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Thread: Electrolyte types ACID or BASE? Immediate care.

  1. #1
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    Default Electrolyte types ACID or BASE? Immediate care.

    So run off to the emergency room while an acid or base is eating away at your skin, and stand there for 2.5 hours filling out insurance paperwork, and waiting in line for them to take care of that auto accident victom, while the acid continues to do its job :-)

    wouldnt it be just a bit better to Identify the substance and immediataly nutralise it?

    What battery is it, is the damaging substance a acid or a base, is the substance oil based, solvent based, or water based, or what will it wash off with , as oiley acids cant be nutralised without a detergant of sorts.

    If you Know what your dealing with , nutralising and removing it from your skin, would be simple with various kitchen components. if you dont know what your dealing with, how are some of these dorkey doctors going to know?

    SOO, how about a List of the possible exposures, and items that would nutralise and reduce the damage on exposure.
    i have been exposed to many internal products of batteries, without issue, and one time when i didnt KNOW i had the dead skin of my fingers completly eaten off.
    one time i blew LYE water out all over my face and into my eyes, a few minutes of sheer pannic later, not a mark on me.

    We all got and probably deal with the one that we probably know the most about. the Car Lead acid battery.
    Nutralise with Bicarbinate of soda, and if you aint got that, baking soda has some in it. because Soda is a common kitchen component, and it also can work to extinguish a small fire, having it isnt a problem.

    so
    Car Battery splash = Hose yourself down quickly, smear soda water mix on yourself, rince rince . solution. in eyes flush flush flush with water.


    The time i got eaten up by car battery acid, i was topping off hundreds of batteries water in transportation, and the tips of my fingers fell apart, before i realised how much exposure to the acid over days i was getting.
    When kids we blew up a car battery and reacted immediatally with soda, after the initial pannic of finding a nutralising agent and using it, there was no problem. and a bunch of other exposures, that were 0 problem because we knew what the substance was.

    If you know how to react to exposure to things, THEN going to the doc while your skin falls off, might be less of a problem.
    So list the items of possible exposure, and the immediate solution.
    a list , a simple list would also indicate how to clean up a item that you want to try and recover, like when a alkaline messes up your products.
    Last edited by VidPro; 06-28-2006 at 05:06 PM.

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    Default Re: Electrolyte types ACID or BASE? Immediate care.

    Hi,

    As a chemist (Head of Science) I can say:

    NEVER, EVER TRY TO NEUTRALISE A CHEMICAL ON YOUR SKIN

    JUST WASH IT OFF WITH LOTS OF COLD....

    Hmm, lithium cells are a glitch in this. But if it's a base or acid with no metallic lithium present, just use water. If it's lithium, use vegetable or mineral oil. Likewise for any other alkali metal.

    Seriously, neutralising acids and bases can liberate a lot of heat (they are always exothermic reactions) and exacerbate the injury. Ever added water to concentrated sulphuric acid? I have, to prove to students that it causes flash boiling, spitting boiling acid everywhere.

    I've seen HF (hydrogen fluoride (gas) or hydrofluoric acid (in water)) mentioned a few times here. Not sure if it really comes into cell chemistry, but if you are ever unlucky enough to come into contact with that, prepare to lose parts of your body. It gets through your flesh quicker than you can wash it off. You need injections of calcium gluconate to stop it reaching bone and reacting out the calcium. Nasty! It doesn't even burn at first, it's a weak acid and doesn't do much damage to the soft tissue it passes through. Calcium gluconate is (should be) kept as a countermeasure wherever HF is in use.

    Play safe...

    Rick.

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    Default Re: Electrolyte types ACID or BASE? Immediate care.

    well your the chemist :-)
    never had a problem with nutralising but the RINCE is always first.

    See , now if we combine the chemisry with what the substance is in the FORM of, i think you could accomplish a list.

    lithium in lithium ion cells is kinda still in a wrap of sorts, its not like getting an entire blob of lithium on you at all. i think the electrolyte is a bigger issue.
    but that is what would be important to determine fast reaction prevention.

    if you know what your going up against , in the form that it spatters in.
    every occurance other than the LYE i have had its small droplets, and in dry batteries is a wrap of combined crud.
    Last edited by VidPro; 06-28-2006 at 05:37 PM.

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    Default Re: Electrolyte types ACID or BASE? Immediate care.

    Vidpro - The chemist above is right, but for the curious, I am (reasonably ) sure that virtually all cell chemistry is acidic except alkaline cells.

    For skin, just remember, "Dilution is the solution".

    Nonetheless, baking soda is useful on all most all electrolytes found in cells if it is on the ground or something like that.

    If you are exposed to a Li enhanced cell such as a 123 event, go to a TRAUMA WARD / BURN UNIT, not a "medical center", and insist on Calcium treatments for HF exposure.
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    Default Re: Electrolyte types ACID or BASE? Immediate care.

    There probably is a difference between having a tank of it splatter on you from a industrial accident, verses having touched a battery wrap :-)

    because we can assume there is some DEGREE of exposure, and that would effect a different need of treatments.

    http://www.emedicine.com/emerg/topic804.htm
    Last edited by VidPro; 06-28-2006 at 05:49 PM.

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    Default Re: Electrolyte types ACID or BASE? Immediate care.

    Yes, rinsing first will help prevent too much heat, but to be honest, if you've rinsed enough to make neutralising safe, or the contaminant is that weak anyway, then you might as well just rinse it off as it's not that much of a problem. Just don't leave it on to see what happens - even weakish acids, and particularly alkalis, will sneak up and surprise you.

