Explosion hazard

John C. Angus
Case Western Reserve University

Chemical & Engineering News (07 September 1998) Vol. 76, No. 36, p. 7

A method for the synthesis of diamond by reaction of sodium with carbon tetrachloride by Ya-Dong Li and colleagues was described in a Science/Technology Concentrate (C&EN, July 13, page 55). Readers of this article should be aware that mixtures of sodium and carbon tetrachloride are exceedingly dangerous. After standing for a short time, the reaction products are shock-sensitive and highly explosive. Details of this reaction and other references can be found in the third edition of the "Handbook of Reactive Chemical Hazards" by L. Bretherick. Any mixture of halogenated hydrocarbons and alkali metals should be treated with great caution.

Editor's Note: Later editions of Bretherick's Handbook also warn that "mixtures of sodium with a range of halogenated alkane solvents are . . . capable of initiation to explosion by shock or impact.

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