Top things heard in Chemistry class

“Bitch please, you bond more readily than fluorine”
“I think you’ll find I sexually identify as the periodic table”
“Did you just assume my oxidation state?!”
“Honey if you were any more unreactive you’d be a noble gas”
“Wow, fluorine really is a slut”
“So dative covalent bonding is basically atomic double penetration right?”
“Yo, imagine a bath bomb made of pure caesium”
“What’s a commercial use of sodium chloride?” “It’s literally salt, you can- you know what, never mind, you’re white”
“I think you’ll find my enthalpy change is infinite”
“Guys what’s the Avocado constant again?”
“You know that acid is highly corrosive, you probably shouldn’t sit there with it pretty much in your lap”
“You know, our friendship is stronger than a hydrogen-fluorine covalent bond”
“I would literally pay you to set me on fire and calculate my enthalpy of combustion”
“Forget Hess cycles, you’re a fucking mess cycle”

Aliens visit Earth, in search of an intense narcotic for their species: sodium chloride. To their shock, salt is so common on Earth that the planet becomes a haven for alien junkies and addicts.

Molecule of the Day: Aluminium chloride

Aluminium chloride (AlCl3) is a white (when pure) or yellow (when impure) solid that is often employed as a Lewis acid in organic synthesis and as an intermediate in the production of aluminium.

Aluminium chloride is actually a covalent compound, contrary to what its name suggests, as the Al3+ ion has a high charge density, and is able to polarise the Cl- ion’s electron cloud to a large extent. This results in the electron density to be located in between the ions, causing the bond to be more covalent in nature than ionic. The Al atom in the molecule has an empty low-lying 3p orbital since it only has 3 bonds, making it Lewis acidic. As a result, it can accept lone pairs, such as from Cl atoms in other AlCl3 molecules, so it forms a dimer in gaseous phase. 

Aluminium chloride is used as a catalyst in many organic syntheses, such as Friedel-Crafts acylation. This exploits its Lewis acidity to synthesise acylated aromatic compounds from the initial aromatic molecule and an acyl chloride: 

Molecule of the Day: Diazepam/Valium

Diazepam (C16H13ClN2O), also known as Valium, is a white solid that is of significant pharmaceutical importance. It is a member of the benzodiazepine family, which shares the similar bicyclic system comprising of a conjoined benzene and diazepine ring.

Diazepam is used to treat anxiety and panic disorders, and this is achieved by its binding to GABA receptors on neurons. This causes the active site of the receptors to become a better fit for GABA molecules, resulting in a higher binding of GABA to it. This triggers a greater influx of chloride ions into the neuron. 

Since the intracellular portion of the neuron is more negative than normal, the membrane is hyperpolarised to a greater extent. Consequently, a stronger stimulus is needed to trigger an action potential, which is created when a stimulus causes the membrane to reach the threshold potential.

Since the resting potential is now more negative, the action potential and thus firing of the neuron is less likely. This then produces the anxiolytic, sedative, amnesia-inducing, and anticonvulsant effects of diazepam. 

Diazepam can be produced by various synthetic pathways; one such route is shown below.

Requested by anonymous


potassium cyanide is the potassium chloride of hydrocyanic acid. it occurs in transparent crystals and looks similar to sugar. it smells like bitter almond, yet only 20-40% of people notice its odor. these properties and its toxicity make it attractive for killers. the letal dose for humans is approximately +140mg. the symptoms of a cyanide poisoning include: shortage of breath, headache, con, vomiting, seizures, rosy complexion and exhalation air, which smells like bitter almond.

an infamous case of cyanide poisoning was the jonestown massacre. jim jones (pictured) was the cult leader of the “peoples temple”. on november 18th, 1978, over 900 people committed suicide due to drinking a mixture of kool-aid, valium and potassium cyanide.

    This late 19th century wood medicine box was re-used as a button box by some thrifty seamstress. Like many artifacts, it has an interesting story to tell that’s not always readily apparent.

    The box once held mercurcy chloride powder, also known as calomel. It was used in the treatment of fevers, such as yellow fever, and a variety of other medicinal purposes. But mercury, as we all know, is poisonous, and it accumulates in the body. The box - and the buttons inside it - are probably still slightly contaminated with the powder, so items like these should be handled with care.

    The maker of this product was Powers and Weightman of Philadelphia. The company became very rich because they virtually had a monopoly on quinine sales during the Civil War. Weightman invested his profits in real estate around Philadelphia, and became even wealthier. Adjusting for inflation, Weightman’s fortune would be worth almost $52 billion today.