    Plain soap and water is a good finish (after rinsing) for acid splashes - the soap is mildly alkali. Toothpast is alkali also, to neutralise the (weak) plaque acid.

    Neutralising an alkali can be done with vinegar (obvious), soda water or your choice of cola.

    As to metallic potassium, just shout and wave your hand about until it stops sizzling its way in and flies off - that's what I did. Now that one stings! Then, put the fires out that the fragments have started. Not with water!

    Cheers,
    Rick.
    Last edited by FoxyRick; 06-28-2006 at 05:54 PM.

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    Default Re: Electrolyte types ACID or BASE? Immediate care.

    so what exact chemistries is hydrofloric in? lithium primary or lithium ion?
    and is it oil based or solvent based?

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    Default Re: Electrolyte types ACID or BASE? Immediate care.

    A nimhy battery exploded, i grab the wrap and toss in into the sink, what did i just get on my hands , fingers?

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    Default Re: Electrolyte types ACID or BASE? Immediate care.

    For skin, just remember, "Dilution is the solution".

    and loads of stuff diluting it is the immediate solution, but the skin also can hold or entrap things into it, a high concentration of lye for example was very slimey, and it did not just dilute away so magically as one would think.
    at the time the vinagar was much more refreshing than the lye :-)
    but then that is why the thread question.

    and ya know the skin has oil on it too. what happens when a dryer acid gets in the oils? or like PCBs from a exploding PG&E transformer, i head that stuff is kinda oil based.
    Last edited by VidPro; 06-28-2006 at 06:07 PM.

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    Default Re: Electrolyte types ACID or BASE? Immediate care.

    Quote Originally Posted by VidPro
    Yes, that's the stuff. But the author is very wrong on one point:

    "Hydrofluoric (HF) acid, one of the strongest inorganic acids"

    No, it's a weak acid. HCl, HNO3 and H2SO4 are all much stronger. Bet then, he is an MD, not a chemist. The medical info is sound.

    Pure HF gas is a different matter, off the pH scale. HF (gas) mixed with sulphur trioxide and antimony pentafluoride gives an acid so strong it's about -15 equivalent pH!!!

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    Default Re: Electrolyte types ACID or BASE? Immediate care.

    are there any oil based or oily solvent based things in any of these common battery chemistires?
    if its some evil stuff in an oil or a solvent that dries out and leave an oiley base, rincing with just water is going to be ineffective.
    CAN acids get into skin oils?

    does the oil ever have to be removed to remove the burning stuff?
    of course with soap on an acid that would cover it as discussed.

    so take the alkaline batt, can its acid solvent into oils? it is in some sort of goop, is that goop oiley?
    (i mean its bases of course)
    Last edited by VidPro; 06-28-2006 at 07:00 PM.

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    Default Re: Electrolyte types ACID or BASE? Immediate care.

    go to a TRAUMA WARD / BURN UNIT, not a "medical center", and insist on Calcium treatments for HF exposure.

    ok, so lets take this for another example, your out backpacking in the sierras, about 3 hours from any trama ward or burn unit, ya cant just stand there and rot :-)
    if you have some knowlege of what to do, it might be more usefull than the helicopter trip 4 hours later.

    or again, simple exposure, which is what a lot of it will be, not a vat of it.
    your cell phone just shorted out and splaters your ear, with what?
    Last edited by VidPro; 06-28-2006 at 06:28 PM.

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    Default Re: Electrolyte types ACID or BASE? Immediate care.

    "Ever added water to concentrated sulphuric acid? I have, to prove to students that it causes flash boiling, spitting boiling acid everywhere."

    well yes i have seen some nutcase put some pure form of some acid in the palm of his hand to prove that it needed water , or some stupid thing.
    so the concentration of the acid is important, we have known items that we are constantlly dealing with, in known packages, in known mixes with other items. which might bring up its charged or discharged state also.

    so what are the concentrations? we kinda know that in a wet cell the water is there already. (some web page says 60% water in car batts)

    because the items of fear are known what the component dangers are , we can either discuss how it is in a pitri dish, or we can cover the battery itself instead.
    in other words we can know what the fear of lithium is, and what the fear of HF is, but what actually we have combined in what package is what were supposed to be all worried about.
    if were going to get all worried about the battery, its just best to know how to deal with the battery itself, not the seperate components that are not seperate..

    kinda like not worrying about potasium nitrate , and aluminum dust, but how you deal with it once its combined. :-)
    Last edited by VidPro; 06-28-2006 at 08:44 PM.

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    Default Re: Electrolyte types ACID or BASE? Immediate care.

    When a battery with HF in it explodes, how much HF goes into the air? what items are burned? and when say the lithium coated wrap burns, what happens to the HF? is there any chemical conversion of HF when the heat hits the components?

    because a li-poly type battery goes to fire, what is the components then?
    when a ni-mhy blows up it seems to be just from expanding gasses (and improper vents) not much has changed due to fire, because the fire seems to be from the short that occurs after, not the battery items burning up.

    all that kinda stuff might be important.

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    Default Re: Electrolyte types ACID or BASE? Immediate care.

    Wow VidPro. Lots of unanswered questions. I would like to know the answer to many of them as well.

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    Default Re: Electrolyte types ACID or BASE? Immediate care.

    Car battery acid is about 1/3 sulphuric acid. Still strong enough to need washing off rapidly, but I've had it on my hands for a while without noticable effect. Depends how tough your skin is, I suppose.

