Remember Me?

 Straight Dope Message Board Remember Me?

#1
01-25-2005, 07:10 AM
 Guest Join Date: Jan 2005 Posts: 7

## What is the volume of a kilogram of cocaine?

You often see a wrapped cake of cocaine in the movies wrapped in paper or tinfoil etc in a box shape. I've been trying to NO AVAIL online to find the volume of cocaine.

How many cubic centimeters would a kilogram of cocaine take up? I'm trying to figure out the space that drug mules are able to store. Thanks in advance!
#2
01-25-2005, 11:01 AM
 Guest Join Date: Feb 2004 Location: Western Pennsylvania Posts: 6,581
At first glance I thought this would be an easy one to find. There are many sites looking at changes in the density of certain receptors in response to cocaine. I cannot find the density of cocaine, although I could find coke (both the drink and the fuel).

Hmmm. I think I read somewhere that a kilo of cocaine would just barely fill Barbara Streisand's nostrils, though that may have been in jest. Let this serve as a bump, I guess.

Any doper have a kg of cocaine around that they could measure displacement of water with? N.B.--Keep it dry!
#3
01-25-2005, 11:56 AM
 Guest Join Date: Jan 2000 Posts: 161
Not terribly accurate, but I can tell you that a 2 key brick is just smaller than the average phone book. Doesn't make sense for a mule to swallow cocaine if that's what you're thinking, but you can fit two bricks under the back seat of a drive-away car. So I've heard...
#4
01-25-2005, 12:20 PM
 Charter Member Join Date: Mar 2000 Posts: 7,962
If you just want a reasonable estimate, go to your cupboard, get out a box of baking soda and read the label. Physically, the stuff resembles powder cocaine, and I expect that the densities are pretty close, too. That little yellow box you buy in the supermarket is a pound, so think of a kilo of cocaine as something on the order of a couple boxes of baking soda. Note - by "reasonable", I'm suggesting within 30% or so - I'm just WAGing. Just in case somebody DOES dig up the actual density of cocaine.
#5
01-25-2005, 12:33 PM
 Guest Join Date: Nov 2004 Posts: 5,760
Well, I can fit 10 keys or so easily in the spare tire in my trunk.. I mean, my friend can.
#6
01-25-2005, 12:40 PM
 Charter Member Moderator Join Date: Jan 2000 Location: The Land of Cleves Posts: 85,097
If you wanted to go even simpler, you could just assume it has the same density of water. For most organic substances, this is a pretty good approximation, to within 10% or so. Using this, one kilogram of cocaine would be about 1 liter, or a cube 10 cm on a side (or alternatively, a brick 5cm x 10 cm x 20 cm, or 1 cm x 20 cm x 50 cm, or whatever).
__________________
Time travels in divers paces with divers persons.
--As You Like It, III:ii:328
Check out my dice in the Marketplace
#7
01-25-2005, 12:51 PM
 Guest Join Date: Aug 2003 Posts: 987
The Merck Index, which is usually the first place one turns for this sort of information, doesn't list the density of cocaine, although if you want any other property (such as the specific rotation or how soluble it is in olive oil), it's in there. There are entries for both cocaine HCl (which is what you're asking about) and cocaine base (i.e. crack). I tried a couple other things, and I might be able to get an estimate from software if I could get the program to work properly. It's possible that the CRC Handbook of Chemistry & Physics lists the density -- if the Merck Index doesn't list density, CRC often does -- but I don't have a copy. Remember that the compound won't be pure, though it's probably more pure at the drug mule stage of distribution than it is on the street. You can probably get a reasonable estimate just by finding the volume of 1 kg of powdered sugar. Or you could look for news articles about drug mules who were arrested to get some idea of how much they typically carry.
#8
01-25-2005, 03:40 PM
 Charter Member Moderator Join Date: Jan 2000 Location: The Land of Cleves Posts: 85,097
It hadn't occured to me to check my CRC (admittedly an old edition, 1975-1976), but on checking now, there's no mention of cocaine in the index. Looking in the tables for "Physical constants of organic compounds", though, there is a listing for cocaine, but with no density listed. Would you like to know its molecular mass, or its melting point?
#9
01-25-2005, 04:08 PM
 Guest Join Date: May 2000 Location: Glenview, IL Posts: 2,268
Here's what 133lbs of cocaine looks like in kilo packaging. Some of those are double keys, but as you can see - they're pretty small.
#10
01-25-2005, 05:13 PM
 Guest Join Date: Jan 2005 Posts: 7
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Roches The Merck Index, which is usually the first place one turns for this sort of information, doesn't list the density of cocaine, although if you want any other property (such as the specific rotation or how soluble it is in olive oil), it's in there. There are entries for both cocaine HCl (which is what you're asking about) and cocaine base (i.e. crack). I tried a couple other things, and I might be able to get an estimate from software if I could get the program to work properly. It's possible that the CRC Handbook of Chemistry & Physics lists the density -- if the Merck Index doesn't list density, CRC often does -- but I don't have a copy. Remember that the compound won't be pure, though it's probably more pure at the drug mule stage of distribution than it is on the street. You can probably get a reasonable estimate just by finding the volume of 1 kg of powdered sugar. Or you could look for news articles about drug mules who were arrested to get some idea of how much they typically carry.
Thanks for looking it up, I can't believe the density of cocaine is seemingly blacklisted!

