Common chemicals that misbehave

Common chemicals that misbehave

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The real thrills are really what always attracts me when performing chemical experiments at home… Modern Mechanix 1935

FOLLOWING textbook instructions in performing chemical experiments at home may be conducive to safety, but the real thrills of research come from those experiments which you work out for yourself.

Certain chemicals just do not get along well together, and can misbehave in a manner which may cause acute embarrassment–and pain. To avoid accidents, keep the following list of chemical tricksters in mind whenever you venture into free-lance experimenting. IODINE mixed with ammonia water forms a brown sludge at the bottom of a test tube. This is nitrogen iodide; when a piece the size of a pin head is dried on paper, it will explode with a very loud bang at the slightest jar. Larger quantities explode of their own weight before becoming powerful enough to do damage. Never add volatile oils to crystals of iodine–they will fulminate, and explode.

Modern Mechanix » Common Chemicals that Misbehave – Link.

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The Golden Book of Chemistry Experiments – 1960 – Link.

14 thoughts on “Common chemicals that misbehave

  1. rich.thomas says:

    In jr high school I found a book on chemical and bio warfare, I believe written by Seymour Hersh (OK I am dating myself), that had an excellent recipe in it for napalm. It worked very well, not that I would try such a thing. And I found one for making hydrogen gas for bigboomballoons, which terrorized the old ladies in the neighborhood for weeks. They called my parents…

  2. TheThompsonFive says:

    What was the best way to trigger the balloons? For, you know… academic purposes.

  3. ehrichweiss says:

    TheThompsonFive: IIRC, you tie some form of fuse, whether that be a real fuse or an oil soaked rag, on the bottom, light it and launch the balloon. It’ll go boom when it’s ready.

  4. Jack-of-Most-Trades says:

    The stuff KIDS used to have fun with “Back in the Day”… Now we don’t even let them move their bikes around in the garage w/o Full Battle Rattle on.
    We we careless back then, or are we too stupid to be trusted with Stuff That Go BOOM today?

    And I won’t even ponder which end of Cuba you’d find yourself in if they found you with some of this stuff…

    Man, did we have fun. Minibikes, go-carts, most of us even owned our OWN .22 rifles. Chemicals, Electricity. Them was the days, I’m telling ya!

  5. Shadyman says:

    TheThompsonFive: Any source of flame should suffice. But wear eye and ear protection if you’re doing it up-close and personal.

  6. rich.thomas says:

    My friend’s little sister, for some reason never clear, had this stuff called JetX fuse (JetX’s were some kind of little rocket engine kind of thing you put some sort of powder in, then stuck this fuse up the nozzle and lighted it — the fuse burned sorta slowly so you could get away from it). We taped the end of a foot or so of JetX fuse on the bottom of the balloon, stuck a match to it (CAREFULLY!) and let the balloon go. We used 5cent balloons, which at the time would get up to maybe 2-3ft diameter, so they held a lot of hydrogen. When those things blew they made this huge WHUMP sound you could hear for blocks.

    Caused dogs and old ladies to have fits.

    Well, we did not actually do this, we saw some other adults do it for research purposes.

  7. c.mins says:

    If there were a distant acquaintance of a not-so-good friend of a neighbor of mine, where could he get his hands on some of the Jet-X fuse (1/8″ diameter round red twisted incindiary rope that we used to use to launch Estes model rockets four decades ago)to launch more of said rockets (with adult supervision) in this temporal realm in the USA? Basically any slow-burn fuse to provide a safe time span between ignition and ignition is desired. Original message was dated May 2, 2007 by rich.thomas. Any help would be appreciated.

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