Friday, January 10, 2014

Tenting and the Effect on Batteries (PhD Ideas 03.1)

After writing Tenting and Tempurpedic, I noticed something else that may be caused by one of the gases used in fumigation.

I started having to replace AA and AAA batteries in my clocks, radios, flashlights, etc.  Each time, when I opened up the battery compartment, the batteries and contacts were encrusted with salt.  Apparently the battery acid had leaked and crystallized. Batteries that were not connected -- the ones in packages or loose in my spare battery drawer -- were fine.

I suspect that the vikane, or more likely the chloropicrin, is responsible.  A PhD student might be able to do the experiment -- but very, very carefully because vikane is lethal and chloropicrin is tear gas.  A younger student looking for a science fair project might be able to work out the chemical equations or collect some data by doing a survey of battery failure among people who have been fumigated.

If I am right, the instructions for fumigation should include one that says, "Remove batteries from battery-operated devices."

No comments:

Post a Comment