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[dupe] Things I Won’t Work With: Peroxide Peroxides (2014) (corante.com)
82 points by robin_reala on Feb 9, 2015 | hide | past | favorite | 27 comments

It's a great read, but this has been posted before: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8440486

If you liked it, here are previous discussions over another one of his articles:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5546450 and https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1148425

I am not a chemist, but I love this guy's writing:

"But I have to admit, I'd never thought much about the next analog of hydrogen peroxide. Instead of having two oxygens in there, why not three: HOOOH? Indeed, why not? This is a general principle that can be extended to many other similar situations. Instead of being locked in a self-storage unit with two rabid wolverines, why not three?"

If you can find a copy, you might like the book Ignition! by John Clark (some libraries have it, and there is a scanned PDF floating around online). It is about the early development of rocket propellants (which as you might imagine covers a lot of really nasty chemicals), and is filled with these sort of humorous analogies and deliberate understatements. Very funny (and informative) book.

Or free from http://library.sciencemadness.org/library/books/ignition.pdf . Not readable (no text displays) with Firefox's PDF.js, but works just fine with Mac's Preview.app.

Totally readable in both Chrome and IE and I bet it works fine in Safari. Firefox's pdf viewer is apparently worse than being just criminally slow.

But hey, at least it's not Acrobat?

Ignition! was a complete waste of an evening or two, but quite enjoyable. It did give me an appreciation for what to expect when rocket people talk about monopropellants. And the whole thing about flourine compounds. And an appreciation for just how safe and friendly current H/lox and Kero/Lox rockets are compared to the alternatives.

Said PDF appears to be at bookzz.org

Me too. Some people have a flair for making the technical accessible. Always a treat, and I always learn something.

For a fun tour of nasty chemicals, I can recommend "Ignition! An Informal History of Liquid Rocket Propellants" by John D. Clark. You will learn about all the nice propellants that were tried back in the 50s and 60s, like FCl_3 and liquid lithium...

Edit: Nm, saw this was already mentioned.

Sounds about as much fun as FOOF: http://pipeline.corante.com/archives/2010/02/23/things_i_won...

Joke Q: Where do you look to find chemists that have discovered FOOF on their own? A: A cemetery.


Prof. Poliakoff - now Dr. Martyn Poliakoff CBE - has made it, and in this video he briefly shows the specialized apparatus you use in the production of FOOF.

(I highly recommend his entire series, "Periodic Table of Videos". they are really fun)

The real question is whether we can make FOOOF :)

Who's this "we" you're talking about?

I'm not sure if FOOF or ClF3 is worse. I'm actually leaning towards ClF3 since people have actually made large quantities of it.

Totally can sympathize with the title. Open a bottle of an ether with a loose cap that has had diethyl ether peroxides form on it's rim... you'll have a new outlook on the situation.

(Diethyl ether peroxide is a contact explosive)

My intro inorganic-chem class had the best safety video, described as one "Dr Anxiety". Among other thing like a glass tube being into a stopper that ended with blood spraying everywhere, it had someone in a lab coat pick up a 1L reagent bottle off a shelf, eye it for a while, and say, "Hmm.. I haven't used this in a while, but I'm sure it's still good.". As soon as they turned the cap, it exploded into a giant fireball, complete with the lab guy running around on fire. Rewinding and pausing the video revealed that it was diethyl ether.

I kind of wish I could find a copy of that safety video....

That's part of it, thanks! (the instructor might have pieced together footage from a few videos. The glass tube+stopper scene is definitely the one I was remembering)

Reminds me of Ted Taylor: http://www.amazon.com/The-Curve-Binding-Energy-Alarming/dp/0...

He didn't stop with the high explosives, he went Nuclear!

Unfortunately, I cannot open this. I keep getting some fatal error.

The Corante bloging site that host the Pipeline blog has a problem with IE. Try to open it with Chrome or Firefox

That would explain it. Thanks.

I understood some of those words (failed highschool chem)



> On-Topic: Anything that good hackers would find interesting. That includes more than hacking and startups. If you had to reduce it to a sentence, the answer might be: anything that gratifies one's intellectual curiosity.

> Off-Topic: Most stories about politics, or crime, or sports, unless they're evidence of some interesting new phenomenon. Videos of pratfalls or disasters, or cute animal pictures. If they'd cover it on TV news, it's probably off-topic.

I've seen the blog before; it's been mentioned on HN a few times. But so what? It's better than a lot of stuff on /newest

News as in Usenet not as in CNN.

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