sealed up the heavy ceramic ball mill and proceeded to grind as usual.
Fortunately they mentioned their cleverness to a supervisor who promptly
had everyone get to safety before the inevitable explosion.
Clavis Technology Development
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