« Heisenberg's Chemistry. Wow, looks great! (Random thought: since Jesse introduced the story of a man lost in the wild who survived by drinking his own urine, I fully expected Walt to suggest using urine as the electrolyte since it’s chock full of aqueous salts and there’s a ready supply available. That pressure finds the path of least resistance (ie the bottle cap) to escape, which sounded remarkably like gunshots in the Breaking Bad episode, “Breakage”. On a more serious note, Breaking Bad also strives for a VERY candid and unrelenting portrayal of both cancer and the ramifications of the modern-day drug trade. Yes sparks, and flames will set it off. . (Fun fact: Butterflies drink turtle tears to obtain sodium.). While this should be viewed as an additional deterrent for, ya know, not cooking meth, Walt uses his knowledge of the cook to subdue his less-informed co-workers who happen to be holding him at gunpoint. The anode is not positive in a discharging battery, only in a recharging one. cocl2 doesn’t even have a phosphorus in the compound. Nevertheless, this whole scene is so creative, well-written and downright badass, that here at ScriptPhD.com, we can’t allow minor quibbles to detract from the moment. A read-write head can move over the disk and change those domains via a small permanent magnet. Hydrofluoric acid, contrary to Walt’s statement, is NOT really that strong of an acid, compared to other options, but has some interesting properties useful for Walt and Jesse’s predicament. Lemon Battery – Watch more funny videos here. While the ethanol quickly burns off, metal ions are left behind. And you know, with the whole teaching aspect of it, I’m even more drawn in. Breaking Bad - the story of a teacher who makes crystal meth - is in its final episodes. My understanding is that the current flows from negative to positive. The Superlab was financed by Gustavo Fring with the construction costing approximately $8 million and constructed for the purpose of manufacturing industrial amounts of illicit methamphetamine, and thus played a vital role in the … To me, Walt started being a true drug dealer at the end of one of the episodes this season. It's decidedly unstable and can be detonated by friction, heat, spark, or shock, such as slamming a few ounces of it against the floor. Dissolved body in hydrofluoric acid Terminal. Please consider supporting ScriptPhD for more great content and podcasts! So in this case, referring back to the picture of the galvanic cell, the flow of positive charge will come in the form of K+ ions, and the negative charge from the OH– ions. If it were so unstable, it would never have found a use it the explosives industry. They won a 2009 Peabody Award for excellence in television achievement. In "Breaking Bad", Walter White cooks methamphetamine in a secret lab, under the name "Heisenberg". Ask questions and download or stream the entire soundtrack on … 6. Walt uses copper wire, which he then connects to the jumper cables by collecting all six cells and pooling the electric current to restart the van’s battery. See how you can perform a more advanced presentation of the same concept here. Fulminated mercury [Hg(CNO)2] is indeed an explosive, classically used as a trigger in blasting caps used to set off larger explosives. But stepping up to the call of duty. Please contact our attorney, Saul Goodman, with any legal concerns.*. The show revels in delightful touches such as the title credits interspersing elements from the periodic table. 289 - Will the HBO Max Deal Kill Off Theaters? We’ve talked about what a galvanic cell is, now let’s talk about how it works. Maybe this equation will help clarify things: Yeah ... nevermind. I’d have to rewatch to see if he did indeed reverse the order of the electron flow. In addition to Walt (played by the talented Bryan Cranston), and Jesse (dazzling newcomer Aaron Paul), we meet Skyler (Anna Gunn), Walt’s supportive but perplexed wife, who grows to be very suspicious of him as he has a harder time curtailing his clandestine activities, and Walt, Jr., a teenager with Cerebral Palsy, sensitively portrayed by RJ Mitte. At the cathode, free electrons that have traveled through the conducting circuit are used to reduce the electrode species to generate a positive charge. While on an exotic synthetic staycation in the lovely New Mexico desert, he stores the key to his Winnebago-cum-meth lab in the ignition. You’ve just killed the drug dealer who was supposed to peddle your batch of crystal meth, but you have to make the body disappear quietly without your DEA brother-in-law finding out. The colorless and flammable gas wreaks havoc on the respiratory system when inhaled and is immediately life-threatening at 50 ppm (parts per million, or 0.005% of the volume of breatheable air). They would have been better off seeding clouds above the station and rigging a lightning rod to zap the insides of the evidence locker with a bolt from the blue. Hence the look of absolute and profound horror on Walt’s face as Liquid Emilio, the bathtub, and everything in-between come crashing down. To date, about 38 chemical compounds known as cardiac glycosides occur in Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis). Cheers and thanks for the support! When it was revealed that Brock had been poisoned by eating berries from the Lily of the Valley plant, everyone involved thought Walt was in the clear ... until a closing shot showed Walt sitting comfortably poolside near a potted plant of Lily of the Valley. According to their number crunching, the resulting loss in mass is only 0.03% with a final solution of 38% methylamine w/w, amounts that would likely be within tolerance ranges for both the industrial scales and ultimate lab measurements, even though the buyers would quickly be having words with the supplier were this reduction in concentration