Post by Gregory Sullivan
I have a tightly sealed inopend container of this substance (Barium Peroxide) and it supposedly has a very violent reaction with moisture. I am very reluctant to open it for that reason. Has anyone that has had experience with this stuff tell me about it?
I just looked up a couple MSDS sheets to make sure (I am very
out-of-date as a chemist), and none of them mentioned any violent
reaction with water. In fact, they suggested that skin contact spills
should be well rinsed with water..
With sensible precautions, ie wear gloves and eye protection, a dust
mask, don't get it wet or put it in anything wet, simply handling it
isn't much of a problem. Toxicity is far more of a danger than violent
reactions with water.
It has been a loooong time since I used barium peroxide - BaO2 used to
be used for making hydrogen peroxide by reacting it with sulphuric acid,
but that stopped being economic decades ago.
Can't remember ever specifically reacting it with water, but I have
reacted it with sulphuric acid many times - if the sulphuric acid was
dilute, the reaction just wasn't violent.
If you know calcium carbide and water, less violent than that even.
However there are reasons you don't want to add water to it - it gives
off heat and hydrogen peroxide / reactive oxygen when wet, so if you get
some water in a sealed can it can give off gas and cause the can to
rupture - and if there is any fuel nearby that can ignite, or in some
cases eg if it is peroxide sensitive fuel, even explode..
So (apart from the very nasty immediate and chronic toxicities) it is a
little nasty, and keeping the container sealed until you want to use it
is a good idea.
In the old days barium peroxide was/?is? supplied in sealed tins more to
stop atmospheric water getting in and ruining it, than for
fire/explosion safety or to keep the barium from getting out - though
nowadays the latter might be more of a motive.
All barium salts except the sulphate are toxic - sorry guys, but it's
true, and the only reason the sulphate isn't considered toxic is because
it is almost completely insoluble in water.
However I can't think of a sensible essential pyro use of BaO2 - any
comp which used it would either have to be fired pretty well immediately
in order to prevent moisture damage, or be very well sealed - perhaps in
a sealed marine flare, with an oil binder/fuel? A sealed booster
igniter, as it will be a bit easier to ignite than most other oxidisers?
Not your every day fireworks stuff, anyway.