Since I posted my first LabSafety post a few days ago, I’ve anticipated that one or other of my family was going to mention explosion proof vacuums. This hasn’t happened yet, but since it will, I decided to post about it today. But I couldn’t find them.
The explosion proof vacuum is, hands down, my favorite LabSafety product, and it saddens me that they no longer offer it (that I can find). While the reality of the item is still rather cool, it doesn’t live up to the name. From the name, I envision a vacuum that you can suck up a bomb or a grenade (or some other soon-to-explode object) and the sum-total of the vacuum’s reaction to this event is a somewhat loud “thump” sound as it jumps in the air, emits a feint whiff of smoke and completely contains the erstwhile dangerous explosion. You know… like the cartoons. That’s how physics works, right?
The reality is that the vacuum is designed to not cause and explosion. That’s not nearly as much fun. I can deeply respect it for just having the product name “Explosion Proof Vacuum,” but it will disappoint if tested as above.
So instead I found the Explosion Proof Fridge or Freezer. It’s a real product that you can buy for about four thousand dollars. Its real purpose is to be a fridge (or freezer) and not cause explosions, but just like the vacuum before it, you can easily imagine saving the day by tossing the ticking bomb or grenade into it.
When it comes to really cool Lab Safety products, I’m quite certain that imagination is the key. Four grand for a chest freezer seems amazingly steep, though. Last I checked they were under $500 for most sizes. I suppose that doesn’t matter much if you (or someone you know) are blown up.
I suppose the real question is: “Why do you need cold storage in very close proximity to things that explode?” Inquiring minds need to know.