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Thread: Chemist on Board

  1. #1 Chemist on Board 
    Forum Freshman Steve Griffin's Avatar
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    Seems you need a chemist. You now have one. Ph.D. Analytical Chemistry. BS Microbiology. AAS Electronics Technology. Post Doc in materials and bioengineering. Repaired RADAR in the USAF...rebuilt cars as a kid, mostly VW, but also Audi, Chevy, Pontiac, one Dodge (Super Bee): engines, transmisions, frames, steering, body work. So I know some mechnics. Built my first car...and most since, but none lately since Lexus does a nicer job. Worked with mentally retarded adults for a couple of years (house parent) so I know some about that as well...and I have an autistic five year old. Drove trucks. Hung drywall. Tiled roofs. Don't do that anymore, either.

    I don't do much real chemistry anymore, either. I do have toys, though. I make optical fiber (not datacom -- the big core stuff for high energy lasers and spectrometers) on two draw towers (2400C furnaces on 40' structures) and machine silica with seven lasers. I have excimer (157nm), He:Ne (red, green and orange), diodes (780nm to 820nm), Nd:YAGs(1064nm), Ho:YAGs (2080 and 2140), ER:YAG (2900), CO and CO2 up to 250W.

    I own my own business, started it in my Dad's laundry room after getting fired from my first job out of Grad School. I don't run it anymore...I do not present to banks well and I HATE firing and supervising people (most of the time) and I can't get accounting (eh...don't WANT to get it), but I have learned a bunch about business as well. We now have 30 employees and sales of $6M/yr, doubling about every 8 mos.

    I will not tell you how to make explosives, drugs or anything else dangerous, but I will entertain legitimate and fanciful questions.


    Dr. Silica

    “The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” – Ben Franklin
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  3. #2  
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    A Chemist is a very good start, could also use a farmer by the looks of that area.


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  4. #3  
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    I always get gooy inside when I see someone starting up an enterprise. Fight corporate facism! :P

    Out of pure curiosity, did you ever have to calculate mol to gram, or gram to mol in your career? I'm just wondering, as it is one of the most annoying things I ever did in chemistry .

    Mr U
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  5. #4  
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    Can you tell me how to make just one small little bomb??? please????? :wink: Just kidding.
    Progress isn't made by early risers. It's made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something. -Robert Heinlein
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  6. #5 the evil mole 
    Forum Freshman Steve Griffin's Avatar
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    Yes, Mr. U, I have often made use of moles and grams in my work...not on a daily basis, but pretty damned often. For example, in developing a system for applying polyimide to optical fiber (polyimide is that brown "shelac" on transformer wire, and what we use in fiber optics is chemically similar, but orders more expensive due to filtering, etc.), a process that is actually forming the polyimide from a polyamic acid that is in solution when applied to the fiber in motion, it is useful to know how much water will be evolved so that one can make plans to remove it. Each mole of polymeric repeat unit evolves two or four moles of water per imide ring closure. Trrough the density of the material, the weight % in solution, the stoichiometry of the polymer, the Ideal Gas Law, the thickness of the film to be applied to what size fiber, etc., one can predict very precisely how much water vapor will come off.

    But there are more mundane uses as well, such as forming personal opinions with regard to public policy. For example, in the US Environmental Protection Agency's policy, volitile organic compounds (VOCs) are regualted in determined to be more cuasitive of ground level ozone than ethylene and are not regulated if they cause as much or less ozone formation. In prior administrations, the basis of this determination was as moles of material and very few VOCs (solvents, primarily, in paints, adhesives and the like) were granted exepmtions from regulation. Under Bush the Younger, the EPA has altered its policy to gram equivalents and the flood gates have opened for companies that contrbuted heavily to Bush's successful presidential bid. You see, where a molecule is more massive than ethylene it has more grams per mole but since ozone is formed by stoichiometry -- moles VOS making moles O3 -- less O3 is "apparently" made by heavier molecules.

    Let's see, of the top of my head, ethylene is C2H4 so it is ~12 X 2 + 4 X 1 or 28g/mole. Normalizing to one O3 per mole C2H4 and a random example solvent such as tertiary butyl alcohol (C3H10O), for which I arbitrarily assume 2X molar yield for illustration of prior regulation of the solvent, at ~12 X 3 + 10 X 1 + 16 = 62g/mol...

    one gram of ethylene makes 1/28th mole of ozone (48g/mol) or 1.7 grams and one gram of t-butanol makes 1/31st mole of O3 or 1.55 grams so it is less polluting and deserving of exemption, right? Nope...

    one mole of ethylene makes 48g or ozone and one mole of t-butanol makes 96g of ozone! making it required to regulate, by the intent of the law since the pruposes to which the solvents are used is almost entirely molar based (takes X moles to dissolve Y molse of stuff).

