I agree that synthesizing dioxygen difluoride in the kitchen goes well beyond the scope of the question; OTOH, who can resist an opportunity to talk about FOOF?
richP wrote:I'm picturing the rest of the guys at the Los Alamos National Laboratory looking at these Fluorine guys and thinking "I'm glad I work with something safe, like Plutonium".
Those guys also work with fluorine compounds: uranium hexafluoride
Uranium hexafluoride (UF6), referred to as "hex" in the nuclear industry, is a compound used in the uranium enrichment process that produces fuel for nuclear reactors and nuclear weapons. It forms solid grey crystals at standard temperature and pressure (STP), is highly toxic, reacts violently with water and is corrosive to most metals.
During nuclear reprocessing, uranium is reacted with chlorine trifluoride to give UF6.
And from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_the_Manhattan_Project
September 2: chemists Peter N. Bragg, Jr., and Douglas P. Meigs are killed, and Arnold Kramish almost killed, while attempting to unclog a uranium enrichment device which is part of the pilot thermal diffusion plant at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. Two soldiers also receive extensive injuries. An explosion of liquid uranium hexafluoride burst nearby steam pipes, and steam combined with the uranium hexafluoride to spray them with highly corrosive hydrofluoric acid.
gchrz wrote:There's a story going around (i don't know the validity of it) about an autoclave failing. But these things are way beyond the capabilities of a standard kitchen pressure cooker...
There was a rather spectacular explosion involving an autoclave at the first aerogel production facility, but the autoclave itself didn't explode from over-pressure - it leaked methanol into the room and the methanol subsequently exploded.
The first pilot plant for the production of silica aerogel monoliths using the TMOS method was established by members of the Lund group in Sjobo, Sweden. The plant included a 3000 liter autoclave designed to handle the high temperatures and pressures encountered for supercritical methanol (240 degrees C and 80 atmospheres). However, in 1984 the autoclave developed a leak during a production run. The room containing the vessel quickly filled with methanol vapors and subsequently exploded. Fortunately, there were no fatalities in this incident, but the facility was completely destroyed. The plant was later rebuilt and continues to produce silica aerogels using the TMOS process. The plant is currently operated by the Airglass Corp.
FWIW, we have a thread for Derek Lowe's stuff over in the Science forum "Things I Won't Work With" (Derek Lowe's Chemistry Blog)