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Weird Reaction?

  1. Mar 5, 2008 #1
    When I was 15, I dropped into a lab in a big city hospital.. The fellow there was doing illegal isotope experiments there... He took me under his wing to teach me some of the strange chemistry things he new... The one that still puzzles me today is his silly little acid/alcohol/p. permanganate in a test tube thing...


    He took a thick walled test tube, and gently added two inches of conc. sulphuric acid...
    He carefully floated two inches of ethyl alcohol on the acid...
    He dropped half a gram of crystals of potassium permanganate into the mix, set a loose ball of cotton in the mouth of the tube to prevent splash, and a safety-glass shield between us and the tube.. and waited...
    The salt dropped to the bottom of the tube.. and the crystals released a few bubbles for a minute.. then crystals, attached to bubbles, rose to the seam of the liquids layer, and detonated one by one when the new compound contacted the alcohol... The reaction continued for approx. five minutes... The odor the tube gave off was delightful...


    Questions: What are the chemical properties of that scent..? I figure it is partly due to burned hydrocarbons, plus something..?

    What compound is created to make the p. permanganate detonate in ethyl..?

    What is the resultant brown p. compound in the alcohol..? Umm..? Umm..? Umm..?

    "potassium brownate..?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 5, 2008 #2

    sas3

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  4. Mar 5, 2008 #3
    Hey!.. Thanks!.. So that explains the pleasant smell...
    Then it was the oxide that detonated the moment it's anhydride contacted the alcohol...
    I suppose the sulphuric acid stripped the water portions from the newly created unstable oxide as it floated up in the acid...
    I didn't realize it could be so simple...

    _______________


    OK.. Here's another one that still puzzles me...

    I stored my lab in a basement, on a shelf, for about ten years...
    When I got to cleaning it up, I discovered that the iodine crystals had dissolved the cap of its bottle, and the fumes had hardened its protective wax coating, which cracked, and bits fell off.. For a few years, the iodine fumes reacted with the bottle of pure titanium metal, creating a deep forest-green powdered titanium salt... What is that salt?.. I can't find it in any chemistry manuals..? I haven't a clue what its properties even might be...
     
  5. Mar 5, 2008 #4
    In reading more of the link you provided.. I see that p. permangante can be used as a survival fire starter.. by mixing sugar with it.. and rubbing it... So that's how they made those shooting fires in "phantom of the opera"... He must have rubbed a stage prop material, of finely powdered p. permanganate and powdered sugar between a protective spacer, maybe a varnish-coated tablet, between hidden gloved finger tips... It looked like he was rubbing his fingers, then tossing fireballs... That one had me puzzled since I saw the show years ago...
     
  6. Mar 5, 2008 #5
    Oops! correction.. In the acid and permanganate reaction, the oxide became an unstable anhydride when the alcohol stripped the water off the oxide... I recall there was a slight pause between liquid layers before the detonation...
     
  7. Mar 6, 2008 #6
    It's the concentrated sulfuric acid to strip water off the permanganate to give the unstable, oily, green permanganic anhydride which is the "powerful" oxidizing agent.
     
  8. Mar 6, 2008 #7
    Bottle in pure titanium metal? Strange; are you sure of it? Wasn't it aluminum, perhaps?
    Anyway, iodine is an alogen and all alogens reacts with metals; the metal M of the bottle certainly combined with it forming iodide of M; in case of titanium TiI4, with aluminum AlI3, and so on. The "wax" coating has probably combined with it as well, forming a kind of "plastic".
     
  9. Mar 6, 2008 #8
    The titanium was in a plastic bottle without a lid... It was two shelves directly below the now opened bottle of iodine crystals... The titanium bottle was coated with sublimate of fine needle-like iodine crystals... The titanium was lab grade chunks of metal, 99.7% pure...
    The acids were all still sealed intact in wax... It seems that the only chemicals that could have caused the reaction were atmosphere, and the iodine... The metal was totally changed into that green powder, which closely resembled a deep green chromium salt... It was definitely titanium...

    Maybe there were other chemicals involved in the reaction, but I can't think of anything that was there that could have added to the reaction..? Umm..? The nitrotoluene had partially evaporated from it's container... The phenol had eaten through its container, and evaporated... I think the potassium cyanide had cracked its cap..? The mineral acids were all still intact... The picric acid also cracked its lid...

    A few iron tools, nearby, were rust covered, so that tells me that the sulfuric and nitric were likley in the air the whole time...