    I wouldn't trust the 'put a drop on your skin' because it needs water - your skin has enough water in it.

    I can't see much use for oils in cells, not saying they can't have oil, but I doubt it. Gels are the problem. Sticks just like napalm, and if it's alkali, it will be rapidly penetrating the oily surface of your skin and digging in. Lots of hot (not scalding!) water (very rapid flow is best to blast off the gel) and scrubbing with something, followed possibly by a dry absorbant like fuller's earth, then rinse well. Note that water is generally the solvent of choice. It's unlikely that a normal person would have just the right organic solvent around, even if it was applicable.

    As to the chemical effects of acids/alkalis on skin:

    Acids
    Acids react with flesh causing a coagulation necrosis. This slows the progress of the acid into the flesh and so limits the penetration of the burn, although the surface and shallow-medium burns it causes can be*very* nasty. Scarring is usually permanent and large burns are disfiguring. Some acids are also very strong oxidisers (phosphoric, nitric) and this has auxilliary effects, but these are unlikely to be seen here.

    Alkalis
    First, an alkali is a water-soluble base. Alkalis react with fats and oils in flesh, making basic soap. That's why a little dilute caustic soda feels soapy. This aids the penetration of the alkali into the flesh, resulting in much deeper and more dangerous tissue damage than from acid. Especially at risk are mucal membranes and the eyes - significant eye contamination will almost certainly lead to permanent eye damage, maybe blindness.


    Take a look here for some example burns and bits of information:

    http://www.burnsurgery.com/Modules/i...mgmt/sec_6.htm

    Note that the burns develop over time; what initially might not seem too serious (I've washed it off, I'll be OK, no need for medical help) can develop into a disfiguring burn a day later. It's like a heat burn - you need to run it under water for at least 20 minutes, not just 2 or 3. In fact, it's worse than that. Electrical burns are fun too, they cause hidden burn channels in the flesh - I've had a few of those as well.


    Lastly, I would be interested in exactly which cells use fluorine compounds???

    Rick.
    Last edited by FoxyRick; 06-29-2006 at 04:59 AM.

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    Default Re: Electrolyte types ACID or BASE? Immediate care.

    A lot of needless scares here.

    Short of getting them in the eyes, battery fluids aren't that bad. Spilling a pan of boiling water on yourself is far more dangerous, because THAT will inflict an immediate burn to a large area of your body.

    Car battery acid is dilute sulfuric acid. Wash adequately. Rub baking soda into affected area. Wash more.

    Alkaline, NiMH and NiCd use KOH and the properties are similar to a liquid drain cleaner. The slimey feeling goes away pretty quick if you splash some vinegar on affected area as you wash.

    Really nothing to worry about unless you get it all over your body and not shower until six hours later. If you just get a few drops on your body, simple washing will do.

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    Default Re: Electrolyte types ACID or BASE? Immediate care.

    Quote Originally Posted by Handlobraesing
    A lot of needless scares here.
    Yes, I agree in the context of cells. The concentrations and quantities likely to be encountered are low risk to normal skin if washed off in good time. Not including metallic lithium or HF (if it is encountered???).

    I just get a bit twitchy when I hear the 'neutralise it' bit. Taken out of this context and into a more serious one (toilet unblocker/conc. NaOH, conc. sulphuric used for brick washing etc) and there would be problems. Frankly, if it's safe to neutralise, it only needs a good wash anyway.

    I did once manage to get some fluid from a leaky Duracell alkaline AA (my wife mistakenly put it in a charger!) in my mouth (don't ask). My tongue immediately had a sharp, stinging sensation. I rinsed it very quickly (a few seconds) but the stinging continued for about 12 hours. Like a wasp sting level of pain.

    So, don't lick the leaky cells folks!

    It would still be an interesting excercise to list the chemicals used in various cells and their discharge reactants.

    Rick.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Electrolyte types ACID or BASE? Immediate care.

    Let's make it clear:

    HF acid is not present in any consumer battery chemistry. HF acid is a byproduct of LiMnO2 thermal decomposition (and maybe Li-Ion thermal decomposition, I'm not sure). It is not present in the battery.

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    Default Re: Electrolyte types ACID or BASE? Immediate care.

    My understanding is that HF or a similar material which behaves closely enough to HF (such as an organo fluoro compound) is released when a CR 123 primary Li cell fails.

    In the event that this happens, and you are on a backpacking trip in the middle of nowhere not close to medical aid, what should one do - that is the question.

    The challenge with HF is that regardless of its ionization constant, it rapidly penetrates the flesh and attacks metal containing material in your body. Examples, Bone, blood, muscle. Since it ionizes slowly, the damage takes a while to show up, unlike our trusty friend, Mr. H2SO4 which makes its presence known right away.

    Not being a physician, but having some experience with HF exposure, I checked with www.webmd.com, typed in "HF exposure" and it linked me to

    http://www.calgonate.com/ who make a treatment of Calcium Gluconate which is widely used by technicians who might have HF exposure. I called the number, and they sell the 25 gram tubes in a minimum 3 tube set for $ 27 / tube plus shipping.

    In large qty, they price is $ 22 / tube plus free shipping.

    AFAIK, this is the same treatment which would be offered in a well equipped burn unit, with the possible additional treatment with an injected version.

    Looks like a possible group buy idea.
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    Default Re: Electrolyte types ACID or BASE? Immediate care.