    So, you see, any good sceince citizen should be able to do these simple calcualtions least George and his lackies get the better of us all.
    Dr. Silica

    “The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” – Ben Franklin
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  7. #6  
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    no bombs..? How about fireworks then
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  8. #7  
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    They arent bombs! :wink:
    Progress isn't made by early risers. It's made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something. -Robert Heinlein
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  9. #8  
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    so, are you hiring?

    Failing that, do you know of a good book on the basics of HPLC?

    Or, more to the earlier point, a good simple explanation of the concept of "mole"?

    [I'm working on a new employee training program]
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  10. #9 HPLC and the mole 
    Forum Freshman Steve Griffin's Avatar
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    HPLC is well described along with related separation methods in Willard, Merit, Dean and Settle's Instrumental Methods of Analysis. If this is too deep a tome, I can try to find one more basis, but the one serves very well.

    As for the mole, the definition is very simple, but made more so with an analogy. Bakers find the dozen a convenient unit of measure becasue few customers wish to purchase one muffin and a gross is too many for most. One can easily handle a dozen in standard containers, etc.

    For a chemist, a dozen molecules is difficult to work with and one million is not much better. 6.023 X 10^23 is about right. That's a mole. For gases, one mole of molecules (or atoms for nobel gases) occupies about 22.4 liters of space at one atmosphere of pressure and room temperature. One mole of hydrogen gas has a mass of just over two grams. One mole of carbon black is about 12 grams. A mole of sugar of the type we are most familiar, C12H22O11, has a mass that is easily calculable from the periodic table: 12 X 12.011 + 22 X 1.00797 + 11 X 15.9994 = 342 grams.

    We can estimate the number of sugar molecules in a Coke give that there is about 1 gram of sugar in each ounce...12g/342g/mole = 0.032 mole or about 1.9 X 10^22 molecules.
    Dr. Silica

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  11. #10  
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    hey mr smart man.. i read trough you list of bss ect..

    very impressive!!

    no bomb's .. no worry's.. no drug's.. i have my sorces.. but com on

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  12. #11  
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    That's doctor smartman, sonny.
    Dr. Silica

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  13. #12  
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    dr. . true...

    dr. smart man!

    i wasn't being an ass though.. i was serious!
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  14. #13 OK 
    Forum Freshman Steve Griffin's Avatar
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    So is there anything that I can offer you...you have your sources of recreational supplements, as you say, but are they safe? Often it is not the "active ingredient" that causes the most harm, physiologically, but the contaminants. Of course, I would strongly recommend staying away from drugs all together, having been down that deadend road myself, but if you are determined to play, at least learn what the real risks are and attempt to minimize them.

    Similarly, in regard to explosives...I have made most of the popular ones and learned many valuable lessons. I have no qualms about discussing safe handling aspects and such and would even steer you clear of inadvisable synthetic routes or formulations in favor of safer ones, were less safe preparations proposed.

    In short, my purpose is to help without harming.
    Dr. Silica

    “The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” – Ben Franklin
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  15. #14  
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    you got me all wrong man.. all my drug's are for MEDICAL perposes only, i don't think i will ever or have done drug's.

    but.. hash(seen as your offering), what's the deal with that? it's leagal in some country's.. but not other's? .. don't worry .. whatever you say won't tempt me. ihave resisted alreadY!!! .

    like my play on word's.. deal
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    Well, the active component of Marihuana is THC, which is a substance with some dubious long-term use effects. According to some, they do effects 'memory loss, harder to concentrate, demotivation', et cetera, while others believe these not to be results of prolonged use of the drug.
    Because drugs are still reasonably taboo, research into it isn't going too fast.

    XTC, it's active compound MDMA is bad, but not as bad as the pieces of glass or the rat poison inserted into the pills to make the effect come sooner.

    As Steve said, when taking drugs, you aren't just taking the active compound, you are basically being a living experiment for the creator of the drugs, who wants to see how he can possibly enhance it, so he can ask for more money. It's a dangerous market.

    Mr U
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  17. #16 Kudos, Mr. U 
    Forum Freshman Steve Griffin's Avatar
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    Mr. U makes his point very well -- drugs make you some freak's lab rat.

    As to hash, it is simply the resinous portion of the pot plant. Econohash is easily made on the fly, by putting on leather chaps and running through a pot field. The resins stick to the chaps and you scrape the goo off, making pretty "good" hash. More refned methods of making hash involve concentrating the THC (or tetrahydrocannabinol) within ever more pure mixtures of the plant native materials, the "ultimate" being hash oil. Hash is just stopping while there are still considerable solids present, but far less than in the native leaves and stems and seeds.