    Both of Weightman’s sons died in adulthood, and so he made his daughter, Anne Weightman Walker, a partner in the company. At the time, she was the only woman in the United States who held a position like this, and she was renowned for her skill at business. After Weightman died in 1904, Anne inherited the company and was one of the richest women in the world.

   One of Anne’s brothers had left a widow, Sabine Josephine d'Invilliers Weightman. Neither she, nor her children, had gotten an inheritance from Weightman’s will. Sabine was convinced she’d been cheated and challenged the will, searching endlessly for a codicil she was sure Weightman had written. She claimed Weightman had not been of sound mind when he wrote the will, and that he’d disinherited her because she refused his marriage proposal. The dispute became so heated that Anne moved out of the family mansion and went to New York, terrified she would be poisoned.

    When the case finally went to court, Anne’s lawyers showed Sabine something written by Weightman. The contents of this document were never disclosed to the public, but the newspapers reported that Sabine fainted dead away upon reading it. She continued to fight, but Anne won the case. She eventually gave part of her inheritance to her neices and nephews, but on her own terms.


Preparation of an acid chloride on a bit larger scale. 

SOCl2 + RCO2H → RC(O)Cl + SO2 + HCl

The recipe is easy. Get a flask, a reflux condenser and a dropping funnel, weight out the acid into the flask, add 1,2 molar equivalents of thionyl chloride, heat and stir until no more gas evolves and distill what’s left in the flask to obtain a pure product. Yield: +99%.

However care should be taken, since highly toxic hydrogen chloride and sulfur dioxide is evolved from the reaction. The chlorinating agent what’s used, thionyl chloride and the product is toxic and will react violently with water to produce toxic gases.


Jesper struck a match and one, two, three, four, five of the rockets Wylan had prepared were screaming toward the sky, exploding in crackling bursts of color. The last was a shimmer of pink. Strontium chloride, Wylan had told him, working away on his collection of fireworks and explosives, flash bombs, weevils, and whatever else was needed. In the dark, it burns red.

Things are always more interesting in the dark, Jesper had replied. He hadn’t been able to help it. Really, if the merchling was going to offer those kinds of opportunities, he had a duty to take them.

Molecule of the Day: Aniline

Aniline, also known as phenylamine, is a colourless liquid with a pungent, fishy smell. It is the simplest aromatic amine, and is a basic building block of many organic compounds (no pun intended!).

Due to the electron-donating effects of the amine group, the benzene ring is exceptionally electron-rich, and undergoes electrophilic aromatic substitution at the 2- and 4-positions under mild conditions. For example, to chlorinate benzene, chlorine gas, a Lewis acid catalyst like aluminium chloride, and heat is needed to produce chlorobenzene. On the other hand, aqueous chlorine at room temperature is sufficient to produce 2,4,6-trichloroaniline!

Aniline can also undergo diazotisation reactions to produce diazo compounds, which are often used as dyes and pH indicators. In such a reaction, it reacts with nitrous acid, generated in situ from a nitrite salt and an acid, to produce a diazonium ion. This then couples with an electron-rich aromatic substrate via electrophilic aromatic substitution to produce the azo dye.

Aniline is also used as a precursor to produce indigo dyes for clothing, such as jeans. Industrially, aniline is produced via the nitration of benzene, followed by hydrogenation:

Crystals of a sublimed salt.

This is a quite special compound what was made months ago. It was placed in another lab in a small vial and from the heat of sunlight it sublimed on one of the walls of the glass. Why is it special? It’s a salt, like sodium chloride, only difference is, that it has highly fluorinated, fluorous side chain that makes volatile, so it could be distilled/sublimed to produce nice crystals as on the picture. 

Want it on your wall? Print it out and use it as you want:

Orville lynn Majors, a licensed practical nurse, worked at Vermillion County Hospital, from 1993 to 1995. During that time the patient death rate rose from 26 to 101 per year. In only 22 months of Major’s employment, 147 people died, most of them during his shifts. An investigation revealed that Major sometimes took his own initiative in ‘treating’ patients and was observed administering IV medical, something that is not within the scope of his license. Investigators exhumed 15 bodies to examine and found that at least six deaths were consistent with the administration of epinephrine and potassium chloride. Patient documentation noted a sudden rise in blood pressure before their hearts stopped (this hypertension resulted from hyperkalemia). On October 17th, 1999, Majors was convicted of six counts of murder, for which he received a life sentence.