Skip to main content
Menu

Search results for “things I won't work with

  • Things I Won't Work With

    Things I Won’t Work With: Straight Dimethyl Zinc

    Organometallic reagentss come from large tribes, and there are always wild cousins up in the hills. A good place to look for the livelier ones is in the simplest alkyl derivatives, and you should go all the way down to the methyls if you want to know their real character. Ignore the halides. Methylmagnesium bromide… Read More
  • Things I Won't Work With

    Things I Won’t Work WIth: Thioacetone

    My recent entries in this category have, for the most part, been hazardous in a direct (not to say crude, or even vulgar) manner. These are compounds that explode with bizarre violence even in laughably small amounts, leaving ruined equipment and shattered nerves in their wake. No, I will not work with such. But today’s… Read More
  • Things I Won't Work With

    Things I Won’t Work With: Chalcogen Polyazides

    The Klapötke group at Munich are some of the masters of alarming chemical structures, and they basically seem to own the field of chalcogen azides. Perhaps the competition for this class of compounds is not as intense as it might be – the other labs doing this sort of thing are collaborations between USC and… Read More
  • Things I Won't Work With

    Things I Won’t Work With: Azidotetrazolate Salts

    An early favorite has appeared in my “most alarming chemical papers” file for this year. Thomas Klapoetke and Joerg Stierstorfer from Munich have published one with a simple title that might not sound unusual to people outside the field, but has made every chemist I’ve shown it to point like a bird dog: “The CN7… Read More
  • 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

    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

    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