Getting ready to start

Before work can begin on the arsenic bronze, all relevant safety aspects must be considered, i.e. I must ensure that the work will not harm myself or others in the lab. Reading the standard precautions for arsenic (e.g. from Sigma Aldrich) was informative if not a little scary.

Full respiratory equipment (e.g. full face particle respirator type N100 with appropriate cartridges and filters), a disposable complete suit protecting against dust and particles, and gloves will be worn as a precaution to ensure personal safety in the event of a toxic arsenic oxide vapor release during the experimental work.

The experiments will be performed under an extractor hood equipped with adequate filters in case any leakage occurs. The reactor consists of a crucible or a quartz vial sealed with a consumable glass / quartz pipe. The pipe is shaped to cool the vapours from the reactor and direct them into a container (e.g. a beaker) where a basic water solution will receive and fix the As-rich compounds in a stable arsenate salt. The glassware and the arsenate-rich solution will be stored as hazardous waste in secure gas and watertight containers and disposed of correctly by a licensed company, together with the laboratory gloves, coats and filters.



Read more about the physiologic effects of arsenic exposure here.

3 thoughts on “Getting ready to start

  1. What are the relative physical properties of arsenical bronze compared to copper–how does it compare in tensile strength, impact yield, etc?

    BTW, I’m really excited to find this project. I’ve been a fan of ancient metallurgy for a while but only found little work on arsenical bronze.


    • Dear Nephrite Jay, that is one of the things I plan to study within the project. Unfortunately, there is only little literature published about the mechanical properties of arsenical bronze (the reason is probably the low interest of today’s industry in arsenical copper/bronze). A few articles noting also tensile strenght or impact yield are e.g. the ones from Lechtman 1996 and Maréchal 1958.


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