Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Ochem's Razor

The semester is half over (or only half started :( ) so in celebration, here are some of the things I have learned in Ochem. In case you don't know, ochem is the science of spilling smelly things. Organic compounds come in two varieties; white powdery cancer causing compounds, and clear colorless cancer causing liquid compounds. Compounds may be further divided into: things you boil, and things you mix before boiling.

While taking organic chemistry it is important to be safe, and to understand the substances you are working with. As such, MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets, or more aptly, Magnificently Stupid Danger Signs) have become my life. Here are some gems of wisdom I have found while reading real live MSDS's (Yes, they were alive at the time I read them.)

Spearmint can be quite toxic in quantities greater than 1650 mg/kg. This is not that funny until you realize that in order to die of a spearmint over dose you will need to consume more than 1.6 times your own body weight! Poor rat. Oh and standard clean up methods may be inadequate to deal with spilling an industrial vat of spearmint. IF you do, however spill an industrial vat it is advised that a full body chemical suit be worn while cleaning. Incidently, this is also the same precaution necesary for large water spills as well!

Along the lines of things you can overdose on, Orange oil is also one of them. However, this may prove difficult as 160 grams of orange yield 0.017 g of "Orange Oil" a yield of 0.01%

And the best one:
I found this under potatssium permanganate.
Early symptoms include sluggishness, sleepiness, and weakness in the legs. Advanced cases have shown symptoms of fixed facial expression, emotional disturbances, spastic gait, and falling. Wait! I thought ALL of chemistry caused this, especially 20 hours a day of it!

But enough about safety, ochem surprisingly has has some really interesting parts. Such as borazine ( its an organic ring without any carbons! so cool. And then there's hexahelicene it rotates light 3700 degrees! (that's rotation not temperature.

Cool stuff-good luck gotta go.

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