    Vitamin grade Calcium Gluconate, less than $4/8oz.
    http://www.vitaglo.com/1250.html

    But do you know what to do with it? How close is a paste of powder
    and water to the Calgonate 2.5% "Gel"? Can you make a gel? If you
    have thermal burns from your burst battery in addition to potential
    HF exposure, is it still safe to apply the gluconate? How much HF
    does a burning Li cell make, anyway? Enough to worry about? Enough
    to worry about if you're not "obviously exposed" (say you're arm catches
    some of the smoke... Problem or not?)

    You can apparently eat Calcium Gluconate teaspoons at a time as a
    calcium supplement. Does that have any value?

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    Default Re: Electrolyte types ACID or BASE? Immediate care.

    Hi BillW - That is an excellent find, assuming it really is the same stuff.

    If I had some of that sitting around, I certainly would use it in the water / powder paste form, rather than do nothing, that is for sure.

    If you can take it as a vitamin supplement, it must have fairly low toxicity.

    I am pretty sure the goal is to have the HF absorbed by the calicium in the "ointment / paste" rather than your bone. What is unclear to me is if the penetration into the skin is the same, in other words, does the ointment enhance the skin penetration ? No idea on my side.

    As far as "is it an issue" - check on some recent threads by Lunar Module" and read the first 50 replies.
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    Default Re: Electrolyte types ACID or BASE? Immediate care.

    Quote Originally Posted by FoxyRick
    Yes, I agree in the context of cells. The concentrations and quantities likely to be encountered are low risk to normal skin if washed off in good time. Not including metallic lithium or HF (if it is encountered???).

    It would still be an interesting excercise to list the chemicals used in various cells and their discharge reactants.

    Rick.
    The design is: anode (Li or carbon-Li intercalation compound)/conducting polymer electrolyte-separator/cathode (LiCoO2 or LiMn2O4)

    Typical reaction:

    Anode: carbon-Li(x) - xLi+ - xe−
    Separator: Li+ conduction
    Cathode: Li(1-x)CoO2 + xLi+ + xe−

    Polymer electrolyte/separator can be real solid polymer (polyethyleneoxide, PEO) +LiPF6


    MSDS:
    Thermal degradation may produce hazardous fumes of manganese and lithium; hydrofluoric acid; oxides of carbon and sulfur and other toxic by-products.

    Manganese Dioxide (1313-13-9) 30-45%
    1,2-Dimethoxyethane (110-71-4) 5-10%
    Propylene Carbonate (108-32-7) 1-10%
    Lithium (7439-93-2) 1-5%
    Carbon Black (1333-86-4) 1-5%
    Lithium Trifluoromethane Sulfonate 1-5%
    Ethylene Carbonate (96-49-1) 0-5%

    See MSDS:
    http://www.duracell.com/oem/safety/pdf/2003_9.pdf


    Energizer Primary:
    Carbon Black (CAS# 1333-86-4) 0-1 %
    Manganese Dioxide (CAS# 1313-13-9) 12-42%
    Propylene Carbonate (CAS# 108-32-7) 0-8%
    1,2-Dimethoxyethane (CAS# 110-71-4) 0-6%
    1,3-Dioxolane (CAS# 646-06-0) 0-8%
    Graphite (CAS# 7782-42-5) 0-3 %
    Manganese Dioxide (CAS# 1313-13-9) 12-42%
    Propylene Carbonate (CAS# 108-32-7) 0-8%
    Lithium or Lithium Alloy (CAS# 7439-93-2) 1-6%
    Lithium Perchlorate (CAS# 7791-03-9) 0-3%
    Lithium Trifluoromethanesulfonate (CAS# 33454-82-9) 0-3%
    Lithium Trifluoromethanesulfonimide (CAS# 90076-65-6) 0-3%

    MSDS:
    http://data.energizer.com/PDFs/lithi...oxide_psds.pdf


    Energizer Lithium Ion:

    Acetylene Black (CAS# 1333-86-4) 0-2%
    Biphenyl (CAS# 92-52-4) 0-15%
    Diethyl Carbonate (CAS# 105-58-8) 0-15%
    Dimethyl Carbonate (CAS# 616-38-6) 0-15%
    Ethyl Methyl Carbonate (CAS# 623-53-0) 0-15%
    Ethylene Carbonate (CAS# 96-49-1) 0-15%
    Graphite (CAS# 7782-42-5) 7-22%
    Lithium Cobalt Oxide (CAS# 12190-79-3) 15-30%
    Lithium Hexafluorophosphate (CAS# 21324-40-3) 0-5%
    Lithium Tetrafluoroborate (CAS# 14283-07-9) 0-5%
    n-Methyl Pyrrolidinone (CAS# 872-50-4) 0-1%
    Oxalic Acid (CAS# 144-62-7) 0-1%
    Propylene Carbonate (CAS# 108-32-7) 0-15%

    Burning lithium ion batteries can produce toxic fumes including HF Acid, oxides of carbon, aluminum, lithium, copper, and cobalt. Volatile phosphorus pentafluoride may form at a temperature above 230° F.


    The most of the MSDS for the Lithium Primaries also warn of Hydrofloric Acid, Lithium Hydroxide, hazardous fumes of manganese and lithium, oxides of carbon and sulfur and other toxic by-products for burning/thermal degradation of the cells.


    We have already had one member who was hospitalized due to exposure from a combusted Lithium cell.

    Lunar Module's experience can be found, taken from his multiple posts over serveral days, here, see post #6:
    http://candlepowerforums.com/vb/show...2&page=1&pp=40


    Any other interesting by-products from a burning or venting cell?
    Last edited by NewBie; 07-01-2006 at 11:43 PM.

