February 22, 2010

Dangers of Alchemy, archemy &c

Dangers ... one of our brother and friend, lastly could be seriously and permanently injured by a very powerful explosion in it's lab. He is experimented, and know what he is doing, he's not a dabbler. 
No need to say that the apparatus is now into peices, ... in the walls and ceiling ! He was a meter in front of the explosion. He told me that a moment of inattention (he was on the phone), and BHAM ! The temperature was too much high for a second. Fortunately for him, no physiscal injuries, unscathed ! But the shock was very profound in it's mind.

I do understand that, because we act with confidence. But the day we are injured it is something else.
We can have a moment of doubt, and this warning is important. SECURITY FIRST !!

Lastly, 3 weeks ago, I was holding a vessel, with very reactive alcaline subtance in it (NaOH), like my friend, my attention were somewhere else for a second, and pfffffssssssssssiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiihhhhhhh the temp rised to I think more than 100 °C in the second, the cap, by the pressure raised in my hand, letting the burning vapours burning my flesh with the boiling alcaline water. It took 2 weeks to heal totally.

So yes, it happens, like a casting crucible not enough hot, where the fused metal just began to behave like a boiling oil, jumping on my feets and everywhere around.

How many times, cutting wood, my visor just saved my eyes from jumping peices of wood !

So, yes, you really have to be careful, to have a good material, well prepared, and physical protections, like gloves, eyeshades etc.

My friend send me some photos of the T shirt he was wearing during the lab big bang:
Here and here. Full of holes !

Broken Retort 2

Fortunately, thanks to a brother in art I have found a glassblower able to make retorts... finally the story will be a happy ending :)

We find ourself very often limited by the material we need, lastly, for a simple sublimation of Salmiac, I had to spend half of a day making essays, 4 trials for nothing ...
Modern material, apparatus, etc, sometime do not really fit for our works. Where to find now crucible of the quality of Hesse ? You have to make them by yourself ! Of course we have the advantages of modernity, and also the disavantages.