Dissolved body in hydrofluoric acid KABOOM! An idea is born, and the metamorphosis of Walter White begins. Walt cooks up the compound and passes it off as crystal meth, using a small amount to demonstrate its potent properties while holding Tuco’s goons at bay with an amount that would likely level the building. His students didn't care, but if you're still reading, I'll wager you're interested. While they can take 1,000 gallons of a 40% w/w (weight-to-weight, not Walter White) solution of methylamine in water, they need only replace that amount with a lesser amount of plain ol' water, mass for mass, not volume for volume. For those who aren't caught up with the exploits of Walter White (Bryan Cranston), the show tracked his transformation from chemistry genius to high school science teacher to cancer patient to meth kingpin. (They've also got an ongoing breakdown of screen science seen in Breaking Bad, so definitely check their blog out if this interests you.) But other times, the reaction is violent, quick, and produces tons of energy. *Here's our disclaimer: This article is not intended to instruct readers in the methods of explosive production, body disposal, illegal drug manufacturing or to aide in the obtaining of deadly poisons or other unlawful materials. Along the way, Jesse gets some remedial chemistry that he failed back in high school. Probably not. Breaking Bad has been the recipient of a number of recent awards and critical acclaim. Used fulminated mercury (looks like meth, got through security) as explosive. He definitely got the flow mixed up when he sad the current flows from positive to negative, however he could be using the common convention employed when drawing circuit diagrams. Unfortunately, hard drives need quite a strong magnetic field to force erasure of data (and if you've got a non-magnetic solid-state drive, you're out of luck), and laptops have a significant amount of shielding around their hard drives, so magnets aren't foolproof, as evidenced by this image from K&J Magnetics showing two Neodymium magnets failing to scramble a running hard drive. Humans can also be poisoned by consuming the castor beans themselves (about 5-20), but should recover with treatment. He decides to infuse some excitement into his life on a bust ride with his brother-in-law, a DEA agent. Density is defined as the mass of a substance per unit volume, in other words, how much of something you can cram into a certain space. For every two steps forward, for every dollar made, there is a new foe, a new nemesis, or new unintended collateral. The mere act of moving the crystal itself would be enough to detonate it. I’d have to rewatch to see if he did indeed reverse the order of the electron flow. Guido that is a REALLY good point! The Winnie would have needed about 20 times that to get cranking. Even though Walt warned him that this particularly reactive solution could only be stored in plastic, Jesse went ahead and dumped the body in a bathtub along with a couple gallons of HF. It can be detonated by sparks, shock, friction, or even a wayward glance. While we wait for the Mythbusters to tackle this one in the future, let's take a look at some data collection the folks at Wired and PC Mag did in order to try and answer this question. Well, actually, he’s right. What kind of metal makes the best wire? Let’s hope nobody has followed those instructions and received a nasty shock! Now that we are armed with the basics, here’s how Walt built his galvanic cells. But would his scheme really have worked? Heisenberg. We’ve talked about what a galvanic cell is, now let’s talk about how it works. Skin contact with the solution can lead to painless burns, tissue damage, cell metabolism interference, cardiac arrest and eventually, death. “A little tweak of chemistry.” Most notable about this scene is that it caps the season-long transformation of Walt’s character. Walt tells Jesse to look at the bottom of the bins for a symbol called “LDPE”. Unlike like nitrogen triiodide, which has no use and is so unstable you can’t move it. Since water has a higher density, a volume (mass divided by density) of only 3.38m³, or 892 gallons, is needed to replace the mass lost in the heist. Anode and cathode refer to what the electrode is doing, not their polarity- removing and donating electrons to the inside of the device, respectively. Would this have worked in real life? When mixed with sodium hyrdoxide, the deadly phosphine gas is produced. The colorless and flammable gas wreaks havoc on the respiratory system when inhaled and is immediately life-threatening at 50 ppm (parts per million, or 0.005% of the volume of breatheable air). At the anode, an oxidization reaction strips electrons from the electrode (usually a metal of some sort), resulting in overall negative charge. Mercury fulminate is not as sensitive as described here. Inside Episode 506 Breaking Bad: Buyout Jesse deals with the repercussions of Todd shooting an innocent witness while Walt discloses his true motivation. Heisenberg, of course, is a tongue-in-cheek reference to Werner Heisenberg, one of the great physicists of our time. But I don’t understand why methylamine cannot be synthesized from methanol and ammonia. But is the plant really that toxic? Walt went through the trouble of processing ricin in order to off a number of bad guys, but it hasn't actually been used to kill anyone (yet). Too bad the HF didn't dissolve anything but the drywall, though it did soften up the pork tissue a bit. Generate electricity, generate charge, find a way to collect said charge, you’ve got power. Density differences. The first good large batch of meth—1 pound!