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    Default Re: Electrolyte types ACID or BASE? Immediate care.

    well and again we need to know the ammount of exposure.
    for example, there are some (few) people who work with HF in very low concentrations, and they dont know nothing about needing to counter its effects for the damage on bones.
    they are window cleaner spot removers, and they didnt mention it in thier seminar.

    there is phospheric acid in the shower power stuff, can you imagine standing in a shower nakid , and spraying your body with the mist of phospheric acid :-) umm, read the directions.

    i dont see any reason to have Very LOW (dilute) concentrations of the acids or bases in a battery that is trying to be high in power. so i would assume that even if the Ammount of Evil is small, the concentration of it is high.

    and hand to eye, would be one of the worst, when you get something IN your eye, the hand goes all by itself uncontrolled :-) up to the eye. if the hand has on it what your trying to take from the eye, then your destroying your eye, by trying to "fix" it.

    there are things we need to know, not guess and speculate. time to call the mythbusters, and have them give buster the once over, then have a lab analise the residue that landed in his balistic gell.
    do a swab of a exposed or burnt, or damaged cell, and see what your hand would aquire by touching it.
    blow a few up and anlise the air for what liquid partical splatters there are, and what is in the smoke there is so much of.
    so much chemical changes could be involved, including the reaction with plastic, the metal or the foils, it seems easier to analise what you got, than what you had.

    hey Mr. chemist, how about the most simple of reactions. what is actually in the smoke of a lithium and a magnesium burn? does oxides of the metal go into the air, without projectiling, umm without a launch vehicle, the can being the shell.
    Last edited by VidPro; 07-02-2006 at 01:42 AM.

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    Default Re: Electrolyte types ACID or BASE? Immediate care.

    Quote Originally Posted by Handlobraesing
    A lot of needless scares here.


    Alkaline, NiMH and NiCd use KOH and the properties are similar to a liquid drain cleaner. The slimey feeling goes away pretty quick if you splash some vinegar on affected area as you wash.
    see now i never knew what the evil was in a NI-??? i didnt know if it was acid or base. "alkaline" battery was a given, and Lead Acid , its named for its evils. we all know about Acid, and how fun eating lead paint can be. they teach us that stuff, for consumer awarenesses like its common knowlege. but how many people knew Ni-??? electrolyte was base?
    (mabey just me : -)

    We need to realise just how much we have already had to know about the life we live, that we learned without thinking that we learned it.
    there are tons of things that we dont screw up daily, because it was taught to us. if we back think all the stuff we have learned, we could recall all that we know. and (for example) how impossible it is to child proof things in todays world.
    Last edited by VidPro; 07-02-2006 at 02:55 PM.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Electrolyte types ACID or BASE? Immediate care.

    worked at a production plating shop for 3+ years. We routinely used reagent strength acids and alki. Would delute down to working strength. depending upon needs would mutiply acid strength by methods, I'd rather not post. let's just say it produces angry belowing orange clouds...

    Chemicals dealt with daily included Nitric acid, Hydrochloric acid, Sulfuric acid, along with a host of other chemicals I'd rather not list.

    Hydrofluoric acid was used sparingly and very_carefully handled with gloves.

    We kept 40 gal barrels of clean running water all over for rinising. nitric acid on your skin starts to burn pretty quick.

    the best all around solvent is water... seems chemicals in batteries may contain exceptions.

    http://finance.tamu.edu/ehsd/resourc...al/13-CHEM.HTM

    http://www.emedicine.com/emerg/topic804.htm

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Electrolyte types ACID or BASE? Immediate care.

    With all due respect to the chemists, medical personnel and professionals at handling dangerous substances here...... What I relate below are my own actual experiences in using and abusing many of the aforementioned chemicals.

    The tales related should in no way be considered recommendations, scientific fact or even a suggestion. CPF, its sponsors, management nor even your humble author should not be held liable or responsible should anyone decide to use or abuse any of the substances mentioned, or to not seek emergency medical attention should they be exposed to them.

    I relate the following merely to share my own, actual, personal, past experiences and perhaps prevent panic should the readers accidentally face similar exposures.

    Take all of the following with a grain of salt.... I'm apparently not really fully human, therefore your personal experience will probably be different and quite horrible

    Nonetheless:

    I've worked extensively (in the real world, often outside of properly equipped laboratories and often lacking even the most basic safety precautions.) with concentrated Hydrofluoric acid, concentrated Nitric acid, concentrated Sulphuric acid, concentrated Hydrochloric acid, Mercury metal, Mercury 'salts', Sodium Cyanide, Potasium Cyanide, and other really nasty stuff.

    And like an idiot, I've often been pretty careless with nearly all of it.... (Familiarity breeds contempt, especially when you are mentally defective in the first place. )......

    (You ain't lived until you have nearly died from a case of mercury vapor poisoning AND Cyanide (ingestion... some halfway spent cyanide splashed in my mouth, and I swallowed some of it.) poisoning at the same time..... I was alone, out in the middle of nowhere, refining gold and silver through various processes, 300 miles from the nearest crude medical facility and no way to get there.... For a while I expected to die, and for a while I was worried I wouldn't die..... That was the worst experience... for about four days my entire body hurt worse than anything short of every bone being broken, and nearly teeth nearly fell out from the mercury.)

    Fortunately, a week later, I was capable of functioning and two weeks later, I was apparently fully recovered..... God (Or ) must have decided he didn't want me yet.