If I end up having to compare it to another powdery substance (which I really don't want, I'd love to be as accurate as possible) which would be the best substance to use? Flour, baking soda, sugar, water? What is the most cocaine-like? Hehe.

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Chronos It hadn't occured to me to check my CRC (admittedly an old edition, 1975-1976), but on checking now, there's no mention of cocaine in the index. Looking in the tables for "Physical constants of organic compounds", though, there is a listing for cocaine, but with no density listed. Would you like to know its molecular mass, or its melting point?
Thanks, but I've already found the molecular mass. What I need is either density to figure out the volume of a kg of cocaine, or just the volume of a kg itself. I'd like it to be as accurate as possible, since I am comparing the carrying capacity of drug muleing to less...traditional methods of trafficking.
#11
01-25-2005, 06:01 PM
 Guest Join Date: Jan 2005 Location: Anchorage, AK Posts: 3
My better half happens to work for a federal agency that deals with exactly this item.

I'll let you know if I find out anything concrete (I have handled 1 kilo, though it was about 2 years ago. As I recall it was about the size of a medium paperback and small enough to fit in the headrest of an import car seat).

Like I said, I'll keep you posted if she gets a more concrete answer.

-k
#12
01-25-2005, 06:20 PM
 Guest Join Date: Sep 2004 Location: centre of the universe Posts: 421
i found [url=http://www.osti.gov/gpo/servlets/purl/204024-ivdVDS/webviewable/204024.pdf]this pdf[/ur] which after a brief look seems to suggest that the density of (pure?) cocaine hcl = 1.2g/cm^3
__________________
i can't complain... well i could, but it never does any good.
#13
01-25-2005, 06:25 PM
 Guest Join Date: Sep 2004 Location: centre of the universe Posts: 421
sorry bout the linky screw-up. this should work now.
#14
01-25-2005, 09:45 PM
 Guest Join Date: Dec 2003 Location: Seabrook, Maryland Posts: 3,045
It depends on how it has been processed. I've seen the legal stuff in a pharmacy. It isn't very dense, just small flakes of cocaine and lots of air. It's often used as a topical anaesthetic. I used to have some eye drops that contained cocaine when I was severely allergic to various types of pollen. They worked very well.
#15
01-25-2005, 10:39 PM
 Guest Join Date: Nov 2003 Posts: 1,269
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Chronos Looking in the tables for "Physical constants of organic compounds", though, there is a listing for cocaine, but with no density listed. Would you like to know its molecular mass, or its melting point?
You know, I actually would like to know what the melting point of cocaine is.
#16
01-26-2005, 12:13 AM
 Charter Member Moderator Join Date: Jan 2000 Location: The Land of Cleves Posts: 85,097
There are a number of varieties of cocaine listed; I assume from other comments that the one of interest is cocaine hydrochloride(dl), which melts at 187 Celsius, or cocaine hydrochloride(l), at 197. These are the highest temperatures listed for the various types of cocaine, with the lowest being cocaine(dl) at 79-80. I'm not a chemist, so don't ask me why it melts more easily when on the Disabled List.

 Bookmarks

 Thread Tools Display Modes Linear Mode

 Posting Rules You may not post new threads You may not post replies You may not post attachments You may not edit your posts BB code is On Smilies are On [IMG] code is Off HTML code is Off Forum Rules
 Forum Jump User Control Panel Private Messages Subscriptions Who's Online Search Forums Forums Home Main     About This Message Board     Comments on Cecil's Columns/Staff Reports     General Questions     Great Debates     Elections     Cafe Society     The Game Room     Thread Games     In My Humble Opinion (IMHO)     Mundane Pointless Stuff I Must Share (MPSIMS)     Marketplace     The BBQ Pit

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:16 AM.

 -- Straight Dope v3.7.3 -- Sultantheme's Responsive vB3-blue Contact Us - Straight Dope Homepage - Archive - Top

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com