[Histonet] Picric acid

Rbwadley rbwadley <@t> dodo.com.au
Mon Apr 16 22:48:28 CDT 2007

   Hi All,
   I  was  taught  in  my  histopathology  classes  that  picric acid was
   dangerous,  in chemistry classes we were told of all the gags that can
   be played using it.
   Apparently  it  was used in Naval ammunitions because it explodes when
   slightly damp - when gun powder won't.
   Crytals  spread  on the flood in the days of hard, leather soled shoes
   created a crackling sound as you walked across the room.
   Crystals sprinkled on the bench and slapped with a ruler go 'pop' just
   like a fire cracker.
   More seriously it is also a neuro toxin.
   Many  years  ago the  safety officer in the institute I was working in
   found  a  dried out jar of picric acid.  While he was gingerly walking
   across the yard from the main building to the less used pump house (he
   was  all dressed up in face shield, leather gloves and leather apron),
   the  jar  was  safely contained in a 20L bucket of water, I was asking
   what he intended to do.
   It  turned  out  that  I  sneaked into the pump house a couple of days
   later, gently loosened the lid (under water), retrieved the jar filled
   it  with  distilled  water and had a nice stock of picric acid for the
   histo lab!
   A little bit of thought and care is much cheaper than the bomb squad!
   Rob W.
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