Saturday, 7 July 2012

08:34 – Barbara is taking a break this morning from labeling bottles to work out in the yard before it gets too hot. I’m doing laundry and other normal Saturday tasks. This afternoon, Barbara will be back to labeling bottles and I’ll be making up solutions and filling bottles. Finished kit inventory is currently at comfortable levels and building.

I spent some time yesterday reviewing and editing the cover for Illustrated Guide to Forensic Science Experiments. All that remains is a quick QC2 pass and then the book will be off to the printers. It’s currently scheduled to hit the bookstores on 12 August. By then, we need to have the first batch of forensic science kits ready to ship.

Barbara and I have been watching Lying Little Pretties on Netflix streaming. My favorite of the four is Spencer, played by Troian Bellisario. I can’t help liking a girl who, while playing Scrabble with her boyfriend, fills in “glyceraldehyde”. I do wonder where she got all those tiles, though.

09:32 – I should remember this stuff, particularly when I’ve left myself notes. I have sheets of paper taped to the cabinet doors in my lab. They’re instructions for making up chemicals for the various science kits. So, this morning I was making up two liters of 0.1% methyl orange indicator. The instructions are as follows: “Methyl Orange, 0.1% – Dissolve 2.00 g of methyl orange powder in about 1.8 L of hot DI water. Cool and make up to 2.00 L.”

So what did I do? I boiled 1 L of DI water, added it to 1 L of room-temperature DI water, and added 2.00 g of methyl orange powder. The water was about 140 °F (60 °C), which most people would consider “hot”. Not hot enough, obviously. Maybe half of the powder dissolved, with the remainder forming clumps that settled to the bottom of the bottle.

So now I’ll decant off about half of the solution, leaving the undissolved powder and maybe a liter of the dilute solution. I’ll boil that and hope the clumps dissolve. If not, I’ll discard what I have and start over, this time with boiling water. And I’ll update the instructions from “hot” to “boiling“.