    Of all those nasty things, even with all my bad, STUPID experiences, the only ones mentioned that worry me still are Hydrofluoric acid and Lye (Potassium hydroxide). I've always been careful with lye and never had it effect me, but I know what it can do and how quickly it does it because I had an adult friend when I was a kid get his hands and part of his face badly burned with some misused Drano, and just the sight of his hands and cheek a month or so later scared the crap out of me..

    The main thing that scares me about hydrofluoric acid is its effect on your lungs..... The vapor reacts with the natural moisture there and a minimal breathing exposure can leave you short of breath for months, and a really bad case can literally eat you up from the inside out.... I worked with it in 55 gallon drums, about 10 gallons out in open vats at a time, and always used a gas mask rated for use with HF when using it indoors.

    Nonetheless, I've had a little exposure to the vapor and a moderate amount of skin exposure to the liquid more than once. We always slathered a paste made of crushed calcium gluconate tablets and glycerine (both available in just about any halfway decent drugstore) on skin exposures and it seems to have worked.. I don't even have any scars or recurring eruptions. Definitely, definitely use rubber gloves, goggles, long sleeve shirts etc. when messing with any hydroflouric acid (or the more gentle but still nasty bifluoride compounds) and a HF approved gas mask if you are using more than a couple ounces at a time.

    Not that I recommend it to you real humans, but the exposure to to the very minor amounts of HF from messing with LiIon is not something that I'd personally get overly concerned about. Just being aware that some small amount might be generated and that even a small amount could possibly cause short term, or even long term problems.... but the odds are pretty good that it won't be something serious.

    Nitric acid...
    I've had direct skin exposure to it many times, inhaled the vapor all too often..... over exposure to the skin kind of tickles/itches. The vapor makes me cough, really concentrated vapor has made me retch and have to run out into fresh air. My main complaint about being stupid with Nitric acid is that it takes a week or so for the yellow stains it leaves on your skin to fade, and a few days for my lungs to get back to about normal from overexposure to the vapor..... but Silver Nitrate is much worse.... It turns your skin a deep purple that takes weeks to wear off.... (but I did eventually learn an 'ancient secret' that will take off silver nitrate stains quite well and quite simply.... Should you ever need to learn this 'secret' PM me.)

    The main thing to worry about nitric acid... a lot of compounds you may accidentally make while misusing it can be very sensitive explosives.

    The closest I have come to death with Nitric acid is when my wife nearly killed me for sticking a beaker of about 30% Nitric acid soultion ( with a dash of hydrochloric to speed the reaction) in the microwave to heat it up a bit to dissolve some copper encased in glass, and I forgot it was 'on', got sidetracked outside and fogged up the whole dang house house with a very acrid smoke/vapor/gas.

    Hydrochloric acid..... On the skin, it can get kind of 'tingly'... The main danger is that if you breathe the concentrated vapor in a closed space it can kill you Or if it reacts with something else and produces one of the many very deadly chlorine compound gasses...... But if it doesn't kill you right off, you will probably get over it in a few days.

    Sulphuric acid:
    It eats 'organics" .... You are organic.... If you keep your hand in a vat of it it will eventually eat your skin, muscle and bones...... But you will get bored LONG before it does major damage. The vapor is not particularly poisonous... But it can kill you by displacing oxygen and essentially smothering you. Short exposures of say 50% solution of it on my skin, it just gets kind of itchy.

    The main long lasting effects of sulfuric acid that I have experienced is holes eaten in my clothes the next time I put them on.

    With most acids (outside of hydrocyannic (prussic) acid) , it isn't actually that the vapors are poisonous in of themselves, especially in the short term; it is that they can 'exclude' oxygen to the point that there is nothing to breathe, or they merely irritate your lungs to the point that you cough yourself to death.

    Cyanide: It can be absorbed through the skin and kill you, but it takes more exposure than one would imagine. Ingestion of a moderate amount will kill you in a quite unpleasant manner. The biggest danger is that you get a little acid (nearly any kind, including household vinegar) on it and produce hydrogen fluoride gas. (prussic acid) It doesn't take much of that in a closed space to kill you instantly. That is how the old 'gas chambers' worked, and an old NKVD/KGB assasination device was just a rubber bulb filled with a little prussic acid. That simple little device has killed several people, including a few very significant people, quite quickly and quietly.

    Other than that, just be reasonably careful. It also makes an excellent fertilizer..(ask me how I know about this particular side effect sometime).. (although I don't know as I'd care to eat any crops raised with a cyanide fertalizer .

    Mercury:
    The metal itself is MUCH less dangerous than most people believe. The vapor can do major damage, but that is quite rare. Ingestion of mercury 'salts' ( compounds like mercury chloride) or some organic mercury compounds can cause permanent brain damage.


    Generally flushing with lots of cool water will prevent major damage with short, partial exposure. Yes, the reaction with lye and water is what causes the burns from lye...... But lots and lots of water is better than nothing or anything else that 'normal' people will have available..... Just be sure to wash it OFF and AWAY... Not 'in'.

    In general, the above experiences are with the 'stuff' at somewhere around room temperature.... usually, elevated temperatures will increase the 'negative effects'. Many of the substances will cause blindness if you get a significant amount in your eye(s).

    Also, a lot of them are much more harmful in 'mucous membranes' than on regular skin, so ingestion or inhalation is usually much worse than skin exposure.

    Don't try this at home. God protects fools (and drunkards)... That probably is the only reason that that I'm not dead or maimed. I fully expected to be walking down the street one day and just dissolve into a noxious puddle of goo prior to turning 40... So far I have avoided that fate by 15 years.