—that he and Jesse were able to synthesize was stolen without compensation by Albuquerque’s toughest drug wholesaler. They won a 2009 Peabody Award for excellence in television achievement. The go-to source for comic book and superhero movie fans. They actually DIDN’T get anode and cathode mixed up. Realistically speaking, Tuco handling the stuff with his knife and dropping it on the table would be enough to ignite it. If a little bit of scientific curiosity was sparked along the way, all the better for it! List of Breaking Bad episodes " Blood Money " is the ninth episode of the fifth season of the American television drama series Breaking Bad , and the 55th overall episode of the series. When: Season 2, Episode 2 ("Grilled") When Walt and Jesse realize … He already showed some restraint (or just pure maniacal machination) in not using ricin to poison Brock, even though he managed to harm the little guy in another manner. Walt fires up the Bunsen burner which acts as a heat source. Gale kept a diary of items related to the construction of the meth lab operation he performed for Gus. If we break down the two half-reactions, oxidation and reduction, we can add up the total potential using a fancy-schmancy mathematical equation called the Nernst equation. A crystal that size could never have survived past Walter White placing it in the bag in his lab, let alone driving with it in his car. Walt mentions that he only has material enough for six cells. (And Wikipedia posts the helpful header, "Not to be confused with Rice" on their Ricin page. Created by Vince Gilligan. Two of Breaking Bad’s most famous words (other than the title itself, and the name of protagonist Walter White), “fulminated mercury” resulted in quite the explosive stand-off between Heisenberg and drug kingpin, Tuco Salamanca (Raymond Cruz). Often whitewashed in entertainment, Walt’s cancer, and the side effects are shown in a brutal way, but the stark realism also underscores his desperation as the illness unfolds. Wiped hard drive inside evidence room using a 252V electromagnet inside car Now for some fun with conversions: 1,000 gallons = 3.79m³. When he sprays a series of flammable solutions across them, the flame flares green and then red. Take home lesson? Walt shows up at Tuco’s casa with a large crystal of what looks like more meth and a demand for his money. See how you can perform a more advanced presentation of the same concept here. A drug dealer was born. If the pilot episode doesn’t get your attention in the first five minutes, then I don’t know what will. Breaking Bad - the story of a teacher who makes crystal meth - is in its final episodes. Thanks! For the ScriptPhD.com Top 4 Walter White Chemistry Moments in the show thus far and an in-depth discussion of the neat science behind them, click “continue reading”… The culprit in ricin is a lectin, as mentioned previously, which is a protein that interferes with cellular metabolism (ie an energy-producing and repair-inducing process). It's the Chekhov's gun of Breaking Bad, and it's been used far more in mind games than in successful assassinations. While the results on TV might not match up with their real-life counterparts, Breaking Bad sure has done its part for bringing a little bit of scientific curiosity into our living rooms, along with the most compelling drama in recent years. Plus, Walt would have had to send Jesse to the store for supplies ... and we all know how well that worked out: In the season five premiere, Walt and Jesse need to destroy video evidence on a laptop. To a stupefied, gun-happy Jesse, he makes the suggestion of killing a drug lord with castor beans, the source of the protein toxin ricin. There have been a number of posts since this one. Where other crime lords in the making might simply fight or shoot their way out of trouble, Walt uses not just his understanding of chemistry, but also physics, toxicology, and biochemistry to dispose of bodies, erase damning evidence, and to make sure that leverage is always on his side. Is this a mistake, a misinterpretation on my part, or is he right? It was the first place Walt and Jesse parked the rolling meth lab, and it was prominently featured at … I must preface this next post with a little truth in advertising. Realistically speaking would this actually restart the camper? Go inside the making of the train heist in Episode 505 and see how the most ambitious scene in Breaking Bad history came to life. As of the writing of this article, the ricin remains in the mix and we're all waiting to see just how Walt intends to use it, if at all, in the finale. Mostly we’ll be looking to interview talent and writers and make people aware of what the very best of tv and film is. The scariest part about ricin is how easy it is to obtain the plants and process the beans. While Walt’s science is sound, he might have been better off attempting to juice up the cellphone, which would take way less electrochemical power than jumpstarting an RV. However, when the heart is functioning normally to begin with, ingestion of the Lily of the Vally berries can mess with its rhythm, in addition to imparting blurry vision, diarrhea, vomiting and nausea, disorientation, drowsiness, headaches, red skin rashes, excessive salivation and possible death. The good people-- almost everyone else-- … Since Benjamin