Chemistry trivia for consumers

You can ask me some trivia question, like whtaäs Liquid plummer, and I’ll try to answer.
but first, I have a question. What is the crystalline stuff they adverstise on tv that gets rid of all colored stains on rugs, clothing, perhaps even on your dog. “It’s natural”, they say. I haven’t figured this out.
Also, there was some paint brush cleaner that was not stinky and could go down the drain safely.It too was “natural”. 3M had a “safe” paint stripper that I think is similar to dimethylformamide, a high boiling solvent.
I find it amusing how things are either chemical or natural.Presumably they think milk is made of “milk” molecules.

I think you could argue that everything is natural. Except honey. It’s bee-made.

“Try this - it’s organic!” They used to say.
“Feh” I replied, as I examined the multi-colored vines growing out of my tennis shoes, “A synthetic psilocybin alkaloid molecule is identical to one produced in a mushroom.”

Well the questions don’t sem to be appearing, or answers to my questions. I could turn this into a self service forum.See if The mad Scientist has an answer to your consumer chemistry questions at:
www.madsci.org/
There’s a searchable list of answers.You can’t ask them anything unless you are high school age or younger.

Cecil has a column on chlorine. I use it to clean a few things outside and sometimes I pour it in a stinky drain(it gets rid of rotting things).But I never understood this laundry bleach use. We don’t have many white items,but I still see it attempted to use on stains. Then you get a bleached spot.I haven’t figured out what Clorox 2 is, it has “no chlorine” but the label lists no contents.

Cecil has a column on chlorine. I use it to clean a few things outside and sometimes I pour it in a stinky drain(it gets rid of rotting things).But I never understood this laundry bleach use. We don’t have many white items,but I still see it attempted to use on stains. Then you get a bleached spot.I haven’t figured out what Clorox 2 is, it has “no chlorine” but the label lists no contents.

I’m having a great time with my monologue.Clorox 2 has a secret ingredient:hydrogen peroxide.The trick is to put it in a powder.See:
users.cybermax.net/~geo/things1.htm

Speaking off the subject but I thought maybe one of you would like to know, I was in the lab on Tuesday and I was working with Magnesium Nitrate and Ammonium. The bottles I picked up weren’t labeled, so I , thinking I was above wafting even ammonium, smelled one of the bottled and boom, knocked me out!
Woke right up but man am I happy no one was in there. Any of you chemistry buffs have funny chem stories?


“Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions” -Oliver Holmes

OK, I have an extremely trivial chemistry question. Y’know those round, black highway flares they used to have back in the fifties, the ones that looked sort of like cartoon bombs? What was in those things, anyway?

Just curious,
TenMoons

Funny chem story:
I once tried to decant liquid Bromine using a pipette. Bad idea. This stuff is so dense, it overcame the vacuum in the pipette and began pouring out onto the countertop. YOW. NOW WUT, I cried, as the shit started eating a hole in a supposedly non-reactive surface. A dense green vapor immediately began running over the edge of the counter onto the floor… VERY cool, VERY monster-movieish… but I caught a whiff, and it was GEEZIS better not hang around here, so I retreated to the doorway to watch. (This happened in the Bio/chem lab preparation area between two classrooms at college). Fortunately, it dissipated quickly and I was left with a shallow depression in the countertop. I was not so lucky when I accidentally released 100 large bullfrogs in the building, but that’s a story for another day.

This is UNbelievable! Were you watching that movie with Fred MacMurray the other night?! They showed a street scene with those things in it, and I said “Hey! I remember those!”
Stinky, sooty lil bastards. They had a little ring on the side, and I remember seeing the guys carrying 3-4 of them in each hand). My guess is they contained No. 4 fuel oil, as it burned rather poorly and obviously had a very high flashpoint. As kids, we often played with similar items they used to keep the track switches on the railroad from freezing - same smell, same soot, same disappointing volatility.

What I want to know is how many Darwin awards are won by people mixing Chlorox and ammonia when they clean the bathroom.

I worked at a Kroger deli once, and the steam tables hadn’t been cleaned in so long, they were encrusted with dissolving/rotted food that looked like brown kelp. The manager finally tried to clean it out by pouring everything down it she could think of. I retreated to the kitchen when she started mixing bleach and Drano.

Hmph! Amateurs! Trying to trick me into admitting I’m still around.

Live long & Suffer!

Dread Pirate Judy

Funny chemistry story:
In an undergraduate lab a student was asked to weigh out 30g of aluminum chloride.This was in the old days of a mechanical balance.Someone had left the 1 kg weight moved over, and the student attempted to weigh 1030g, thinking it was 30g. After weeks in this class, he still had no idea how much a gram should look like.Of course 1030g would have never fit in his reaction flask.

Sort of a funny story… Unknown to me, my mother had left toilet bowl cleaner in the bowl,(I am not sure what it was, maybe bleach) when I relieved myself in said bowl, a chemical reaction took place in where some gas was released but not noticeable. I ALMOST passed out, I just barely got done in time to keep myself off the floor. I thought I read somewhere about this reaction that involves urine, anyone know?

Now that I think about, it could make a wicked prank on your buddy after a night of drinking.

Those round flares were called smudge pots, though I have not the foggiest idea what was in them.
When I took chemistry in my junior year in high school, it was in spring 1966 that I asked the teacher what would happen if you dropped a penny into nitric acid. He showed me, with a little square from a sheet of copper instead of a penny. He poured–carefully–some pure nitric acid into a beaker, then–carefully–dropped the copper into the acid. It foamed a light yellowish green, then when the foam cleared the copper was gone!

Funny Chem story:
While in Chem lab in college, I was opening a new bottle of Toulene. It had a plastic wrapper over the cap (like salad dressing). Instead of peeling that off first, I unscrewed the cap and started fighting with the bottle to open it. Needless to say, I wore almost the whole bottle. (none in my face). I stunk like hell and had to go to the gym and shower off. My skin was dry as an alligator for about a month! Chem teacher was not amused (I felt super-stupid).

Some mornings it just doesn’t seem worth it to gnaw through the leather straps.
Emo Philips (stolen from matt’s webpage)

Hey, Zette, I hope you didn’t mix the Toluene with Tri and Nitro, because you might blow up! Even Red Skelton was wary of a containter of “tnt” (he pronounced it like a word)! :slight_smile:


“If you drive an automobile, please drive carefully–because I walk in my sleep.”–Victor Borge

There was a medical story again a short while back about mixing ammonia cleaners and bleach. They react.The details are also somewhere in the Cecil Forum.