I’ve pretty much been leaving myself Post-It’s all over the house. I swear, if I expanded base to the whole city, we’d practically be living in a Paper Town.
Our walls are practically caking with paper now. Once when we were out of space, I grabbed a permanent marker and left myself a note on the glass to conduct a survey. Of course, when it was done, I ethanoled it off. Deodorant’s honestly more handy this way!
Hey, science student here.
Not surprisingly (and I mean that), I learnt this neat trick from a lifeskill teacher.
It has happened on more than one occasion in school that I’ve drawn or written a preparation reaction for a bomb without knowing. IUPAC’s doing a good job, replacing all well known names with less dangerous-sounding ones!
Some are more obvious, of course.
(It’s TNT, just for the record.)
There was this once when we were in the chemistry lab at school, doing salt analyses.
My lab partner and I have a penchant for, well… living up to the crazy-haired dudes-in-white image: being a bit excited.
Now, we don’t really screw around or try dangerous reactions as such, but we’ve broken a test tube or two and set off the smoke alarms a few times in the lab.
Not in the recent past though, half owing to the fact that we’ve pretty much had exams going on ALL of last month; I had a printed calander of the month of November, and guess what, it was my test schedule. Another reason why there have been no sirens was because the last time we entered, last week, the alarms are in our chemistry teacher’s head. We had one of the most confusion-filled, messed up practicals, and they were our mocks, prelude to the real deal… It’s a story for another day. It was tragic, but hilarious.
Basically, my mother is probably glad that an unmonitored kid at a college far away has not picked chemistry as her major.
So it was a salt analysis that we were doing that day, and my partner and I were trying to live up to our reputation without being kicked out of the lab. (hasn’t happened yet, but I have a hunch that the day it does, the smoke alarms will be more than the more the culprit the us…)
It was a salt that was confirmed with the 2,4-DNP test, it gave either a colour change or a precipitate, and I think it was orange… I need to do that again, don’t tell my chem teacher. All of chemistry in about 15 days, and chemistry isn’t all I study, no no no. To add to that, I’ve recently gotten addicted to James Veitch’s scam email-reply gigs, and at 3 minutes a vid, they’re the perfect length and are perfectly hilarious.
In short, no Christmas for me.
[I think I’d written this before Christmas. This is what happens when I pencil stuff down. It can take ages to put it up!]
So we were doing the DNP test, and the very existence of the DNP in our lab intrigued me. See, I’d done some research when I was bored studying chemistry.
DNPB, or the 2,4-dinitrophenyl group has been around for a while. The Germans use it as gunpowder—combustable and explosive. It fell out of use after that, though, until America rediscovered it in the 80s.
The key word here is combustion.
DNP would raise the temperatures, and an America grappling with obesity woes saw promise in that.
Soon, DNP pills had the market floored, and guess what, they did work, after all, it was only the application of a principle.
DNP caused combustion and raised metabolic rates, and so people began running through their bodily reserves much faster. DNP became the wonder pill the country had searched for for decades.
And then the overheating came to light.
Risks of death were turning out to be pretty high for DNP takers. Of course, it isn’t until you try it out for a few that results and effects actually show. So most people only say the fat-fighting wonders of the pill and made a frenzy for the pharmacist’s. The risk stats came later. One person was believed to have literally cooked to death: his body hit a whopping 43 degrees Celsius, he roasted.
Sure enough, the substance was banned. And here it was, in our chem lab.
Never mind the hot, concentrated hydrochloric acid and sulphuric acids (that we use on a regular basis and have a few lab coat holes because of), there was an explosive in our lab!
(About the HCl, don’t ask how many times people have accidentally swallowed it (in its dilute form, thankfully) while pipetting it out for titrations.
’Adventures In the Chemistry Lab’ ought to be a multi-seasonal television series in its own right. Maybe I’ll do it someday.
Season 1, Episode 1: We Are Bot Responsible For Your Death! (Though We Will Attend The Funeral). [True story. Grade 11, pracs session 1]
Episode 2: No, a Jacket Will Not Substitute For Your Lab Coat!
Episode 3: Brrring, Bbriiinng, Briiinngg… [smoke alarms]
Episode 4: Please Pass the Salt
Episode 10: …Briinng, bringg, brinnggg… No One Cares Anymore.
Season Finale: Can This Batch Pass the Prelims?
Season 2 Premier: A New Batch Arrives!
(Liner notes: Thank god, the last batch made it out… we need more salt!))
So I went around the lab educating people with droppers filled with DNP solution, of the explosive potential of DNP.
At the rate I’d hyped DNP up, I had almost expected something to happen when one drop of DNP fell into my test tube…
But it only just turned orange.
Not even a smoke alarm went off that day.
Speaking of which, our final Board practicals begin next week, complete with an external examiner; that’s when the smoke alarms will really ring!