Franklin initially guessed incorrectly we have been stuck with it and practically it doesn’t really matter so I won’t fault him for it. Steve K and Chemist — You’ve both caught some pretty excellent flaws in the chemistry stories on Breaking Bad. It’s such an appropriate name for him on so many levels. Why? Ricin is a toxic compound found in the seeds of the castor oil plant, Ricinus communis. A man wearing nothing but his skivvies and a gas mask careens a Winnebago in the New Mexico desert, a passed out body beside him, two more dead in the back, and a toxic sludge of chemicals seeping on the floor. I actually thought that scene was Walt “stepping up”… not quite there yet. However, as Hank discovered, over-carbonating your bottled beer can lead to pressure build up inside the bottles. Back to the original scene, the sirens turn out to be fire trucks, one of the many hair-raising escapes to come, and Walt and Jesse live to sell meth another day. Even easier, he could switch his SIM card with the out-of-range, but still working Jesses’s mobile. The battery that Walt built would probably generate 20-30 Amps of current, based on current for a typical basic Galvanic cell, and that’s being generous. As Walt is cooking in the RV lab, he takes advantage of the dangerous nature of the process to fill the enclosed space with a deadly gas. Images (99) The Superlab was a large-scale laboratory facility that was located under an industrial laundry business in Albuquerque, New Mexico. With Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn, Betsy Brandt. When inhaled or injected, ricin can kill on the order of 22 micrograms per kg (about 1/228th of a standard aspirin tablet, which is why the substance being detected on envelopes sent through the mail is such a serious matter), but it takes about 1,000 times more to kill someone when taken orally (still not that much, ie about four aspirin tablets). The Superlab was financed by Gustavo Fring with the construction costing approximately $8 million and constructed for the purpose of manufacturing industrial amounts of illicit methamphetamine, and thus played a vital role in the … Only instead of discouraging Walt, the bust shows him how much money can be made. Inoperable. Taken together, these two values add up to the total cell potential, defined as the ability to force electrons through a circuit, and measured in voltage. We already talked about the source of ricin earlier in this post, but since it was written before the finale, now we get to discuss whether or not it would have worked in the way Walt used it. Pure methylamine has a density of 700.00 kg/m³, but a 40% w/w solution in water works out to about 890 kg/m³. 'SNL': Colin Jost Unwittingly Mocks His Wife, Scarlett Johansson, on "Weekend Update", The Science of 'Breaking Bad’: Dangers of Homebrewing, DIY Batteries and the Effects of Ricin, See how you can perform a more advanced presentation of the same concept here. Nevertheless, this whole scene is so creative, well-written and downright badass, that here at ScriptPhD.com, we can’t allow minor quibbles to detract from the moment. A read-write head can move over the disk and change those domains via a small permanent magnet. Walt definitely describes the cathode as the positive side of his cell, which is wrong. The anode is not positive in a discharging battery, only in a recharging one. Check out this neat video of six lemons powering a low-wattage LED bulb: Walt’s sleight of hand swapped Lydia’s Stevia for ricin, and she was none the wiser until it was far too late. An acid, chemically speaking, is nothing more than a compound that is able to give up a proton to a willing base in solution. That is, this chemical will neither give up its hydrogens when exposed to a solution, nor will it accept any. The Collider Podcast, Ep. Required fields are marked *. In one scene, in their makeshift mobile meth lab out in the desert, Walt is being threatened by two gangsters. Since that state is unstable, the electrons return to their more tenable ground state, but where does that thermal energy go? A hammer would set it off. The relationships serve as a centerpiece of the show are unraveled like the plot, in layers and tantalizingly. Traditional hard drives are broken down into tiny domains of uniform magnetization (ie, all pointing up or all pointing down). Remember, we also need a conductor to carry the current of electrons—the charge—from one half-cell to the other. In fact, chemistry itself can very well be considered a recurring character on this show and we’ll highlight some of the best moments in a bit. A copper or barium solution produced the green color, while the red was likely due to strontium. As in don’t touch it, don’t expose it to light, don’t mess with it unstable. By proton we mean a positively-charged hydrogen (H+) with water acting as the accepting base in most cases. “We’d say, ‘A lab…like Breaking Bad’ or ‘Blue flowers, like Breaking Bad.’ And little by little, it just became like Breaking Bad .” The gag works. Well, let me assure you that Breaking Bad broke good. What started out as a business transaction between a teacher and former student blossoms into a tender father-son relationship. The Science It can indeed corrode metal given time and will eat away at the silicon oxide bonds in glass. While on an exotic synthetic staycation in the lovely New Mexico desert, he stores the key to his Winnebago-cum-meth lab in the ignition. (Random thought: since Jesse introduced the story of a man lost in the wild who survived by drinking his own urine, I fully expected Walt to suggest using urine as the electrolyte since it’s chock full of aqueous salts and there’s a ready supply available. Covering the hottest movie and TV topics that fans want. This is the moment in the show that delineated a before and an after, where the line was drawn in the sand, and we never again saw the innocent sick chemistry teacher desperate to save his family. My understanding is that the current flows from negative to positive. If it were so unstable, it would never have found a use it the explosives industry. Without question, the scientific highlight of the show to me, thus far, is the integration of clever reaction chemistry to advance a major plot on the show. Yep! "Run" The final scene of the episode, "Half Measures" may have taken the top spot were it not for the … If you’re desperate to get rid of a dead body by chemical disincorporation, for God’s sakes, read up on your chemistry first! Sorry, Walt! Secondly, this stuff is unstable and extremely reactive. What is that stuff, a stunned Tuco asks. The pig went bye-bye relatively quickly (not to mention a noxious plume of smoke), but the bathtub and floorboard beneath it remained intact. In the scene from Breaking Bad where Walter White takes the bag full of crystals to the drug dealer, the bag was handled quite roughly. The suspected Breaking Bad-style drug-production 'tent' was said to be hidden under camouflage sheets, brambles and tree branches so passers-by could not see the laboratory … Sometimes, it’s gradual and imperceptible, to which he gives the example of metal oxidation. Why wouldn’t it react with plastic? The place is built like a bunker, so bombs are out of the question. The show revels in delightful touches such as the title credits interspersing elements from the periodic table. But how many shows on the air are even attempting this kind of clever science? There's no doubt that electromagnets and rare earth magnets possess fantastic strength, but they also require a target with adequate mass and are more effective over small distances. That's not to say it isn't dangerous. But is it accurate? You have anode (positive) and cathode (negative) mixed up in your description above. “The best thing to do,” Walt concludes, “is dissolving [the body] in strong acid.” We’ll talk more about this in a second, but first, check out the minisode for the episode “The Cat’s in the Bag…”. The higher the resistance, the lower the ultimate current. In "Breaking Bad", Walter White cooks methamphetamine in a secret lab, under the name "Heisenberg". Rather, the following is meant only to compare the Breaking Bad version of science to real world fundamentals. 289 - Will the HBO Max Deal Kill Off Theaters? D’oh! It was a bit of an unexpected twist with Walt using the ricin to take out the annoying/eccentric/hit-happy Lydia Rodarte-Quayle (Laura Fraser). That’s right, it eats your body from the inside out. How soon will you update your blog? I have never heard of this show – but damn it looks awesome. It’s likely that people remember more chemistry from an episode of AMC’s Breaking Bad than from their time in high school and college, but is the on-screen science sound? Not since the CSI Season 2 episode “Bully For You”, in which a victim’s body found in a duffel bag decomposed so badly it had to be poured out, has a liquefied body played such an important role on a television episode. Early in the episode “Crazy Handful of Nothin’”, Mr. White is teaching his class about the power of chemical reactivity. No. Terminal. It's particularly dangerous to young children and pets. I didn't know this, but the Breaking Bad blog says the lab was originally for Gale alone to provide meth for Gus, possibly also for the Croatians, where the quality was expected to be low (Lydia's explanation to Walt about Gus' plans for Europe). I mean, sure, they’re making a devastating and highly illegal narcotic, but at least it’s via a proper Grignard reagent amination of a Schiff base! The Derided Ending of 'Wonder Woman' Was Demanded by WB, Says Patty Jenkins, 'Big Mouth' Season 4 Is an Unexpectedly Complicated, Welcomely Wholesome Delight | Review, 'The Wilds' Producers on What They Know About Season 2 and the Show's Connection to 'Lost'. The charge, or electric current, is generated by two separate chemical reactions (or half-reactions) that occur on either electrode of the cell. He at first tried to help out a fellow meth-maker at the store, but then seeing him talking to his partner in the parking lot, walks right up to him and says: “Stay out of my territory”. However, the Mythbusters showed that, in order to get the explosive effects shown in the episode, not only would Walt need a much greater quantity of the compound along with a much faster throwing velocity, but that he and everyone else would have died from the concussive blast. 2. Accolades See the before and after pictures. These compounds can be used therapeutically in the treatment of cardiac failure, as they increase the force of the heart's contraction by indirectly regulating cellular calcium concentrations. Yay to Gwynn and Chemist! When it was revealed that Brock had been poisoned by eating berries from the Lily of the Valley plant, everyone involved thought Walt was in the clear ... until a closing shot showed Walt sitting comfortably poolside near a potted plant of Lily of the Valley. 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