Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Some things aren't meant to fly

Every now and then, a client asks if the best way to ship samples is in vials full of ethanol. The answer is no. Ethanol is a volitile, flammable liquid. It should never be mailed for any reason, and doing so is against the law in most countries. Ditto for acetone. Trouble is, scientists are so often concerned about the effect of flight on their samples that they forget to consider the effect of samples on flight.

It turns out that sending samples in ethanol is bad for the samples too, but that's beside the point.

Ethanol should not be mailed. Period.

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