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A colleague is working on a story about how chemists are filming experiments to help improve reproducibility. As part of that, she's got a video of someone doing an experiment while skydiving to test how MOF crystals form in low-gravity conditions.
First question: Is anyone aware of others doing chemistry experiments while skydiving and how those risk assessments were handled?
Second question: I've pasted the relevant experimental parts of the paper below. Aside from the skydiving aspect, any safety concerns, anyone? Unfortunately, they don't include detail about the "home-built injector" other than a photo in the supporting information.
Prolonged Low-g Experiments
Encouraged by the low-g data generated with the drop experiments,
prolonged low-g was generated using skydiving to investigate
the ZIF-8 and Tb2(BDC)3, while HKUST-1 precursors
could not be brought on the plane due to the presence of
ethanol. The skydiving jump experiment required a home-built
injector that allowed the solutions to be mixed immediately
before exiting the plane (Supporting Information: Video and
Figure S9), and a mobile lab that allowed the samples to be
washed immediately after landing (Figure S10).
Materials: D,L-Serine, 2-methylimidazole (HmIm), and terbium
chloride hexahydrate were purchased from Sigma Aldrich (Australia).
Trimesic acid (BTC) and copper nitrate trihydrate were purchased
from Acros Organics (Australia). Zinc acetate dihydrate was
obtained from Alfa Aesar (Australia). Disodium terephthalate was
purchased from TCI (Japan). All other reactants were purchased
from Sigma-Aldrich and used without further modification.
Synthesis of ZIF-8 Crystals with Serine: Serine (1.3 mg) was dissolved
in HmIm solution (0.5 mL, 160 mM) in deionized water. This
mixture solution was then combined with a zinc acetate dihydrate
solution (0.5 mL, 40 mM) in deionized water. After shaking, the mixture
solution was immediately subjected to varying g.
Synthesis of Tb2(BDC)3 Crystals: An aqueous solution of
TbCl3 =B76H2O (0.5 mL, 20 mM) was mixed with an aqueous solution
of disodium terephthalate (BDC; 0.5 mL, 20 mM). After shaking, the
mixture was immediately subjected to varying g.
Skydiving Jump Experiment: Although there is some controversy
surrounding the life-saving potential of parachutes, it was decided
that they would be a safe way to increase drag and reduce
velocity after the prolonged low-g portion of the skydiving experiments.
Tandem skydiving was performed in quadruplicate with the
mass of the tandem group kept constant in the 140-150 kg range.
A plane was flown up to ca. 4000 m at which point the tandem
groups exited the plane within ca. 10 s of each other. Immediately
before exiting the plane, the home-built injectors carrying the MOF
precursor solutions was used to mix the solutions (Supporting Information:
Video). After ca. 55 s of freefall and terminal velocity, the
parachute was deployed followed by ca. 7 min of descent to the
ground. The samples were left to incubate for a total of 10 min
after mixing, meaning that after landing the samples were almost
immediately taken to the mobile lab for washing.
For a photo of the injector, go to the supporting information, figure S9: