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Paging all chemistry experts: how can I tell if it's N2 or Air?
Posted by: space-time
Date: June 21, 2011 08:16AM
I have this line in the lab which was N2. They did some work and re-labeled it with "Oil Free Compressed Dry Air", but they didn't remove the Nitrogen label. Whan I asked WTF is this, they removed the CDA label and told me it's N2. I don't trust them and I want to check, without climbing in the ceiling to check where the line is really connected. Even then I can't be 100% sure.

if this were another place I would burn a candle and see if it burns, it should NOT if this is indeed N2. I cannot burn a candle here, I would set up fire alarms. I could force one of my less friendly co-workers breathe this stuff and see if they pass out. But I am looking into some non arson, non violent methods.

any ideas?

Thanks
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Re: Paging all chemistry experts: how can I tell if it's N2 or Air?
Posted by: MikeF
Date: June 21, 2011 08:22AM
Second method:
[www.ehow.com]
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Re: Paging all chemistry experts: how can I tell if it's N2 or Air?
Posted by: BernDog
Date: June 21, 2011 08:27AM
Does it smell all nitrogeny?

Sorry.
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Re: Paging all chemistry experts: how can I tell if it's N2 or Air?
Posted by: Paul F.
Date: June 21, 2011 08:28AM
A CANDLE would set off the fire alarms? Those are some serious fire alarms!
Even a little tiny birthday cake candle?

The only other thing i can think of is if the coefficient of thermal expansion is significanly different, fill a balloon, and put it in the freezer for a while and measure it... But i don't know if if the difference between N2 and air would be measurable in any reasonable manner.



Paul F.
-----
A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer's hand. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca c. 5 BC - 65 AD
----
Good is the enemy of Excellent. Talent is not necessary for Excellence.
Persistence is necessary for Excellence. And Persistence is a Decision.

--

--

--
Eureka, CA
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Re: Paging all chemistry experts: how can I tell if it's N2 or Air?
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: June 21, 2011 08:31AM
Politely ask the facility manager to correct the problem. Recommend that he fill a large plastic bag with the gas, then stick his head in there and see if he can breathe. If he is not willing to do that, ask him to re-inspect and certify.. IN WRITING... what the gas is.

Ain't your responsibility (probably). You found a defect, make the idiots fix it.

One of the project test requirements for the water processing system in the international space station was that the Project Manager had to drink a liter of the end product.. which was reprocessed urine. I always thought that was a damn clever requirement. Someone in NASA had a hell of a sense of humor.
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Re: Paging all chemistry experts: how can I tell if it's N2 or Air?
Posted by: haikuman
Date: June 21, 2011 08:34AM
As your Dr and 6'13" Samoan Attorney I advise you to have it replaced with Nitrous Oxide/N2O Then you will know the difference *(:>*



“Stay Hungry Stay Foolish"
Steve Jobs

"There are only two mantras yum and yuk mine is yum "
Bernard Mickey Wrangle<>Tom Robbins<> "Still Life With Woodpecker"

"There is a fine line between a rut and a groove"
G.D. Kittredge III

"


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Re: Paging all chemistry experts: how can I tell if it's N2 or Air?
Posted by: space-time
Date: June 21, 2011 08:37AM
Quote
Paul F.
A CANDLE would set off the fire alarms? Those are some serious fire alarms!
Even a little tiny birthday cake candle?
...

I don't want ot take any chances. Evacuate 100+ people,shut down production, fine from fire marshal.... I would be in serious trouble.

I am gonna run along hose outside the facility and do experiments outside smiling smiley
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Re: Paging all chemistry experts: how can I tell if it's N2 or Air?
Posted by: haikuman
Date: June 21, 2011 08:41AM
"""I am gonna run along hose outside the facility and do experiments outside """

Yikersss ~!~!~!~ High PSI colonic irrigation... you are a very sic man *(:>*

Rudie



“Stay Hungry Stay Foolish"
Steve Jobs

"There are only two mantras yum and yuk mine is yum "
Bernard Mickey Wrangle<>Tom Robbins<> "Still Life With Woodpecker"

"There is a fine line between a rut and a groove"
G.D. Kittredge III

"


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Re: Paging all chemistry experts: how can I tell if it's N2 or Air?
Posted by: Will Collier
Date: June 21, 2011 08:50AM
Quote
space-time
I could force one of my less friendly co-workers breathe this stuff and see if they pass out. But I am looking into some non arson, non violent methods.

any ideas?

