Skip to Content

Posts tagged with "Things I Won’t Work With"

  • Things I Won't Work With

    Things I Won’t Work With: Triazadienyl Fluoride

    Now this is a fine substance. Also known in the older literature as fluorine azide, you make it by combining two other things that have already made my “Things I Won’t Work With” list. Just allow fluorine (ay!) to react with neat hydrazoic acid (yikes), and behold! Well, what you’re most likely to behold is… Read More
  • Things I Won't Work With

    Things I Won’t Work With: Cyanogen Azide

    Cyanogen bromide is not a nice reagent. It’s not quite on my list of things that I refuse to use, but it’s definitely well up on the list of the ones I’d rather find an alternative to. The stuff is very toxic and very volatile, and reactive as can be. But it’s not the worst… Read More
  • Things I Won't Work With

    Sand Won’t Save You This Time

    In a comment to my post on putting out fires last week, one commenter mentioned the utility of the good old sand bucket, and wondered if there was anything that would go on to set the sand on fire. Thanks to a note from reader Robert L., I can report that there is indeed such… Read More
  • Things I Won't Work With

    Things I Won’t Work With: Frisky Perchlorates

    Perchloric acid almost makes my list by itself, although technically I can’t quite include it, since I’ve already used it. I used the commercial grade, which is 70% strength in water, and it’s pretty nasty stuff. It’ll chew through your lab coat and give you burns you’ll regret, as you’d expect from something tha… Read More
  • Things I Won't Work With

    Can’t Buy These Thrills

    There are a number of reagents that you used to be able to buy which are no longer around. Some of these have just fallen out of favor, but a compound has to go pretty far down the list before no one sees any profit in selling it. The more common reasons for the disappearance… Read More
  • Things I Won't Work With

    Things I Won’t Work With: Carbon Diselenide

    Column VI of the periodic table doesn’t start out smelly, but that’s probably just because we run on its first element, oxygen. Animal ancestors of ours who felt woozy all the time from the stench of oxygen didn’t leave much of a legacy, so we’re all pretty positive about it. But when you start moving… Read More
  • Things I Won't Work With

    Things I Won’t Work With: Ozonides

    I’ve never done an ozone reaction myself. In fact, I haven’t seen anyone else do an ozonolysis in years now, and I wonder if this reaction is passing into chemical history. These guys are hoping not.) Many chemistry departments have an electric gizmo to produce ozone in small quantities, and I get the impression that… Read More
  • Things I Won't Work With

    Things I Won’t Work With: Polyazides

    The azide group (three nitrogens bonded together in a row, for the non-chemists in the crowd) has several personalities. Unfortunately, most of them are hostile. Azide anion, as you find in sodium azide, is pretty toxic. It shuts down several important enzymes, and it’s often used in biology labs as a general metabolic poison. Covalent… Read More
  • Things I Won't Work With

    Things I Won’t Work With: A Nasty Condensed Gas

    If you cool things down enough, you can turn almost anything into a liquid (or into a solid, if you’re really insane about it.) Chemists use liquid ammonia fairly often, for example, though it’s been some years now since I’ve needed any. People outside the field think of the aqueous solution of ammonia gas (household… Read More
  • Things I Won't Work With

    Thing I Won’t Work WIth (2): Nickel Carbonyl

    Synthetic organic chemists rely a lot on inorganic chemistry. We let metals do a lot of work for us, particularly when it’s time to do the real arc-welding of carbon-carbon bond formation. I have a pretty typical synthetic background, and over the years I’ve used palladium, platinum, sodium, iron, copper, rhodium, aluminum, mercury, sil… Read More
...234