As a college chemistry student I was eager to read the labels on every product I could find to bask in my newfound knowledge of organic nomenclature. Imagine my frustration when I found more useful information on a bottle of shampoo than I found on a can of Lacquer Thinner. Fortunately, labelling has improved, and most major components can be found on the sides of the can.
Still, I suffered with the lingering question of “Why did they mix toluene and MEK to make product X?”. It was an exciting day in 2006, when a student came into the office and asked me why I wasn’t using the Hansen Solubility Parameters to pick solvents. I had sent her on a literature search for solubility models, and she found the Hansen Solubility Parameters Handbook 1st Edition. (Don’t be too hard on me. I was raised as a vibrational spectroscopist and had little experience in solubility studies.) A quick view of the book gave me a “Eureka” moment, as I found ways to blend solvents, and “stick non-stick surfaces to a surface”.
I have been modelling solvent blends for recrystallization, precision cleaning, and polymer swelling for about 3 years. Much of my initial work was in an Excel spreadsheet using the equations in the CRC Handbook on the Hansen Solubility Parameters. But I eventually “graduated” to using the HSPiP software and eBook1 available at http://www.hansen-solubility.com/.
Perhaps your lab is typical in selecting nitrile gloves for everything. Changes are made when one loses a finger (of a glove) in a beaker of solvent. This is not the best practice, but many will not believe me when I say that there is an “easy alternative” to the “lost-finger” selection scheme. Continue reading “Chemically-Resistant Glove Selection”