Re: Rubber toroids: Chlorine and nickel dangers, real and imagined (fwd)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 18 Dec 1997 10:31:20 -0600
From: Eric Davidson <edavidson-at-icva.gov>
To: Tesla List <tesla-at-pupman-dot-com>
Subject: Re: Rubber toroids: Chlorine and nickel dangers, real and imagined

Tesla List wrote:
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> Date: Wed, 22 Oct 1997 14:52:35 -0500
> From: "DR.RESONANCE" <DR.RESONANCE-at-next-wave-dot-net>
> To: Tesla List <tesla-at-pupman-dot-com>
> Subject: Re: Rubber toroids
> to: Tesla List
> Won't the electrolysis of copper chloride release deadly chlorine gas???
> If the copper is plated I believe the chlorine might be released as a gas
> if I recall my chemistry correctly.
> DR.RESONANCE-at-next-wave-dot-net
Hi All!

Just another note on real and imagined dangers of a few sundry
chemicals.  Yes, the electrolysis of any soluble chloride will yield
chlorine. We must consider a few more things. First how much chlorine is
being produced and how fast. The answer is related to many factors such
as the intensity of the current and the concentration of the chloride.
If chlorine is being produced fast and in large quantities, so that it
actually vigorously bubbles out of the solution (unlikely in a SMALL
plating operation) then toxic quantities of chlorine may build up.
However, chlorine is quite soluble in water, and if it is produced
slowly, it will likely dissolve in the solution to form hypochlorous
acid until the solution saturates. This is what is responsible for the
formation of those copper 'chlorates'. On to toxicity. There is no doubt
that chlorine is toxic, but it is not as toxic as gasses like hydrogen
cyanide, hydrogen sulfide, carbon monoxide or nickel tetracarbonyl (more
on that later). Chlorine's toxicity is mainly due to its corrosiveness.
It is extremely irritating to the throat and lungs, and it would be very
difficult to stay in a room filled with a high concentration of
chlorine. Your reflexes would cause you to flee the scene. In addition,
chlorine is not a "one whiff will kill you" sort of toxin, nor is it
colorless and odorless, you know its there long before it reaches
dangerous levels (similar to hydrogen sulfide, which is just as toxic as
HCN, but it stinks so bad you can detect a few ppm). Bottom line: the
copper plating of a toroid or other small object using cupric chloride
would be unlikely to generate enough chlorine to be irritating let alone
lethal. A note on copper: though our bodies need TRACE amounts of
copper, its soluble compounds are toxic, and should be handled with
care. On to nickel. Nickel compounds are toxic, more so than copper, but
not as toxic as mercury, cadmium, lead etc. Nickel tetracarbonyl is a
special beast (once considered as a suspect in the Legionaires disease).
It is a liquid at room temp, quite volatile, and very toxic. I have
NEVER heard of it being formed by arcs striking a nickel plated surface
(such as a nickel plated torus on a Tesla coil). Even if tiny bits of
nickel are vaporized, what is the source of the CO? It is much more
likely that the vaporized metal simply reacts with oxygen, forming a few
nanograms of fairly harmless oxide. I would be more concerned about
handling the plating compounds than about carbonyl formation. Hope this
sheds some light on the situation.