Blog Image

A few low rumbles.

About the blog

The blog is generally for friends to share what I have been getting up to but also for the public if there is anything of interest.

The website main page is located at:

I think ‘He’ is angry with me?

Science Posted on 25 Feb, 2012 17:57:50

Whoops 😛

My latest batch of purple…

Science Posted on 16 Feb, 2012 11:44:33

Dear All,

After spending nearly an hour cutting up a big lump of sodium into tiny little pieces with a scalpel I found it was surprisingly had work. I had to be very careful that the sweat gathering on my brow did not land into the beaker of highly reactive sodium metal and flammable solvent. You can probably guess the result if it did, – sodium goes nuts, ignites the solvent, I wave goodbye to my eyebrows. I suppose this is always a risk with chemistry.

I was wondering, is it acceptable to to wear a sweatband around my forehead for safety reasons along with my labcoat, gloves and goggles or do you reckon that’ll get me sectioned? I’m not scared of the fashion police anyway!

So I made some nice deep purple, as you can see, He is watching over it for me.

Warning! Stop reading here if you’re not a geek….
(Who am I kidding, if you got this far you ARE a geek!)

What I’m doing here is step B in the diagram below:

Yesterday I took DCPD (dicyclopentadiene) which is the thing on the far left and split it down into two parts (CPD, cyclopentadiene) by heating it to 180C and collecting the lower boiling point CPD via a distillation. This is because the single CPD reacts faster in todays step. This step is an equilibrium, the CPD will turn back into DCPD if left unattended at room temperature.

The CPD is mixed with sodium metal which reduces it (forces it to have an extra electron) and this forms the blue/red sodium cyclopentadienyl complex. This is extremely air sensitive so the whole lot has to be kept under pure nitrogen via the black tube (AKA His Noodly appendage).

Tomorrow I bubble carbon dioxide through this mixture which gets attacked by the negative charge on the complex and then reforms the two component ‘DIMER’ complete with COOH groups on each end.