    The effects of hash are identical to pot though larger quantities of pot are required to achieve equity in phychoactive effects. The only "reason" to make hash or hash oil...and also the reason it is more prevalent in countries not bordering on Mexico...is that the more concentrated form is more easily smuggled.

    I would add, that insecticides that are liberally used in illicit production of pot, and herbacides like paraquat, used in attempts to erradicate it (with "timely harvest" often occuring just after the helicopter spraying the herbacide has delivered its load), are or similar solubility to THC and, therefore, these compounds are also concentrated in hash products. Yummy.
    Dr. Silica

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  18. #17  
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    so no one know's if it's good or bad.
    i'll stick with bad. but hey .. it'd try it some time , when i know the truth

    and as for tablet's (E's and the like.. ) i'd never touch those. pure shit .. if you'd excuse the language....

    .. glass.. yeuch, it's not nice.

    rat poison. can't say i've ever had it... but i imagine it wooldn't do your stomach any good!
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  19. #18 the truth, like it or not 
    Forum Freshman Steve Griffin's Avatar
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    So you remain unconvinced of the hazards of hash and pot, eh. I suppose that you base this separation between pills and pot on one being "organic" vs. the other being synthetic.

    First, I used "organic" for a reason since the term is completely misused in most societies. Organic means that something contains carbon and hydrogen or halogens with optional oxygen and nitogen while other elements exist in very small amounts.

    Plexiglass is organic. DDT is organic. Diamonds are not. Spring water? nope.

    Spring water an diamonds (mostly) are naturally occuring. DDT and Plexiglass are synthetic.

    Asprin is synthetic, by the way. It is an acetylated form of a natrually occuring extract of tree bark (salicylic acid or 2-hydroxybenzoic acid) that was found to have analgersic and fever reducing effects, but caused massive bleeding in the stomach in many people. Bayer tried hundreds of modifications of the compound before it found acetyl salicylic acid retained the benefits and mediated the side effects enough for general and routine use. They called the product Aspirin but failed to protect the trademark...one of the fisrt cases of a treadmark being lost by over general useage inthe public domain. Which is why Xerox demands that copies be called photocopies, not "Xerox copies" and why Kinberly Clark insists that facial tissue not be called "Kleenex" unless it is their tissue.

    Anyway, back to the point. Ricin is natural and extremely toxic. Sulfur dioxide is natural and extremely deadly. Tobacco is natrual and kills tens of thousands of people every month. Pot is natrual, yes. So what? So is poison ivy. Would you smoke that?
    Dr. Silica

    “The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” – Ben Franklin
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  20. #19  
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    Pot is natural, yes. So what? So is poison ivy. Would you smoke that?
    LOL, don't forget uranium and plutonium. All be it plutonium is very very rare in nature.
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  21. #20  
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    .. i am convinced. did i not make my self clear.
    i just ment.. to try it would be craic, at least once.
    i seen a fella just last night. stonned, and was jumping close to te edge of a steep fall.

    nah, not for me.. insluin dose the job.

    tea is the nicest drug. tastes good, any tea addicts on board?
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  22. #21 Good man 
    Forum Freshman Steve Griffin's Avatar
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    Once might be alright, for pot, but I had a roommate in graduate college who attempted to do just that...smoke once. He continues to smoke today and it cost him tenure at a good university and almost cost his marriage (still may) and his short term memory is shot to hell. He is soooo talented that he'll probably succeed anyway, someday, but his path has been made much longer and more troublesome.

    My own path was made much more difficult by my fascination with altered states. I was one of those who believed I was better than most -- capable of dabbling and experimentation without becoming addicted. And pot did not grab hold of me. No did a dozen other drugs I tried, including the one that eventually became my downfall.

    Similar to the circumstances of my youthful introduction and subsequent addiction to tobacco, wherein a friend who had little money habitually had me buy cigarettes for him…finally I felt that if I was buying them, I might as well try them and that was the beginning of a long, expensive habit. With the drugs, when I became involved with a fellow doctoral student the problems began. She was a daily user and it was only a matter of time before I surpassed her consumption, many fold, and it was four years before I returned to the land of the living.

    So I am no saint, by any means. I would only hope that by telling my own stories that I might dissuade a few others from making the same mistakes that I made.

