Flying Commercial w/ Chemicals (not drugs?)

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Flying Commercial w/ Chemicals (not drugs?)

Postby jcliff » Thu Apr 01, 2010 11:29 am

As a high school chemistry teacher, I have access to some salts (ionic compounds) that burn beautiful colors. They would turn poi dancer’s flames lovely hues of pinks, greens, blues, oranges etc. A handful tossed into a fire make a quick but impressive show. They are truly harmless, no more dangerous than table salt.

My concern is trying to fly with them from Illinois in my checked luggage. I could try flying with them in their commercial containers, or I could package them in anonymous containers. I would travel with each chemical's safety data sheet (which proves their stability and safety.) I read Southwest's banned items list and didn't see any mention of salts. However, I would hate to spend the first couple days of the Burn in jail. Anyone have any advice?

The chemicals I'd be bringing: Cupric chloride, lithium chloride, strontium chloride, copper sulfate, sodium borate, calcium chloride, potassium chloride, magnesium filings, iron filings.
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Postby trystanthegypsy » Thu Apr 01, 2010 11:44 am

Before you even worry about bringing them on the plane, please read http://www.homeofpoi.com/lessons_all/teach/Library-Fire-Training-Fire-training-and-safety-Coloured-Flames-FAQ-1_2_172 and understand WHY you never see this at burning man.. you are not the first to have thought about it. Unless you are spinning yourself, or you have friends that are prepared with the necessary information, understand that you can't just throw the salts onto the poi and produce coloured flame. Spinning coloured flame is higher-risk and uses different fuel, and will ruin a spinner's "main" set of wicks. It's best to use a brand new set of wicks that won't be used with conventional fuel.

If you want to use the salts in burn barrels or just chuck them on whatever burning art you find that would look cool too!

If you are worried about bringing them on the plane I would call the airline, or call the state department for nevada?
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Postby dragonpilot » Thu Apr 01, 2010 11:47 am

Rec you contact the airline's cargo operations division...there's a whole laundry list of items deemed hazardous cargo with attendant restrictions...
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Postby jcliff » Thu Apr 01, 2010 12:10 pm

See, that's the benefit of posting questions to the community. Thanks for the feedback. I had no idea that salts would affect poi wicks, so I'm eternally grateul not to talk an artist into it and utlimately tank their performance or their equipment. Also good suggestion to contact the cargo operations unit.

I think I'll still bring them if I can (for art burns or my village's burn pyre.)

Many thanks!
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Postby phil » Thu Apr 01, 2010 12:59 pm

Check here:
http://www.cieux.com/onlineAirline.html
for airline information on what you can check in your baggage. It varies by airline.
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Postby illy dilly » Thu Apr 01, 2010 3:59 pm

definitely leave it in its original packaging. Other wise it would look like your trying to smuggle something. I'd think the 3.4 oz rule would apply just like liquids.

Why not ship them to someone that is driving?
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Postby motskyroonmatick » Thu Apr 01, 2010 9:48 pm

Or ship them to hold at the BRC post office. Just bring some really good schwag for the postal minions. Ive heard they like porn and stamps. Beer might work.
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Postby illy dilly » Fri Apr 02, 2010 1:55 pm

motskyroonmatick wrote:Or ship them to hold at the BRC post office. Just bring some really good schwag for the postal minions. Ive heard they like porn and stamps. Beer might work.

I should work for the post office!
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Postby Ugly Dougly » Fri Apr 02, 2010 2:48 pm

Stick to cooking speed, Cliff.

Image
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Re: Flying Commercial w/ Chemicals (not drugs?)

Postby Joe Buck » Fri Apr 02, 2010 3:37 pm

jcliff wrote: or I could package them in anonymous containers


Well, that would certainly be perfectly safe for Sodium Chloride (AKA table salt!). I would be tempted myself to hide the identity of some of these chemicals, rather than draw attention to them, but flying is not what it used to be as we are all aware so I would not suggest it to someone else. One would think that if they were in checked baggage it would be very, very unlikely to be detected on a domestic flight, but who knows in these times. Certainly never bring anything questionable on your carry-on. You should see the conniption fit I always cause when I fly with my bagpipes. The TSA people about have a meltdown when they see all those pipes and metal on the x-ray!

jcliff wrote:The chemicals I'd be bringing: Cupric chloride, lithium chloride, strontium chloride, copper sulfate, sodium borate, calcium chloride, potassium chloride, magnesium filings, iron filings.


