Tuesday December 1, 2009 - Vol. VIII Issue 12

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Technically Speaking
Oleum, Sulfur Trioxide, and Sulfuric Acid
By Dr. John Nordin, PhD

These three very corrosive chemicals are closely related. Oleum is cloudy, oily, fuming liquid or sometimes a solid which releases sulfur trioxide in contact with air as in a spill. This sulfur trioxide reacts quickly with any air moisture producing a fine sulfuric acid mist. Inhalation at low concentrations for a short period irritates the nose, throat, and lungs. Prolonged exposure or higher concentrations causes a burning sensation, coughing, gagging, chest pain, fluid in lungs, and possible suffocation and death. The effects of inhalation may be delayed. The mist also severely irritates eyes and skin.

We will look at these chemicals, its uses, and examine several accidents involving oleum spills. Oleum spills are very dangerous because chemical contact can “suck” the water out of organic materials leaving a black char generating a lot of heat and possibly resulting in fire. If water is sprayed on the chemical, a sulfuric acid mist will likely be formed which is difficult to control and dangerous to inhale.(FULL STORY)

Seriously Speaking

Just What the Doctor Ordered
More great humor to get you through the month. (FULL STORY)

Photo Corner
Late Season in the Snowy Range (FULL STORY)


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