Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Maybe we can stop doing demonstrations with methanol and fire soon?

Looks like Perth Amboy High School in New Jersey is the latest to fall victim to an accident during an alcohol fire experiment (via WABC): 
A high school student was rushed to the hospital after he was injured in an explosion during a chemistry experiment in New Jersey Wednesday. 
The incident happened during an outdoor lab session at Perth Amboy High School during an eighth period chemistry class. 
Students told Eyewitness News that experiment involved some type of alcohol. They said the teacher tried to light a match under a gallon-size container, but it didn't work because of the wind. One of the students - the one who was hurt -- then took the matches, tried to light the bottom and the experiment exploded, burning the student. 
Several students were nearby when the blast happened, and they said they barely escaped the flame. 
"He lit it, and when he lit it he was crouched down," a student said. "So his face was like right there. As soon as he lit it exploded up. It exploded right in his face." The student who was burned ran from the scene to the nurse's office, and then was flown to the hospital for treatment.
Here's the question I have: what's the educational point of whoosh bottles? Is it just "fire is cool"? (I admit, it's pretty darn cool). 

2 comments:

  1. A gallon sized container? Why in the world?

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  2. Why was the match held under the container? I think the instructor was doing the demo for the first time.

    http://www.rsc.org/learn-chemistry/resource/res00000708/the-whoosh-bottle-demonstration?cmpid=CMP00005923

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