Thursday, October 18, 2012

About that exploding toilet,

that reminded me of a non-mechanical boomy failure:
Few years before left the agency I worked for, it was decided that everyone had to attend a class on terrorism: things to watch for, people to notice, that kind of thing.  Of course it included a session on bombs, and one of the subjects brought up was that a lot of common stuff, properly combined, can make an explosive.*

Or improperly.

The guy teaching that part insisted on pulling a lady up front to describe her personal chemistry experiment in the bathroom.  Seems the holidays were approaching, she had family coming and wanted the house spotless, including the toilet(yeah, you probably see where this is going).  So she started with toilet cleaner, added some bleach, added some other stuff, and was shaking some Comet in just prior to scrubbing.  She thought the vapor was dust from the Comet.

When she came to, she was kind of mashed into the wall, the toilet bowl was mostly gone, the family was scared to death and the ambulance was on the way.

Whatever brew of cleaners she put together, the different elements Did Not Play Well Together.  Which led to a couple of days in a hospital, a new toilet and a refurbished bathroom.

Not connected with above, the day I hit the range with Jennifer, Evyl and Weebot, some video was taken of one of the test shots
Came out pretty well

*Wish I'd been online then, and had known about Huffman.


Anonymous said...

ammonia and sodium (or possibly calcium) hypochlorite, cool conditions and albumin as a catalyst.

It's the Olin process for making hydrazine (one of hydrazine's uses is for rocket fuel)

The other possibility (but a bit less likely) is chlorine gas from bleach reacting with ammonia, to give nitrogen trichloride.

It's a dense yellow liquid, waaaay more unstable than nitroglycerine.

the ingredients are cheap and the stuff is powerful enough, but it is so, so unstable and sensitive, no one has ever managed to commercialize the stuff.

Nitrogen tri-halides were my fascination when I was a (very nerdy) teenager.

I'd end up behind bars if I had a hobby like that now.

I didn't loose any body parts, but I really thought I'd burst my ear drums when one lot went off unexpectedly.

nitrogen tri-halides are so sensitive, that even the minute movement of shrinkage while it dries, will set the solid ones off.

annon - for obvious reasons

Gerry N. said...

Your video reminds me of an experiment I did with my then new to me .22-250. I was trying different bullets to see which ones "worked" the best. Several then new on the market plastic milk jugs full of water, distance, around 75-100 yards. Conclusion: At that range at those velocities, it didn't make any difference that could be seen. All the jugs disintigrated. I didn't have room to do it further away, but magpies and rockchucks in E Wash. disintigrated at distances of 300-500 yds with any .22 jacketed soft point I tried in it. That's where I saw my first "pink mist".

No hand held video cameras then, just 8mm movies which were short, crappy and expensive. I spent my money on primers, know.

Gerry N.