to become a frequent occurrence. In the scene from Breaking Bad where Walter White takes the bag full of crystals to the drug dealer, the bag was handled quite roughly. I took HS chemistry a while ago, but I remember a little bit. Scooping it with a knife or pouring it would more than likely not set it off. The chemical synthesis process usually leads to very fine white powder precipitate crystals like the one in the picture on the right. Author of "The Science of Breaking Bad" from MIT Press | Twitch Affiliate: twitch.tv/drclawmd | Co-host of the Saturday Mourning Cartoons podcast | Community manager for Ironface Studios | Former science freelance writer for Nerdist.com | Former Animation editor, Streaming Content editor for Collider.com | Founder of ATL S.T.E.A.M. Of course, every drug kingpin worth his weight in meth has to have a nom de guerre. In the Breaking Bad pilot, Walt is forced to reveal his recipe so a couple of thugs won't kill him and leave him in the desert. That’s right, it eats your body from the inside out. But is it accurate? 1. There is a fly loose in the lab. What’s a wronged high school chemistry teacher to do? A drug dealer was born. Let’s hope nobody has followed those instructions and received a nasty shock! The sticky wicket? Fun fact: Walt and Jesse could have simply cooked up methylamine by more or less bubbling ammonia through methanol, but that's not nearly as much fun as a train heist. While Lydia could have been cured if she’d gone straight to the hospital, it’s more likely that the toxin wouldn’t have taken effect in the first place ... but why not? On its own, white phosphorus can self-ignite and burn down your makeshift DEA-approved commercial meth lab. This particular scene involved Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) attempting to dispose of a body by submerging it in hydrofluoric acid (HF). Humans can also be poisoned by consuming the castor beans themselves (about 5-20), but should recover with treatment. Inside Episode 506 Breaking Bad: Buyout Jesse deals with the repercussions of Todd shooting an innocent witness while Walt discloses his true motivation. Walt’s sleight of hand swapped Lydia’s Stevia for ricin, and she was none the wiser until it was far too late. I didn't know this, but the Breaking Bad blog says the lab was originally for Gale alone to provide meth for Gus, possibly also for the Croatians, where the quality was expected to be low (Lydia's explanation to Walt about Gus' plans for Europe). Even though Walt warned him that this particularly reactive solution could only be stored in plastic, Jesse went ahead and dumped the body in a bathtub along with a couple gallons of HF. Can you explain it please? There have been a number of posts since this one. KABOOM! The culprit in ricin is a lectin, as mentioned previously, which is a protein that interferes with cellular metabolism (ie an energy-producing and repair-inducing process). Perfect in theory. Walt tells Jesse to look at the bottom of the bins for a symbol called “LDPE”. Sometimes you don't have to set up an elaborate lab to combine various chemicals with heat and pressure to form toxic compounds ... nature already does that for us! Personally, I really would have chosen a very concentrated hydrochloric acid or sulfuric acid solution like John George “The Acid Murderer” Haigh, or better yet, liquid lye (the base NaOH), which would be able to react with the organic components of tissue and fat content and wouldn’t have dissolved Jesse’s tub, but where’s the drama in that? Realistically speaking, Tuco handling the stuff with his knife and dropping it on the table would be enough to ignite it. Homebrewing relatively small batches of the potent potables is nowhere near as dangerous as cooking up illicit drugs with deadly chemicals, but that’s not to say it’s without its own dangers. All in all a great plan until Jesse left the key in the ignition for a couple of days, which resulted in a dead battery and a stranded meth-lab on wheels just waiting to be found by the authorities. “We’d say, ‘A lab…like Breaking Bad’ or ‘Blue flowers, like Breaking Bad.’ And little by little, it just became like Breaking Bad .” The gag works. *Here's our disclaimer: This article is not intended to instruct readers in the methods of explosive production, body disposal, illegal drug manufacturing or to aide in the obtaining of deadly poisons or other unlawful materials. His students didn't care, but if you're still reading, I'll wager you're interested. Also, some highly carbonated brews will forgo the simple bottle cap and opt instead for a “cork and cage” stopper to maintain integrity.). 5. Walt visits Hector at the retirement home … For the cathode (the positive charge where the current will flow out), Walt uses graphite and mercuric oxide that he ground down from the Winnebago’s brake pads. Used fulminated mercury (looks like meth, got through security) as explosive. While the bulk of carbon dioxide is produced during alcoholic fermentation, homebrewers dose each bottle with a measured amount of priming sugar in order to better control carbonation. He decides to infuse some excitement into his life on a bust ride with his brother-in-law, a DEA agent. The charge, or electric current, is generated by two separate chemical reactions (or half-reactions) that occur on either electrode of the cell. Viewers were also worried about the dilution factor of replacing 1,000 gallons of methylamine (keep in mind it's already diluted to 40% w/w) with about 900 gallons of water. As the authors do not have practical knowledge in synthesizing crystal meth, they can only rely on such sources. So while Walt was able to build a battery with the proper voltage, the internal resistance would likely not generate enough current to provide the immense power necessary to jump-start a car that big. The