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Safely storing unmixed chemicals


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#1 Bobosan

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 08:05 AM

I'm guessing most pyros separate oxidizers, fuels and metals for storage. What method is safest way to store unmixed chems in a controlled environment like a home or should they not be kept indoors at all?

Should they be kept in enclosed fire resistant containers whether inside or out?

How do you store yours?

#2 nater

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 09:17 AM

Unmixed chems? I store them bagged and in small buckets or similar airtight containers. Keep the moisture out and keep the fuels and oxidizers separate. Aside fron a handful of chems like barium compounds, they are not very hazardous unmixed.
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#3 killforfood

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 12:09 PM

I wouldn’t mind seeing more suggestions for appropriate storage containers.
It’s not uncommon to receive chemicals in heat sealed bags that are not re-sealable. These need to be transferred into re-sealable containers. I’ve used Tupperware style food containers from the grocery store but they are nowhere near the quality of the old Tupperware containers. I’ve had them split clear down the side just from pushing the lid on too hard.

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I think wide mouth plastic jars would be good.

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#4 Carbon796

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 12:18 PM

Also try not to store them out in the open. They might look all neat and organized stacked on some shelving in your garage. Too you. But you might be out there one day working on your car, or fixing your wifes vacuum. And a police man pulls in to your driveway to ask ... There's a missing 5 year old girl with a pink bike, have you seen her. Your neighbor down the street reported a suspicious white vehicle in the area, did you see one. He might not know what they are, but it looks odd to him. He might make out the word - sulfate or potassium and it doesn't sound right to him. Then there's your nosey or new neighbor two houses down. What a mess, your never going to get that vacuum cleaner belt changed : )

#5 mikeee

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 01:33 PM

I use code names on the outside of my pyro chemical containers so no-one pays any attention to them.

LSD, Cannabis, Methamphetamine, Heroin, PCP.

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#6 Bobosan

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 10:15 PM

I'm concerned that high heat and/or flame during a (hopefully not) house fire might allow the unmixed chems to mix and create an accelerant hazard.

So, I have this metal office grade lockable 4 drawer file cabinet where each drawer could accommodate a box made out of fireboard. The plan is to store oxidizers first, then highly reactive metals and finally any fuels in these fireboard boxes inside the lockable file drawers.

Most all my containers are Skylighter supplied and the bagged chems go into fresh containers also from Skylighter. It does look nice all lined up with same type containers but no one sees it but me and it helps to locate stuff quicker.

Rubbermaid makes some nice clear PETE quart sized containers with screw on lids that have come in handy for BP storage out in the shed.

Overkill?

Edited by Bobosan, 20 July 2013 - 10:16 PM.


#7 FlaMtnBkr

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 10:41 PM

I store mine in metal cabniets that have shelves and doors. I keep metals in one on the top shelves and then fairly inert chemicals like carbonates on the bottom. I keep oxidizers in metal drums with smaller open bags in a plastic tub on a shelf by themselves. I keep other chems in another metal cabniet. I figure no individual chem we use is going to burst into flame except for maybe dry NC powder that goes south. So I try to seperate the oxidizers from everything else and put other stuff in metal cabniets. If there was a fire the metals could catch fire so I try to seperate them and get them high off the floor. This is all stored away from the house in a metal building. Which if there was a fire I don't think it would spread far, at least not through the structure. I keep some bags of fertilizer on a pallet in a barn covered with plastic that hasn't seen a drop of water in 30 years.

I guess I would just try to seperate things as much as possible and where there is the least chance of fire. Even if there is a fire most things will be a lump of hard powder with the packaging burned off it. Still, toxic chems that are heated could cause toxic vapors for anyone fighting a fire.

Any mixed chems really should go in a magazine that is detached from a building. A couple dozen cinder blocks are pretty cheap and can be stacked to provide shelter and a piece of sheet aluminum or even ply wood set on top at an angle as a roof. You want a magazine away from structures and kept dry. If something had a bad reaction you want everything away from everything else where it can burn itself out.

#8 Bobosan

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 11:11 PM

Yeah, mixed chems like BP are kept outside in the shed. I've got plenty of cinder blocks for a future magazine but the JobBox option looks much easier on the back. Digging the milling bunker convinced me of that.

#9 FlaMtnBkr

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 12:11 AM

What I would do is set the job box out where you want it and set it on pavers so moisture doesn't get to the bottom and cause rust. Then maybe cover the pavers with tar paper or a piece of tarp before setting the box on it to act as a moisture barrier. Then just stack the cinder blocks around the box without concrete gluing them together. Maybe even make it a little longer than it needs to be to set some 5 gallon buckets or even a stack of drying screens in case a thunder storm sneaks up on you one day so you have a place to safely put them. Stack the blocks just a hair higher than the job box. Then get a piece of scrap sheet aluminum or plywood that you put a couple coats of finish on and that over hangs everything a good ten inches or so. On the back maybe put a 1x2 on the blocks so there is a slight angle for water to run off and for there to be a crack on the sides to get a little cross flow of air. I would also trim the tar paper or tarp even with the cinder blocks so water can't seep in above the barrier and under the blocks. I have something similar and even though it is under some trees that hold water against the ground, the little structure is bone dry inside all the time. I have a second one that I store gas cans in. Some roach pills in the corner might not be a bad thing or something for spiders if that exists.