Thanks

Spoilsport. I was going to suggest, "Breathe it and see if you turn blue."
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Re: Paging all chemistry experts: how can I tell if it's N2 or Air?
Posted by: billb
Date: June 21, 2011 09:00AM
why run a hose outside ?
This lab doesn't have a test tube you could invert fill with the "gas" and walk outside with a shove a match into to see if lack of O puts ithe flame out ?
Not the greatest of tests.
If it's regular compressed air it's not like you've got something explosive in the tube, it's air.


Got a canary ?
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Re: Paging all chemistry experts: how can I tell if it's N2 or Air?
Posted by: DJM
Date: June 21, 2011 09:02AM
Have it tested with an O2 meter



Gray Court, SC
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Re: Paging all chemistry experts: how can I tell if it's N2 or Air?
Posted by: haikuman
Date: June 21, 2011 09:06AM
Quote
DJM
Have it tested with an O2 meter

Smart ass *(:>* cartman smiley



“Stay Hungry Stay Foolish"
Steve Jobs

"There are only two mantras yum and yuk mine is yum "
Bernard Mickey Wrangle<>Tom Robbins<> "Still Life With Woodpecker"

"There is a fine line between a rut and a groove"
G.D. Kittredge III

"


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Re: Paging all chemistry experts: how can I tell if it's N2 or Air?
Posted by: billb
Date: June 21, 2011 09:07AM
Quote
space-time
Quote
Paul F.
A CANDLE would set off the fire alarms? Those are some serious fire alarms!
Even a little tiny birthday cake candle?
...

I don't want ot take any chances. Evacuate 100+ people,shut down production, fine from fire marshal.... I would be in serious trouble.

I am gonna run along hose outside the facility and do experiments outside smiling smiley

so have a cpr/ respiratory distress exercise at the same time. Get the pretty girl with the big @#$%& to volunteer. :-)
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Re: Paging all chemistry experts: how can I tell if it's N2 or Air?
Posted by: davester
Date: June 21, 2011 09:50AM
Quote
haikuman
Quote
DJM
Have it tested with an O2 meter

Smart ass *(:>* cartman smiley

Actually, that's not a bad idea. If you have an industrial hygienist onsite (very likely if you are dealing with compressed gases and other chemicals) ask to borrow their O2 meter. Otherwise take the suggestion of filling a test tube and taking it outside to try the match trick.



"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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Re: Paging all chemistry experts: how can I tell if it's N2 or Air?
Posted by: freeradical
Date: June 21, 2011 09:52AM
Quote
cbelt3
Politely ask the facility manager to correct the problem. Recommend that he fill a large plastic bag with the gas, then stick his head in there and see if he can breathe. If he is not willing to do that, ask him to re-inspect and certify.. IN WRITING... what the gas is.

Ain't your responsibility (probably). You found a defect, make the idiots fix it.

Yeah..
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Re: Paging all chemistry experts: how can I tell if it's N2 or Air?
Posted by: haikuman
Date: June 21, 2011 09:57AM
Quote
davester
Quote
haikuman
Quote
DJM
Have it tested with an O2 meter

Smart ass *(:>* cartman smiley

Actually, that's not a bad idea. If you have an industrial hygienist onsite (very likely if you are dealing with compressed gases and other chemicals) ask to borrow their O2 meter. Otherwise take the suggestion of filling a test tube and taking it outside to try the match trick.

I was trully advocating that idea... perhaps my oblique and distorted humor was confusing.
haikuperson now assumes the the John Belushi persona """ you don't like my cooking""" my sword now raised in the seppuku position.



