What have you broken in the lab?

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Bronx
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Re: What have you broken in the lab?

Postby Bronx » Fri Jun 04, 2010 12:18 am UTC

Besides the obvious beakers and test tubes and the like, I've broken a few somewhat exciting things in AP Chem this past year...let's see, my lab partner and I each broke a non-electric thermometer in the same day. I 'absentmindedly' stuck mine in the flame of a Bunsen burner. Later, I handed the replacement thermometer to my lab partner to hold while I mixed something. She dropped it and it shattered...

That same lab partner also dropped our lab's big container (2.5L, I think) of glacial acetic acid. The glass container broke, and the spilled acid melted the wax right off the floor, and cleared out about half the lab. Before that, I used to like the smell of vinegar!

Also, not a breakage, but in the early days of chem, I had poured some HCl down a drain, and then decided that I had better neutralize it. So, I grabbed the only nearby base, which was bleach, and poured it down. It was horrible! Cleared out all of the lab, and permeated the whole school. Nasty, nasty stuff. :)

rocketrat
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Re: What have you broken in the lab?

Postby rocketrat » Fri Jun 04, 2010 12:52 am UTC

Bronx wrote:Also, not a breakage, but in the early days of chem, I had poured some HCl down a drain, and then decided that I had better neutralize it. So, I grabbed the only nearby base, which was bleach, and poured it down. It was horrible! Cleared out all of the lab, and permeated the whole school. Nasty, nasty stuff. :)

There's a specific warning on some HCl bottles not to mix it with bleach, it's a shame they don't write it on the bottles people use in labs. That could be quite a disaster if someone didn't know how to react.

All I've broken are the usual fried Ammeters/Voltmeters and cheap glassware. I'm too freaked out about breaking expensive stuff to take any risks.

talcite
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Re: What have you broken in the lab?

Postby talcite » Fri Jun 11, 2010 5:43 am UTC

Up until last year, I've never broken any glassware save a beaker. This is coming from a 4th year undergrad in chem...

Then in one inorganic lab session, I broke an air condenser, a fractionating column, and 2 large mercury thermometers (both the original and the replacement). The total damage was something about $250.

The first time, I snapped the thermometer accidentally by applying a bit too much downwards pressure (the apparatus was set up on a tilt). The second time, the TA incorrectly configured the replacement apparatus and the top half of it just blew off from the pressure. It was a pretty crazy day. I still managed to collect my product though.

yukizora
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Re: What have you broken in the lab?

Postby yukizora » Fri Jun 11, 2010 8:15 am UTC

I'm not a chemist, but I've learnt that a (non-chemist) teacher destroyed his hands.
He was looking for a nice color for CO2 snow, he took KMnO4 (If I remember).
And finally, he just put his hands in it showing the beauty of the purple-coloured snow.

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existential_squirrrel
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Re: What have you broken in the lab?

Postby existential_squirrrel » Mon Jun 14, 2010 4:25 pm UTC

I've melted a test tube holder by leaving it in a hot water bath and spilled strawberry DNA all over everything while in Biochem.

I've broken a few test tubes, a beaker, some crucibles, the usual glassware throughout high school science
In physics I've fried lightbulbs, some small resistors, and dropped a bowling ball on my toe.

In Robotics, I've witnessed someone eating lithium grease, someone fried a key electrical component... and tried to solder a few fingers together :shock: this was an afterschool class

In AP bio, I spilled Iodine all over my lab book, dropped a box of crickets, and tried to knock myself out (UNINTENTIONALLY) with ink chromatography solvent
courage is about knowing when to pick yourself up and whisper to yourself, "I will try again tomorrow"
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TimC
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Re: What have you broken in the lab?

Postby TimC » Mon Jun 14, 2010 4:57 pm UTC

Probably stretching the intent of the thread, but I was once part of a team which broke a nuclear submarine as part of an experiment.

A trials programme to look at electric signatures (similar to degaussing). Anodes mounted on the hull, current out by an order of magnitude and suddenly all the glue holding the anechoic outer surface of the sub broke down and tiles started coming off. I joined the team 3 months after it happened, and suffice to say it was interesting getting approval to do anything.

I also once heard a story (no idea if it's true) about a torpedo test going wrong. The torpedo was supposed to switch off its motors when it got with a certain distance of the sub. The torpedo came in at just the right angle so that the range finding sonar bounced off the sub, up to the surface, straight back down and back, i.e. adding twice the depth of the sub to the range. The motors didn't switch off until too late. It was unarmed of course, and had started to slow but it still made one hell of a noise when it hit.

fooliam
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Re: What have you broken in the lab?

Postby fooliam » Tue Jun 15, 2010 9:53 pm UTC

In 4th grade we were doing some "experiments" in electricity, by walking around with a circuit board consisting of a battery connected to a little 5W bulb with a couple of leads to determine what would and wouldn't conduct electricity. I decided to see if the wall outlet would conduct electricity. Gave myself a nice little jolt and managed to black out the school for a bit.

Broke a little bit of glassware..beakers, and couple flasks, nothin too big in college.
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Bought ME2 based on my totally useful poll :-)

Spen
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Re: What have you broken in the lab?

Postby Spen » Wed Jun 16, 2010 9:48 pm UTC

Chemistry wise: Several test tubes, the orange rubber bit on a syringe (glass ball flew out), managed to recolour my hand with I think bromine gas in an NaBr +Sulphuric acid reaction just before sniffing it, it has a kick, my mate in the first lesson of the year managed to shatter a burette and bleed all over the teacher's desk..
Physics wise: Various low cost electrical components, almost took out a Yaesu FT897 transciever with a high SWR, knob on an army radio, I think I managed to get a light box too.
Biology: Put a thermometer into a bunsen burner absent mindedly, 6 seconds later my friend's shirt was covered in blue alcohol and he'd been showered with small shards of glass....

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Oregonaut
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Re: What have you broken in the lab?

Postby Oregonaut » Thu Jun 17, 2010 9:55 pm UTC

I did not do this, however while I was working in a production lab at an Intel facility, a colleague placed copper contaminated equipment onto a non-copper process bench. This contaminated seventeen processes worth of industrial equipment with trace amounts of copper thereby removing any possibility of using the equipment for anything but running copper processes. This meant replacing: Every. Single. Machine. We're talking several-many-morethanonebyabunch digits worth of dollars of equipment because he couldn't remember that orange = Cu-contaminated.

Good times.
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Mumpy wrote:And to this day, librarians revile Oregonaut as the Antichrist.

False! We sacrifice our card catalogues to him in the name of Job Security!


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