May 152012
Authors: Elisabeth Willner

A CSU doctoral student was treated for cuts after a vial of liquid exploded in a second floor chemistry lab Monday morning.

“He had cuts from the glass from the vial and was transported to the hospital,” CSU spokesman Mike Hooker said.

The student was treated and released from the Medical Center of the Rockies following the accident.

At the time of the accident, the student was wearing the lab’s required safety clothing including goggles, a lab coat and gloves.

He had been working with potassium perflurododecaborane (K2B12S12), a compound with potential for use as an electrolyte in batteries. The student was injured while collecting the chemical from a flask.

Hooker said that the chemical is generally extremely stable and had been used many times in the lab without incident.

“The procedure is very standard … It’s not something that should have normally caused a problem,” Hooker said.

CSU chemists believe that an impurity may have caused the explosion. On Tuesday afternoon they were working to find out whether that was the case.

James Graham, the director of CSU environmental health services, said that it’s very unusual for a chemical explosion to occur in CSU’s labs.

“I can’t remember anything like this ever happening,” said Graham, who has worked at CSU since 1995.

The chemistry building was not evacuated following the accident, since the CSU Environmental Health Services determined that the chemicals themselves were not dangerous. The lab was back in use about an hour after the incident.

News Editor Elisabeth Willner can be reached at

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