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posted by n1 on Wednesday November 12 2014, @06:09AM   Printer-friendly
from the nasty-little-chemicals dept.

Derek Lowe keeps a blog, that alone wouldn't be news worthy but his blog is the home of Things I Won't Work With, a fascinating look at chemicals so noxious, so volatile that even the names will make amateur chemists flinch.

Such things as:

Peroxide Peroxides

Everyone knows hydrogen peroxide, HOOH. And if you know it, you also know that it's well-behaved in dilute solution, and progressively less so as it gets concentrated. The 30% solution will go to work immediately bleaching you out if you are so careless as to spill some on you, and the 70% solution, which I haven't seen in years, provides an occasion to break out the chain-mail gloves.

Mercury Azides

When we last checked in with the Klapötke lab at Munich, it was to highlight their accomplishments in the field of nitrotetrazole oxides. Never forget, the biggest accomplishment in such work is not blowing out the lab windows.

and FOOF

And a hard core it is! This stuff was first prepared in Germany in 1932 by Ruff and Menzel, who must have been likely lads indeed, because it's not like people didn't respect fluorine back then. No, elemental fluorine has commanded respect since well before anyone managed to isolate it, a process that took a good fifty years to work out in the 1800s. (The list of people who were blown up or poisoned while trying to do so is impressive). And that's at room temperature.

Has anyone here had to work with any of these?

 
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  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Jesus_666 on Wednesday November 12 2014, @01:53PM

    by Jesus_666 (3044) on Wednesday November 12 2014, @01:53PM (#115172)
    That's because the submitter took the heading and a random nice-sounding soundbite fom the actual articles to show off the writing style. Honestly, it's not that bad a call; the writing style is hilarious. The choice of quotes wasn't perfect, though.

    To give some context: The peroxide peroxides article uses HOOH's reactivity to point out how reactive HOOOH etc. become. The mercury azides article is, well, about what the Klapötke group likes to do, namely synthesizing ridiculously unstable molecules. The FOOF ones goes on about how nasty FOOF is.

    I think there are a few other articles that could've been mentioned. Like the one about hexanitrohexaazaisowurtzitane, aka CL-20. Anyone who knows what "nitro-" says about a compound will perk up at that name. To finish with my own out-of-context soundbite:

    There's a recent report of a method to make a more stable form of it, by mixing it with TNT. Yes, this is an example of something that becomes less explosive as a one-to-one cocrystal with TNT. Although, as the authors point out, if you heat those crystals up the two components separate out, and you're left with crystals of pure CL-20 soaking in liquid TNT, a situation that will heighten your awareness of the fleeting nature of life.

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