Winnie would have needed about 20 times that to get cranking. Why I Hate FlashForward: A Dissenter’s Opinion « ScriptPhD, From the Lab: Breaking Bad, Chemistry Good « ScriptPhD | Watch Breaking Bad Episodes Online, Breaking Bad remains great, but we miss geeky chemistry of early seasons | Greediocracy, Breaking Bad remains great, but we miss geeky chemistry of early seasons, Who is Heisenberg? Taken together, these two values add up to the total cell potential, defined as the ability to force electrons through a circuit, and measured in voltage. But we can just assume that Walt used his past career as a “Crystallographer Extraordinaire” to produce the largest mercury fulminate crystals to date ;-). What particularly bugged me was exactly what Chemist points out, that Walt likely would not have been able to even handle the fulminated mercury to begin with, let alone that the violence of the explosion was exactly exaggerated. I believe that’s what the diagram above says too. The issue here is that, even though the fluorine ion is very reactive, a solution of hydrofluoric acid does not fully dissociate (ie split apart into H and F ions) in water. An idea is born, and the metamorphosis of Walter White begins. Too bad the HF didn't dissolve anything but the drywall, though it did soften up the pork tissue a bit. So magnetic erasure is likely out of the question, but what about wanton destruction? Knowledge is power! If a little bit of scientific curiosity was sparked along the way, all the better for it! The first good large batch of meth—1 pound!—that he and Jesse were able to synthesize was stolen without compensation by Albuquerque’s toughest drug wholesaler. Now that we are armed with the basics, here’s how Walt built his galvanic cells. Shocked by Jesse’s sloppy street cooking, Walt pilfers glassware and equipment from his classroom—gas masks, round bottom flasks, reflux condensers, crystallization dishes—to build a setup worthy of Pfizer. The zinc-carbon cell that Walt has built is a variation of a classic Bunsen cell, and we can estimate the cell voltage at around 2 total Volts. What is that stuff, a stunned Tuco asks. Density differences. Good thing Walt and Jesse had those respirators, otherwise they'd have been in bad shape. Does it copyright protected? Almost none of the darkest predictions about the Breaking Bad finale came true. Walt and Jesse cranked up the power on the electromagnet so high that it completely wrecked the evidence room (leading to unforeseen complications), including the laptop in question. Through flashbacks, we come to find out that the man is Walter White, an unassuming chemistry teacher in Albuquerque, NM. D’oh! 2. This question has been on the mind of viewers since the series ended in 2013 and, now, we break down both sides of the argument. Walt serves Tuco a ricin burrito. The place is built like a bunker, so bombs are out of the question. Well, let me assure you that Breaking Bad broke good. Not all solutions are created equal. Well, actually, he’s right. Take a look: Bottom line: the science is white-hot, the writing is red-hot, the meth is blue and the humor is black, so why aren’t you watching? So, from A to F in one fell swoop! The crystal structure of mercury fulminate was discovered in 2007, over 200 years after the compound was first synthesized and about a year before it gained popular attention on the Breaking Bad season one episode, "Crazy Handful of Nothin'". In "Dead Freight", the fifth episode of season five of Breaking Bad, Walt explains why the physical property of density will actually assist them in their planned heist of 1,000 gallons of methylamine from a train transport. For this contribution, Werner won a Nobel Prize in physics in 1932. Because Walt's electromagnetic was probably a good 5 meters (~15 feet) away from the laptop in the evidence locker (not to mention the reinforced wall between the two), it would have needed quite a bit more power than even those dozens of car batteries could have supplied. Even easier, he could switch his SIM card with the out-of-range, but still working Jesses’s mobile. Inoperable. Density is defined as the mass of a substance per unit volume, in other words, how much of something you can cram into a certain space. Ricin is a toxic compound found in the seeds of the castor oil plant, Ricinus communis. I have never heard of this show – but damn it looks awesome. So acidically speaking, HF < HCl (stomach acid) < HBr < HI. But how many shows on the air are even attempting this kind of clever science? The good people-- almost everyone else-- … Skin contact with the solution can lead to painless burns, tissue damage, cell metabolism interference, cardiac arrest and eventually, death. The show was about as perfect as you could get, pseudo-science aside, so I'll happily suspend my disbelief and enjoy the transformation of Walter White from meek to mad scientist. But I don’t understand why methylamine cannot be synthesized from methanol and ammonia. Please feel free to check out the rest of the blog. As of the writing of this article, the ricin remains in the mix and we're all waiting to see just how Walt intends to use it, if at all, in the finale. Mr. White’s sobriquet choice? I’m interested in reading some more information on this issue. Since water has a higher density, a volume (mass divided by density) of only 3.38m³, or 892 gallons, is needed to replace the mass lost in the heist. The result? Secondly, this stuff is unstable and extremely reactive. Many more achievements are sure to come for their outstanding sophomore effort! Fritz Ritz and His Polka Band. If the pilot episode doesn’t get your attention in the first five minutes, then I don’t know what will. In the episode, Walt asks Jesse to pick up a plastic container in which to dissolve the body. 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