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View Diary: My Life as a Teenage Chemist (34 comments)

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  •  I think that the most dangerous experiment... (18+ / 0-) performed was the one with hydrofluoric acid, particularly when you tell me that you had orange stains on your hands from nitric acid.   You are very lucky that you didn't get HF on your hands.

    I've worked with some pretty nasty chemicals, phosgene, triphosgene, chloroformates, cyanide salts, loads of sodium and potassium metal, butyl lithium, various thiols and selenols, some crazy organic peroxides, but the only time I was ever truly afraid is when some folks who worked for me let a  polypropylene reactor fill up with liquid HF and overflow.

    I threw them out of the lab, suited up, and cleaned that mess up myself because I knew what I was doing and they clearly didn't.    (I wasn't by the way, the person who "trained" them; I assumed that they were trained, which taught me never to assume anything about anyone when performing dangerous chemistry.)

    You were lucky with that HF business.   An HF burn can be a very serious thing, even a fatal thing.

    The most effective treatment - not that anyone who is not a professional should play with this stuff - is immediate treatment with calcium carbonate powder, by the way.    One should never be around HF without having an aqueous slurry of calcium carbonate at hand.

    A great diary by the way.   I am very happy that this young woman seems to benefiting - in the end - from the stupidity of her school administration.    Her experiment is a pretty common one, and it's one I performed with my son a couple of times.

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