    OK.. so the green stuff was: "Titanium dinitroiodidineuoustolucyanatepicrous sufonitrateous dioxide".. or not..?
    I think the green powder was a perfect blend of the metal and the iodine, maybe with acid ions accelerating and/or aiding the reaction... If I were to try to create the reaction in a lab, I'd use a manufacturers tube, in dark active moist O2 atmosphere, with the presence of carbon monoxide (i.e gas furnace running all winter for ten years, in a sealed basement), with just enough heat to maintain the iodine in an atmospheric-state over the titanium, in the presence of an ever so slight hint of a gaseous presence of H2SO4, and HNO3..?

    What color are the various titanium oxides and dioxides?..

    _______________
     
  10. Mar 6, 2008 #9
    In the phantom of the opera "fireballs, they resembled flaming pieces of tubular cordite, in how they burned and slightly changed course in the air... Maybe a piece of cordite was ignited by rubbing a sugar/permanganate mix..? Maybe the cordite was coated with sugar, and the glove had glycerine on it..? I doubt they would store the glycerine or sugar with the permanganate.. that would be crazy, and illegal... The actor did rub his fingers together quite briskly before he tossed his flaming thing...
     
  11. Mar 7, 2008 #10
  12. Mar 7, 2008 #11
    I know (but maybe there are others) only TiO2, which is white.
     
  13. Mar 7, 2008 #12
    OK.. so titanium iodide it was... black green crystals.. but this was a perfect powder...

    Any ideas on its properties?.. besides the fact that if it could have probably been heated to release its iodine.. and likely would result in its trioxide, and free iodine smoking green, maybe..? maybe even burning in O2..? but I bet that would require a fume hood, or be fatal..? It definitely was not water soluble... I wonder if I had have heated it, and reacted ammonia with it..? or just reacted ammonia with it.. then lead acetate.. would it have precipitated lead tri-iodide..? Or if it could dissolve in water after a process, would it make titanium azide, in precipitating it with sodium azide..? If yes, I bet it would be as unstable as H., a little like nitrogen triodide, maybe..? Not sure if I saved some..? Got some on my hands right off, which was about as goofy as a kid drinking gas... I momentarily forgot my lab safety rules, after ten years away from it... Dum!..


    Ever had "heavy head", from hydrogen cyanide..?
    WhooH!.. When your head feels like it weighs a couple hundred pounds... Not fun!.. It's about that close to death...

    Dumbest one I ever heard.. at UWO, they allowed fume hoods that weren't strong enough to evacuate sulfur dioxide, and a couple lab students died, playin' in there unsupervised... Probably makin' medications they shouldn't have been....

    When I was 15, many labs took me under their wing, to teach me what they knew, and to answer my questions, to get me to answer their pressing ones... The Dean gave me free run in chemical stores, at 15.. Seems he resonated with my tremendous enthusiasm for Chemistry.. hospitals did too, but with supervision... A nuke phyzicist took me into his lab, Sundays too... He said I'm here, you've come here from the god's will, therefore I am bound to teach you what I can...
    The glass blower spent his Sundays teaching me his art... The guys doing leary research slammed the door in my face... At 15, I walked in, in a first year lab, where third year's were chillin' acetone with dry ice.. but they scooted me away before they got to the leary part of the process of the extractions... They thought I didn't know... even a baby would have known they were makin' 60's blodder...

    When I was 16, I had a plan to change the course of the river, with a couple gallons of nitro... I had the components, and the spot, but on second thought I figured I would have leveled a hospital, and wouldn't have been able to run fast enough far enough, so I shelved the project... but my copper rockets traveled a couple miles before their lead azide warheads made huge flashes in the sky half mile up... The cops were forever searching for the one who was making big bangs over the city... They never caught me, nor my bud who filled garbage bags with OxyAcet mix, attached ten to a hydrogen balloon, and a fuse, and let 'er float over a city subdivision... His bangs shook teacups in houses... But one day he used the wrong bags, and while he was fillin' one up, holdin' the bag between his legs, a static spark nearly turned him into girl... His hearing was never the same.. like mine was never the same when the lead azide tube detonated in my face, sending me sailing through a treetop thirty feet up... I got of hospital three weeks later... When the orderly was wheelin' me out of ICU, I looks at the huge bandage, and asks, "So is it healed yet?"... The guy broke up laughing to tears, and holding his sides... I just loves that Chemistry.. but sometimes it bites-back bigtime...

    Just can't help it... I just Loves Chemistry, maybe even more than girls..? I recall one lass told me she hated Chemistry... I dumped her fast as the nitric reacted with hyrazine...

    Nicest chemical I ever smelled was sodium laurate... I got a U lab to make me some, just so I could smell it again... Dern stuff don't last long before it changes into something else... I wonders what its smell does to the nasal sensors and cortex, that makes you feel like you're flyin'..? Make me some...
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2008
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