    Get yourself to an emergency room if you are exposed to any of this stuff (or any of a myriad of other things). Just because I'm regularly an idiot about that kind of stuff is no reason for you to be.

    But by the same token.... there is probably no reason to panic if you do get a minor exposure to something nasty or live in fear that your neighbor is as idiotic as me. There is a good chance you will survive things that media hype, urban legend and things that even the real, true professionals will tell you are very dangerous with even a slight exposure.

  28. #28
    *Retired* NewBie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Electrolyte types ACID or BASE? Immediate care.

    The actual experience of one of our own, who was exposed to a venting 123 Lithium Primary cell:

    In case you don't feel the heed to visit the doctor immediately, read the experiences of one of our very own CPF'ers:

    Quote Originally Posted by Lunarmodule
    Unfortunately there is a darker side to this, I am finding out now. It appears I have absorbed some toxic materials through breathing and through the blood from the cuts. I slept most of the day, but awoke to overwhelming nausea and repeated vomiting. Ive got a strange rash covering both arms and most of my legs. I went to the after hours clinic and preliminary bloodwork showed some strange liver enzyme levels, one three times higher than the normal high range. The cuts, about a dozen of them, have all sealed up but are black compared to the reddened tissue surrounding them. Right after the incident, I flushed the cuts repeatedly with peroxide and removed the glass with tweezers. Then a bunch of Neosporin and a bandage. The doctor at the clinic repeated the same standard disinfection regieme, but is curious about the possibility of poisioning, thankfully low level. I went home and felt relieved, until I got home and vomiting started again, much worse than before. I followed SilverFox's advice and moved everything outside. I will find out later today what the other blood sample reveals. I need to find an MSDS type sheet for these cells, what compounds specifically may have entered my system. I feel terrible, like a bad case of the flu without a fever. The doc said there was nothing more to do besides keep changing bandages and disinfecting, watch and wait. I keep looking at my arms, which are completely covered in angry little red bumps, like measles. The doc indicated the liver enzyme results suggest the body is working full tilt to neutralize the toxins. He said as I suspected the rash is an allergic reaction to the foreign materials. Cheers to those CPFers that mentioned the bit about glass powder and residue. Clearly I shrugged off the significance of the acrid smoke too quickly.

    I was going to rebuild the light, but for the time being until I feel normal again I dont want to go within 100 feet of that smell again (yeck!) If Kevin of batterystation wants the parts or someone else please drop me an email and let me know.

    A little later:

    Quote Originally Posted by Lunarmodule
    An update: Intrepid CPFer InFLux and all around nice fellow called me at home around noontime and I was feeling much better. Very nice, checking on my condition, which is not very serious thankfully.

    I felt better until I got off the phone with the hospital that did the blood analysis. The doctor I saw yesterday referred my results to a toxicologist that confirms significant hydroflouric acid poisioning. Huge thanks to the CPFers that gave me the links for the MSDS sheets on the batteries. Finally my secondary exposure symptoms jibe with what I have read. Worst is the nausea and vomiting, which are at bay for now, and today I managed normal meals, OK. There is tissue necrosis (dead stuff) at the laceration sites, explaining the black color of the cuts. At higher inhaled concentrations complete shutdown of cardiovascular organs can happen with a delayed onset. The VERY good news is the exposure is relatively small, but significant enough to cause the nasty GI symptoms, skyrocketed liver enzyme numbers, and skin rash. Some friends came by at various times during the day and poked some fun at my appearance, the skin rash covering most of my extremeties resembles a childhood case of measles. It helps to laugh about it, the worst is definitely over. It seems to be clearing, I was going to head to the ocean for a swim but dont have the energy quite yet. The toxicologist advised lots of hydration and rest, easy enough. Apparently the hydroflouric acid released in gaseous form upon combustion is extremely damaging, and is particularly nasty in that the serious exposure symptoms have a very delayed onset as the radical free flourine disassociates from the acid form and wreaks its havoc on various systems. So on top of being the lithium exposion test pilot I get to be the hydroflouric acid guinea pig too! Reiterate thanks to all those wishing me well.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lunarmodule
    Tremendous thanks to Nubo and Diesel bomber for providing HF toxicity links and MSDS info. Very timely and VERY helpful!!!
    06-09-2006, 11:11 AM, Two days later:

