Adventure in The Chemistry Lab: Playing With Acid!

Adventure in The Chemistry Lab: Playing With Acid!

I was mostly a disciplined and studious kind of kid in school. So I hardly ever got into trouble in the chemistry lab (or anywhere else in school, for that matter). But I did have one fun adventure here, the mark of which I still carry above my right ankle! :D

It so happened that we were conducting an experiment that involved heating some concentrated sulfuric acid in a test tube, over a Bunsen burner.

I was merely following the instructions outlined for that experiment, but the guys working next to me were a bit more creative.

I'm not sure exactly what they were trying to do that day, but one of them suddenly moved back from his workspace, and the very next moment, I could feel something stinging the back of my legs at a dozen odd places!

When I turned around to inquire, I gathered that the concentrated sulfuric acid, in his test tube, had started boiling and bubbling out! He had immediately backed off to remove the test tube from the heat, holding the tongs as far away from his body as possible. But his "far away" happened to be right behind me!

Before I could register all this though, his test tube had already burst into pieces, and the boiling sulfuric acid splashed all over my lab coat and the back of my legs, causing that sharp stinging!

And I was such a big idiot... I was more concerned about my lab coat getting damaged than my leg getting burnt! #seriouslyfacepalm

Here's a picture of the actual adventure site... the Chemistry Lab of my school. An ex-schoolmate took this picture when he visited the school with his family some years ago, and he shared it on our Facebook alumni group. That's him and his little daughter in the pic. I have blurred out their faces to give them privacy.

Seth Anandram Jaipuria School Chemistry Lab
My school Chemistry Lab

So anyway, the acid burnt big holes through my lab coat, and even left some burn scars on my skirt. My socks were also burnt through, along with bits of flesh from the back of my legs! While most of these burns were minor skin grazes, I did suffer one big deep burn just above my right ankle, towards the back of the leg.

That one took a long time to heal, primarily because we, being the silly senior-school kids that we were at that time, were too busy being amazed at what happened! And the teacher in-charge of the lab that day (a temporary one... not our regular teacher) sent me off to the washroom, to wash the wound with water, whereas apparently, I should have first neutralized the acid with a base, as our regular teacher chided me about the next day!

Oh boy! You should have seen her face! She was furious at this display of "complete lack of commonsense" (as she called it) in the Chemistry Lab! :D :D :D

What can I say! I was never a big fan of science. I only opted for that stream in senior school to be able to study my favorite subject from my favorite teacher! :P

Besides, how often does a school kid get to see, in live action, boiling concentrated sulfuric acid burn through somebody's skin? Hahaha!

Adventure in The Chemistry Lab: Playing With Acid!
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But this was some adventure! I think I had to wear slippers to school for almost 3 weeks after the incident! I also had to get a new lab coat, a new skirt, and a new pair of shoes!

Yupp! You wouldn't believe it, but the few drops of acid that spilled on my shoes burnt tiny holes through them too!

And the poor guy whose experiment blew up... I think he lost a tiny bit of one of his eyebrows! :D I wonder if it ever grew back again. Hehehe! :P

Do you also have any such adventure tales from any of your science labs?
Did you like science as a subject in school?
Do you have any such scars on your body whose story is etched on your mind forever?

This is my 16th post for A to Z 2019.

I have attempted this challenge twice before, and published one kindle ebook out of it. You can get it on amazon: A to Z of Blogging: Take Your Blog To the Next Level.

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Sonia Chatterjee said...

A post graduate in Chemistry this side. While I did laugh at this incident, I can only tell you that you were lucky that it was concentrated sulphuric acid and not nitric acid because the damage would have been devastating. We have had such accidents happening regularly in Chemistry lab. Luckily nothing was serious

Shilpa Gupte said...

NEVER! I have never been a science or a maths fan, except for maybe Biology. Chemistry lab was never a place I enjoyed being in. What with the smells of all those chemicals and the chemical formulae, I was happier in my art class!
:) This was one scary incident Kaddu!

Shilpa Garg said...

Hahaha! An adventure in the chemistry lab and that too with H2SO4!! I am imagining the shock, awe and the amazement of the bursting test-tube and the aftermath!!
I have not had any such adventures in the chemistry lab, but once the unconscious frog that I was dissecting in Bio Lab, jumped from the tray where it was pinned and went god knows where. But he created a furore in our lab and must have died of heart attack with our shrieks and cries of fear and excitement! :D

Susan Scott said...

Amazing story Kaddu - I don't remember such science incidents/accidents but I do remember my brakes on my bicycle failed so instead of heading into the main road I made a sharp left into someone's house and my bike catapulted - I have the scar on my nose to this day.

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