Sulfuric Acid on Sugar Demo

July 5th, 2012

One of my favorite chemistry demonstrations is the addition of concentrated sulfuric acid to sugar, but who in his right mind would handle concentrated sulfuric acid without gloves?

Um, this guy:

No one appeared to get hurt, but I would not endorse the chap’s claim that “if this will get on your hands, you have about [a minute and 10 seconds] until it takes to really react to wash it off”.


Stay safe, kids.


8 Responses to “Sulfuric Acid on Sugar Demo”

  1. qvxb Says:

    He wore a lab coat, worked in a hood with the sash down, and used gloves when he picked up the carbon (6:30). Definitely needed to be wearing gloves when pouring the acid. His right index finger would have appreciated it.

  2. Paul Says:

    The stains on his sleeves make me wonder how dirty a lab coat needs to get before wearing it is less safe than not.

  3. Unstable Isotope Says:

    They close the hood and then inexplicably open the hood again when the reaction was about to take off.

  4. ameyring Says:

    Also, one thing I’ve found to be a good practice is, where possible, to pour a liquid without any fingers on the bottle side facing down and near the mouth of the bottle. This way, if a small amount of the reactive substance happens to dribble down the side (not all bottle mouths prevent dribbling), it won’t touch your fingers. This is also good practice with gloves because you may not notice a small amount of liquid got on the glove until too late (either it gets through the glove or you contaminate the next thing you touch with gloves).

    If it’s not possible to do this, just dispose of the gloves and be sure to check for and wipe dribbles off the bottle side.

  5. joel Says:

    More G.F.A.J news:

  6. Paul Says:

    @joel: Yup. Writing post now.

  7. wolfie Says:

    In the US, most insurance companies have the problem that they are extremely profit-oriented, so the policies are too expensive to be useful or resonable for anything. In Germany, as a civilized country, there are many non-profit insurance companies, so you can get a policy against almost anything for almost nothing. And this is the reason why noone in Germany wears gloves while handling H2SO4, but instead remembers the old truth : Erst das Wasser, dann die Säure, sonst geschieht das Ungeheure. When you have inhaled this as a freshman, you don’t need either gloves nor insurance. You simply have it.

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