Applied Chemical and Morphological Analysis Laboratory

Safety

The Emergency Phone Number is 911.

  1. All employees must complete Michigan Tech Basic Safety Awareness training. Some departments may require safety training for students as well.
  2. All users must read the general safety rules for ACMAL.
  3. Facility users must read safety rules specific to that shared facility.
  4. All users must be aware of campus safety contacts and resources.

Last updated March 1, 2018

Chemicals

Within the facility there are a variety of chemicals available for the purpose of specimen preparation. Chemicals in the laboratory include organic solvents, acids, bases, and volatile/combustible substances. Individuals using any of the chemicals within the facility are expected to exercise general chemical safety.

Precautions

  • Treat every chemical as if it were hazardous.
  • Use required safety equipment specific to any chemical being handled.
  • Make sure all chemical containers are appropriately labeled with their contents.
  • Do not create a waste chemical bottle or container. Only lab staff are authorized to create such a container.
  • Do not mix nitric acid with solvents unless you have been specifically trained in that procedure.
  • Do not return chemicals to reagent bottles.
  • Comply with fire regulations concerning storage quantities, types of approved containers and cabinets, proper labeling, and so on. If uncertain about regulations, contact the facility coordinator.
  • Use volatile and flammable compounds only in a fume hood. Procedures that produce aerosols should also be performed in a hood to prevent inhalation of hazardous material.
  • Dispose of waste and broken glassware in proper containers.
  • Clean up spills immediately in the manner specified by the MSDS sheet corresponding to the spilled substance. If the substance is unknown, contact facility staff.
  • Do not store food in laboratories.

Fire Safety and Emergencies

The Michigan Technological University emergency guide applies for all facilities on campus. In case of a fire or another emergency, refer to the University EMERGENCY GUIDE.

Emergency Guide

Liquid Nitrogen

Properties of LN2

At atmospheric pressure, the temperature of liquid nitrogen is around 77.3 K = -196ºC = -320ºF. This relatively low temperature can result in damage to human skin or eyes upon contact. Also, LN2 can become oxygen enriched by condensing and dissolving oxygen, which may cause ordinarily noncombustible materials to burn rapidly.

Nitrogen gas is colorless and odorless. On vaporization, LN­2 expands by a factor of 700; one liter of liquid nitrogen becomes 24.6 cubic feet of nitrogen gas. This expansion can cause an inappropriately sealed or damaged container of LN2 to explode and/or displace the oxygen in the room. This may lead to suffocation without warning.

Precautions

  • When handling liquid nitrogen, always wear eye protection, cryo-gloves, and appropriate leg and foot protection.
  • When transferring liquid nitrogen, use only approved unsealed containers, assure that the container lid is always loose, and carry the container with both hands.
  • Do not leave liquid nitrogen stored in an unsealed container unattended.
  • Never dip an open hollow vessel into liquid nitrogen; it may spurt liquid.
  • Never use in a small poorly ventilated room, and never dispose of liquid nitrogen by pouring it on the floor or down the sink.
  • When storing liquid nitrogen, use only approved sealed containers.

Radiation

ACMAL is equipped with a variety of x-ray analysis tools which create ionizing radiation. In itself ionizing radiation is dangerous; however the devices within the lab that produce radiation all have internal radiation shielding which allows for their operation without the need for personal radiation protection. These include all of the SEMs, TEMs, X-ray Diffraction (XRD) instruments, and the X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) unit. All such equipment must be registered with the State of Michigan, with provides periodic inspections to ensure no radiation is leaked from the instruments.

Nevertheless, users are expected to follow proper safety precautions at all times and to alert technical staff to any unusual instrument behavior.

See shared facilities pages for specific radiation hazards.

Examination of Infectious Materials

As a policy, infectious and potentially infectious materials cannot be brought into the EM facility. The specimens should be fixed with glutaraldehyde or other appropriate fixative that will inactivate the infectious material before the specimens are taken to the EM facility. In addition to inactivating the infectious material, the fixative also helps preserve the ultrastructure of the material for study. Depending on the feature of interest, specimens could be fixed in solution or directly on the grid after they have dried.

Osmium tetroxide is another common fixative used for TEM. It not only fixes and stabilizes the material, but also provides contrast so that the specimen is more easily seen. Osmium tetroxide is often used in combination with glutaraldehyde.

See also CIF safety.