“Stay Hungry Stay Foolish"
Steve Jobs

"There are only two mantras yum and yuk mine is yum "
Bernard Mickey Wrangle<>Tom Robbins<> "Still Life With Woodpecker"

"There is a fine line between a rut and a groove"
G.D. Kittredge III

"


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Re: Paging all chemistry experts: how can I tell if it's N2 or Air?
Posted by: davester
Date: June 21, 2011 10:02AM
Quote
haikuman
Quote
davester
Quote
haikuman
Quote
DJM
Have it tested with an O2 meter

Smart ass *(:>* cartman smiley

Actually, that's not a bad idea. If you have an industrial hygienist onsite (very likely if you are dealing with compressed gases and other chemicals) ask to borrow their O2 meter. Otherwise take the suggestion of filling a test tube and taking it outside to try the match trick.

I was trully advocating that idea... perhaps my oblique and distorted humor was confusing.
haikuperson now assumes the the John Belushi persona """ you don't like my cooking""" my sword now raised in the seppuku position.

Samurai Industrial Hygienist!



"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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Re: Paging all chemistry experts: how can I tell if it's N2 or Air?
Posted by: macphanatic
Date: June 21, 2011 03:35PM
Quote
Paul F.
A CANDLE would set off the fire alarms? Those are some serious fire alarms!
Even a little tiny birthday cake candle?

If it is an air sampling or very early smoke detection system (VESDA is one brand) it could very well do so. One of my clients had their VESDA system in the computer room go into pre-alarm. They checked out the room and the system, found nothing. They thought it was a system issue and called in for service. 24 hrs later, their server monitoring identified a hard drive issue. Migrated the data to a new hard drive and pulled the old one. Shortly afterwards, the pre-alarm cleared itself.
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Re: Paging all chemistry experts: how can I tell if it's N2 or Air?
Posted by: macphanatic
Date: June 21, 2011 03:38PM
Quote
billb
why run a hose outside ?
This lab doesn't have a test tube you could invert fill with the "gas" and walk outside with a shove a match into to see if lack of O puts ithe flame out ?
Not the greatest of tests.
If it's regular compressed air it's not like you've got something explosive in the tube, it's air.


Got a canary ?

Even if it was H2, it would only make a small bang. We did this in High School AP Chemistry to lighten the mood occasionally. Ok, it we really did it just to see who would jump. Yes we were juvenile.
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Re: Paging all chemistry experts: how can I tell if it's N2 or Air?
Posted by: tenders
Date: June 21, 2011 03:48PM
Try a lighter. No smoke, same effect.
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Re: Paging all chemistry experts: how can I tell if it's N2 or Air?
Posted by: Ombligo
Date: June 22, 2011 03:54AM
If you need an O2 meter, see if any staffers are technical scuba divers as almost all have an oxygen meter to properly mix their gases. You can also call a dive shop to see if they have one you can borrow after explaining the situation.



“No persons are more frequently wrong, than those who will not admit they are wrong.”
-- François de La Rochefoucauld

"WE CALL BS!" -- Emma Gonzalez
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Re: Paging all chemistry experts: how can I tell if it's N2 or Air?
Posted by: Jimmypoo
Date: June 22, 2011 07:36AM
I inquired with a chemist friend of mine for you, and his quick reply was:

"Bubble the gas through something oxygen sensitive, which is why you have nitrogen lines in the first place.
Put a piece of freshly cut sodium in the gas to see if it oxidizes or not. You could measure its IR spectrum.

"I'm sure there are other possibilities."


I will add here, that there are nitrogen test kits available - such as the N/P Test Kit - but that should be
done by someone who's done it before. If your canister passes O2 in the mix - this will likely react with
the phosphorus and cause some excitement in your burette and your undies if you are doing the test.
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Re: Paging all chemistry experts: how can I tell if it's N2 or Air?
Posted by: billb
Date: June 22, 2011 11:22AM
Quote
macphanatic
Quote
billb
why run a hose outside ?
This lab doesn't have a test tube you could invert fill with the "gas" and walk outside with a shove a match into to see if lack of O puts ithe flame out ?
Not the greatest of tests.
If it's regular compressed air it's not like you've got something explosive in the tube, it's air.


Got a canary ?

Even if it was H2, it would only make a small bang. We did this in High School AP Chemistry to lighten the mood occasionally. Ok, it we really did it just to see who would jump. Yes we were juvenile.

I'm pretty sure N2 is a bit less inert than H2.


the hard part is keeping his sample pure enough to test.
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