    -- Still smokin'
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  23. #22  
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    smoking suck's, my sis started, bad bad , she's coughing, and is alway's looking sick. bad shit is tabbaco, and pot .. and all the rest.
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  24. #23 Agreed 
    Forum Freshman Steve Griffin's Avatar
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    Agreed, I am attempting to quit (again)...but it is very, very tough to do when you run your own business. Smoking is a crutch I use to slow down and gather my thoughts before moving on and I have not been successful in replacing it with something less harmful, yet.
    Dr. Silica

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  25. #24  
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    how bout, coffee. it can calm you(so i hear, )
    or else .. every time you inhale, think of all the chemical's entering, the tar .. the carbonmonoxide, and all the other shit(excuse me language but that's what it is...) think of all the cilla in your throat.. being parralazed... think of what you are passing on .. im sure a DR Smart man like your self hold's a good rep.. think of what everyone think's of seeing you smoke.. and thinking.. he dose it.. i could.......

    and then .. and only then ... buy the gum! :wink:
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  26. #25  
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    ...by the way.. you want a crutch to slow down? i can brEAK your leg's if ya want.. all i need is a return tickead(payd for...) and a place to stay...not your house.. cause im sure your family won't want me to stay after what i will do....( a hotel will be grand)

    only if YOU want!
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  27. #26  
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    You're a sick man, GoodGod! I love it. Anyhow, as to the crap that I am inhaling, I am fully aware of it. However, as a chemist, I am also aware that I inhale a lot of other crap without smoking. You do too, though perhaps not as much as we do in Phoenix -- second only to LA for pollution in the US (we don't have fog, so we don't have smog, but we do have smust and more pollen than just about anywhere on the planet and fungi (Coccidioides immites) that cause wierd disease (called Valley Fever -- killed my brother) PLUS, as a chemist, I am exposed to a variety of chemical compounds.
    Dr. Silica

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  28. #27  
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    Toucé, mes Aime,

    but still , this is one you can do without!

    my god, is it that bad?? i find it bad here , when i walk behind a car, or sumtin(even more so when it back's on be!!!)

    sorry bout your bro! damm,

    i'll meet ya somewhere in the dessert.. and i'll go home! don't want to come to your house now!!!!
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  29. #28  
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    Heck, I didn't even get to the bugs and snakes, yet! Maybe we'll meet at the Grand Canyon sometime -- my goal is to sell this company in the next few years and MOVE out of this stinking city, to the high desert where the air and water is clean...

    Vous n'est pas Francais, Non? Not if your from the land of the ice and snow...
    Dr. Silica

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  30. #29  
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    non, Je Suis mauais.
    /moyan...

    im not good, i do it at school, but only as a subject filler,

    my probem as ididn't listen in 1t,2nd,3rd, year's.. now i don't know much...i trow in a bit to help...it doesn't really!

    je ratera.. mes bac!!!(to fail one's final exam?)
    ..im not realy from the land of the ice and snow..... tis a lad zepplin quote!
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  31. #30 Wider implications of chemistry 
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    Hi Steve

    Very impressed by the eclecticism of your CV, which equals or surpasses that of my own endeavours. I am also a jack-of-all-trades, but have been more of a chemist (analytical. basic research, plant troubleshooting, R&D, consultant) than anything else. A sufferer of butterfly mind syndrome, excursions into such areas as security guard, driving instructor, public address and poly-lingual interpretation systems engineer, slitting machine operator, purchasing officer are just some of the things I have some-how managed to squeeze into my life. I have also run my own manufacturing business (polyester castings) and also "do not present to banks well and HATE firing and supervising people (most of the time) and can't get accounting (eh...don't WANT to get it), but have learned a bunch about business as well." Could not come near to matching the monetary rewards you are enjoying, though.
    Also an 80+ a day smoker for 25 years I gave it up 30 years ago. You are only addicted because you believe you are. If you refuse to just go cold turkey, find a good hypnotist (a purveyer of honest bullshit) who will convince you of what you already know.
    These days I am mostly a writer. The ideas in my first book "Unusual Perspectives" are proving very hard to push. Particularly as the basis of the most significant theme which emerges is based in chemistry - which, of course only the tiniest fraction of the population knows the first thing about - despite it being the most fruitful source of understanding of how the world works! And most academics tend to be paradigm-bound. The full electronic edition of “Unusual Perspectives” can be freely downloaded from the eponymous website. I would appreciate the critique of one such as yourself of chapter 11 in particular.
    Cheers
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  32. #31  
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    Pete,
    I appreciate the desire to get people to read your work, but you should note the date of the last post to this thread. It's been more than five years since this thread was active, so it's quite a long-shot that you'll get a response of the nature you desire.
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  33. #32  
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    Wow! That's sad. What happened to Dr Silica (Steve)? Thought I'd found a kindred spirit there. Can't be that many silica spinners, though so perhaps I can catch up with him.

    Thanks for pointing out the five year delinquency, which I had overlooked.

    Cheers
    Pete
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