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Water bottle explosion with acid smell

  1. Nov 2, 2006 #1
    At the school where I teach, we recently had a recycling bin door blow off due to an explosion in a water bottle. Lots of heat was generated as evidenced by the melted, hard plastic and there was a sweet acidic smell to the liquid coating the inside of the bottle. The liquid had a pH of about 4. Any ideas?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 2, 2006 #2
    Do students have access to chemicals at this school? If so it was probably some student that did some research and found out there was an easy way to make that happen, no ideas to what it could be but i bet it could be anything unless there are specific things students can get from the school.
  4. Nov 2, 2006 #3
    Students do not have access to chemicals at our school unless it is in a lab situation and all lab chemicals are accounted for at the end of each class...
  5. Nov 2, 2006 #4
    How would you define sweet? Like honey? Flowers? Fruit? Lemons? There are plenty of fragrances in household cleaners. Dimethylbenzene is said to smell sweet, it attacks certain plastics, and is present in certain cleaners, fresheners, and polishes.

    Good luck with your search!
  6. Nov 2, 2006 #5
    The sweet smell was fruity.
  7. Nov 3, 2006 #6
    Perhaps it involved a household cleaner with a fragrant additive, such as orange or lemon Pine-Sol.
  8. Nov 3, 2006 #7
    I hope noone was hurt. This sounds pretty wierd almost as if it was not an accident.
  9. Nov 3, 2006 #8


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    Staff: Mentor

    Aluminum foil plus some dissolving agent (acid or base) in PET bottle will be my bet.
  10. Nov 5, 2006 #9
    I agree that your best bet is a cleaner and Aluminum Foil. There are quite a number of household cleaners that contain Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH) that will react violently with aluminum; especially if the cleaner is crystal form and made into a solution with water. Kids figured this out and tried putting it in a bottle... expanding gas has got to go somewhere. The only problem with this is that NaOH cleaners have a volatile lye smell; especially after reacting...
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