Just something I have done that seems to work pretty good.

#10 mikeee

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 09:42 AM

Each person needs to work with the space they have available and the cabinets and storage units they have.
I have seen a work table in the center of the room with plastic totes under the table for different products.
The clear plastic totes you can see the materials inside the tote.
Shelving units are nice so you can see what you have by the markings on the containers.
If you need to store materials in cabinets and different locations an inventory list is nice to have.
If you list a bin location for each item on the list it will save you time looking for the item.
Pain in the ass spending an hour looking for (1) chemical that you know you have but can't find.
Some pyro's have remote storage magazines, work shops, mixing rooms, garage, basement.
Knowing where all of your materials are will save you a lot of time when building different items.

#11 Bobosan

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 05:48 PM

Each person needs to work with the space they have available and the cabinets and storage units they have.
I have seen a work table in the center of the room with plastic totes under the table for different products.
The clear plastic totes you can see the materials inside the tote.
Shelving units are nice so you can see what you have by the markings on the containers.
If you need to store materials in cabinets and different locations an inventory list is nice to have.
If you list a bin location for each item on the list it will save you time looking for the item.
Pain in the ass spending an hour looking for (1) chemical that you know you have but can't find.
Some pyro's have remote storage magazines, work shops, mixing rooms, garage, basement.
Knowing where all of your materials are will save you a lot of time when building different items.


Exactly why I am reorganizing however I want to arrange and store the unmixed chems safely.

#12 mikeee

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 06:49 PM

Bobosan,

I have collected a lot of materials over the years and end up storing them in multiple totes and locations.
I try to allocate the materials where I need them for safety and easy access.
I keep my rocket tubes and binder-board, ramboard, kraft paper in the basement so I can cut them to size for projects.
That way I can build sub-assemblies inside the house when it is too hot or too cold to work in the shop.
We do some remote build and shoots in our pyro club so it helps to have components built ahead of time to use.
Sometimes I end up with materials in multiple locations in totes ready to load up for a pyro club meeting.
So now I just buy (2) of every tool I know I need to build with, (1) for the shop, (1) for the road.

#13 Bobosan

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 07:56 AM

So now I just buy (2) of every tool I know I need to build with, (1) for the shop, (1) for the road.


Yeah, I find that issue with ordinary hand tools used for the house and garage...duplicate tools so don't have to run in and out.

Thans for the input, gents.

#14 Poindexter

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 02:19 PM

I keep fuel and oxidizers in separate buildings, oxidizers in an outdoor shed with fertilizers and garden tools, the green house really. Fuel (charcoal, sulfur) in the garage as far from the boiler as I can get it. Mixed chemicals in the magazine/ other outbuilding building.

Not sure what I will do if I ever get into more energetic materials to make pretty colors.

#15 Mumbles

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 04:47 PM

It will depends how much space you have available. I had dedicated building space, and a separate dedicated storage space. All I had were a couple of sets of shelves. I kept the oxidizers on one, and fuels on the other. The chemicals were separated by class. IE metallic fuels, organic fuels, nitrates, perchlorates, chlorine donors, coloring species, etc. They happened to be on opposite walls of the room, but that was more for convenience than any sort of intentional safety related design. The professional manufacturers I'm aware of had a similar setup. Most of my chemicals were stored in plastic tubs, or the original drums/bags. There was some that was stored in plastic ziploc type bags as well. The more incompatible stuff like potassium chlorate and ammonium perchlorate, were stored inside a secondary container with a strong seal to prevent accidental contamination. I also had a special area to actually work with them for the same reasons.
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#16 TranslucentDragon

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Posted 07 August 2013 - 07:26 PM

Do you think that metal paint cans could be used to store unmixed chemicals?

#17 50AE

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 04:11 PM

Not for everything. The steel will react with some oxidizers and rust, especially in moist air. But you could pour them into zip lock bags and then put the bag in a the metal can.

#18 TranslucentDragon

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 09:51 PM

Why not just keep them in a bag then? And so tupperware for oxidizers and metal cans with fuels?

#19 Scotty123

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 01:38 PM

Old thread, however: Consider that rodents chew into plastic containers. A careless elbow or long pieces of wood or metal being handled in the shop pokes or knocks the bag off the shelf. Sunlight UV-degrades plastic. Energetic event tosses sharp (flaming?) things. Earthquake knocks stuff off shelves. It doesn't have to happen every day to be a concern; I wear my seatbelt even though I don't expect to be run into this time (I would stay home if I did!).




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