For the love of Christ please don't decide to bring Sodium Nitrate too, that would light up the "fluffer" detector and you would surely be sent, if not to Gitmo, someplace equally bad. If you have been handling Sodium Nitrate in the lab (or have been handling fertilizer in your garden for that matter) you stand a good chance of lighting up the bomb-sniffing equipment that is present in many airports these days, this in turn will likely cause them to pull your checked baggage and search it which would raise all sorts of questions even if the stuff later proved to be safe, and then they will see all the weird shit you have with you for burning man and, well you know LOL. Case in point, my girlfriend is a ski patroller and handles explosives for avalanche control work all winter. In a "blonde" moment she could not find her regular travel pack so she used her work backpack to throw her carry-on stuff in for what should have been a short trip. Well, she was detained for 6 hours trying to explain why her pack smelled of bombs (and had a few spent fuses in the bottom too boot!). TSA: "Miss, explain to me why you say you use explosives for work again?" her (in her sweetest, most innocent voice possible): "I blow up avalanches sir!" The TSA folks in L.A. don't know what an avalanche is from a hole in the ground, or that it is perfectly common to use explosives for avi control work, and even though she had her explosives handling license and work ID, she was still detained for hours. It's kind of funny now in retrospect, but the TSA folks did not find it funny, they don't even find my bagpipes amusing.

Oh, and absolutely DON"T bring the magnesium shavings, I'm sure they are on the contraband cargo list. I'm a machinist and I have machined Magnesium and seen the hot shavings from the metal lathe catch fire on the floor, pretty flame but hard to put out and very dangerous, especially when it lands down your work boots!

Maybe consider sending the stuff ahead to your destination by FedEx or similar?

This all sounds like a lot of fun, colored fire-spinning! I think I will bring some of this stuff out too (I'm not flying!), my gal also spins fire batons!

Good luck!
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Postby mdmf007 » Fri Apr 02, 2010 6:08 pm

The chemicals you just noted are listed in my DOT handbook as ORM-D its not going by Air.

You can check out the pocket guide. Since all of them are used to color fireworks it can also be packaged as fireworks. as well.

Id just mail em ground to yourself. its the route with the least hassles.
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Postby EspressoDude » Sat Apr 03, 2010 7:52 am

don't label them as fireworks. that opens up a whole other can of rules....
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Postby Ranger Genius » Sat Apr 03, 2010 8:18 am

I agree with MDMF007: Just post them to yourself. Standard USPS flat rate shipping box should be fairly inexpensive. Just send them as you're leaving to

Your Name
How/Where to Find you
C/O Postmaster BRC
Gerlach, NV 89412

The box will probably be waiting for you when you get there.
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Postby EspressoDude » Sat Apr 03, 2010 10:10 am

if MDMF is correct about ORM-D ( very likely so, he IS good! ), then check out this link http://dgrtraining.com/articles/CONSUMERCOMMODITYBRI.html

and others by searching 'ORM-D'

play by the rules and don't cheat on this
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Postby Ranger Genius » Sat Apr 03, 2010 2:19 pm

Here's how your list breaks down according to 49CFR172 (The section of Code of Federal Regulations that deals with hazardous materials classification and transportation).
Not hazardous (no shipping restrictions or labeling requirements).

Lithium Chloride
Strontium Chloride
Sodium Borate
Calcium Chloride
potassium chloride
Iron filings/turnings

Environmentally hazardous (requires labeling only when shipped in excess of EPA reportable quantities [in parentheses]).

Cupric Chloride (10 Kg)

Hazardous requires DOT hazardous material labeling/handling restrictinos

Magnesium Powder/turnings/pellets

Marine pollutant (no requirement for labeling, packaging or handling restrictions for non-bulk quantities not shipped by watercraft per 49CFR171.4(c))


Copper sulfate (anhydrous or hydrates)

I love research.



So the only substance you listed that couldn't just be mailed in a flat rate box (assuming you're not going to ship more than ten kilos of Cupric Chloride) is the magnesium shavings. Send the rest of them to yourself, and invite me to the party around the rainbow burn barrel!

BTW, personal experience: I've used the Borax/Methylated Ethanol fuel on my own poi with no ill effects apart from a lingering green tinge and a reluctance of my poi to soak up my paraffin-heavy fuel mixture for a few days until all the ethanol evaporated from the core of my monkey-fists. The ethanol mixture 1) is expensive as fuel, and 2) burns very cool compared to the paraffin/white gas mix I usually use, thus requiring me to spin more slowly. But the fire is quite noticeably green, especially after a few dips once it's burned off the paraffin that likes to stick around in the wicks.
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Postby jcliff » Sun Apr 04, 2010 9:24 am

Wow....thanks everyone for chiming in with your insight and research. I really appreciate you taking the time to help out.

I'm also really glad to know that I'll be able to continue with a slightly scaled-down plan. I'll have the "parlor tricks" sent to myself in my village. No need to hassle with full body cavity checks :)
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Postby mdmf007 » Sun Apr 04, 2010 11:24 am

yeah I took it for granted - our books all deal with loads measured in tons, so all our books are geared that way as well.

im afraid your still not flying with it though.

just mail it, USPS has those cool flat rate boxes too "If it fits, it ships!"
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Postby gyre » Sun Apr 04, 2010 11:50 am

Pick it up in Gerlach or Reno.
Don't make the BRC post office crazy.

I've shipped paint at huge savings direct by trucker, only hazard acetone.
There are boards for shipping, though this is against the rules.
No one will do it if they consider it a real risk, or the quantity is huge.
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