    Quote Originally Posted by Lunarmodule
    SilverFox and others have posted about the stuff from the combusted batteries being "real bad" for you in plain English. They are quite right. Moreso than I imagined. To relay my real world experience with this: even a SMALL amount of the gray gas expelled from the batteries during combustion inhaled can do significant DELAYED ONSET damage. I read about Icebreak and Bill Waites trying to replicate the failure, and I applaud their courageous and determined spirit, however I cannot stress highly enough that one should overexaggerate the danger of the fumes and wet char residue, which I handled with bare hands (no choice). This is not mamby-pamby MSDS Chicken Little the Sky is Falling scary sounding rhetoric... an MSDS would have you believe a car wash solution is so dangerous to handle you might want to invest in a full blown Hazmat suit in order to wash your car. They typically refer to catastrophic spills of material or somesuch. In the case of these batteries, I was shocked to discover almost all the MSDS was devoted to minimal discussion of how to deal with burned/burning batteries. There was a clear trend of disclaimer-ism: "in normal use the compounds contained within the metal can of the battery cannot come in contact with the user and thus are not subject to special handling precautions. There is a BRIEF mention of some of the potential decomposition byproducts of combustion, but the annoying phrase repeats saying this would only be applicable for abuse or disaster scenarios. That could stand revision. And to Bill Waites, PLEASE be super careful. You mentioned "fire is OK, an explosion is not....." in an earlier post. Well, what is happening or rather what did happen to me is the rapid venting was an out of control reaction producing large amounts of hydrogen. I recall that moment in high school chemistry of tossing a chunk of cryogenic sodium metal into a bath of water, it oxidized violently and liberated prodigious H2 (hydrogen) which eventually ignited from the intense heat of the vigorous reaction. Lots of bubbling, and a giant KaBOOM! as a climax. Strikingly similar to what occurred with the cells. The rapid venting (and I cannot emphasize this enough) is the only early warning sign but by itself is the true menace and real demon in this process. The hydrofluoric acid in this gaseous emission is horrifically toxic, I radically underestimated its impact on me, tricked by the delayed onset nature of the symptoms of its poisioning. I've turned the corner and improving, but I feel worse than when it first happened. I didnt sleep at all last night, threw up twice, and sweat so much I showered three times. I've got to get more rest, but the leg burns, I feel nauseated, and I'm still looking like a measles poster child. Nothing to do but wait it out. I can pass along to others that if you are exposed to a scenario of gray haze/smoke jetting from the battery, get yourself to a source of fresh air as fast as possible, and keep anyone else as far away as possible. Under no circumstances should you breathe ANY of the fumes if it can be avoided. In retrospect I should have gone outside instead of typing for 20 minutes in the same room with the evil haze. AVOID THIS STUFF AT ALL COSTS. There is nothing but a respirator, or better bottled air to cope with these fumes, they are more dangerous than I thought possible. BIll, I urge you to be extremely cautious if you insist on trying to induce this failure. If you manage a high pressure cell venting, the explosion is almost certain, as the cell vent exists to stop a runaway reaction. But the greatest danger is the chemical nastiness you can breathe. That needs to be emphasized in the MSDS sheets. And made common knowledge here. More than typical common sense suggests, take extra precautions to avoid any exposure to the fumes of burning batteries.

    Im feeling wiped out again, a lot of typing. Going to lay down for a while. Thanks again for everyone's support.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lunarmodule
    Phone rings. Again. The toxicologist from Queen's Hospital asking questions. They want me to go back in. At least for more blood. I hate that part the most. I just now read StoneDog's post and feel terrible. Its not fun, but what I've got is minor and nothing compared to what could have happened if I fell asleep reading with that light on. Jon, I dont believe you did anything negligent and there is no WAY I could have forseen this, much less you, so dont worry. Be grateful as I am that there is only minor damage to me and surroundings. The scary part is the chemical toxicity of what I interpreted to be a very slight exposure.

    Please do not underestimate the danger of the byproducts of an exploded/vented Lithium 123 Primary, and see the doctor
    Last edited by NewBie; 07-02-2006 at 07:59 AM. Reason: fix quotes

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Electrolyte types ACID or BASE? Immediate care.

    Silveron, lots of good first hand experiences, I see...
    brings back memories of dealing with all sorts of acids/chemicals.

    had forgotten nitric acid will leave a yellow stain in your skin. only folks that have tasted cynide will know what it taste like

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Electrolyte types ACID or BASE? Immediate care.

    you know i have said before, and think its appropriate.
    you can put gunpowder on the table and light it it just fissles.
    you put gunpowder in a can and it increases the reaction speed, and untill the can opens the can becomes the containment.
    then you put the can in a tube (we will call it a gun) and the burn speed is very fast, and you have adequite projectiles.
    or put the gunpowder in a pipe, and close off both ends, and have a bomb

    could the same thing be true with a flashlight.
    burn a li-poly (bagged cell) and it flames, whoosh.
    burn a canned cell and it poofs, exploding the can, untill at least the top pops.
    burn a canned cell inside of a sealed pipe, and . . . .

    when we go nuts to make sure that there is massive metal around the battery, and that the ends are sealed as tight as a pipe bomb, and there is a nice projectile at the end of it. are we defeating ourselves?

    if the Tube (lets call it) is strong enough, and the threads are weak enough, you have a gun.
    if the tube is weak, and the threads are strong you have a grenade
    if the whole thing is a piece of open plastic junk with no can (cell phone) , then you stick it on your ear,which millions do.
    put it in a sealed pipe, then stick it next to your privates. or aim it at your face to see if its on.
    or point it at others , to "help" them.

    just seems that unsealed plastic lights, with li-poly, would be the cheapest of all, would have the least available force possible. so when we say, how come everybody HERE is the guinney pig. well because you are not cheapskates :-)

    would a light be any less waterproof, with a thin like rubber endcap, like a mag lights switch cover. waterproof , but it would releace immediatally on pressure. the metal stops the expansion because its strong enough, the rubber releaces the gasses the flame and the goop.
    might solve the rocket and gun problem. scratch that, solves the gun creates a rocket. then if its still in a can, you have the can base as a projectile.

    the other issue might be, related to reverse charging, a SINGLE cell light is not prone to reverse charging. a Cheap curcuit that does not suck a (or both) battery dry to its last drop, does not make dead batteries, and as much reverse charging.

    all these thing are Features , but being a cheapskate, i have justified that they are features i can do without. so few of my lights are incapable of releacing fast expanding gasses, and few of them use 2 cells, and few of them suck a battery dry.
    Last edited by VidPro; 07-02-2006 at 03:36 PM.

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