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Testing & Storing Nembutal b) The Melting Point Test (MPT)
A pure test sample is expected to have a clearly-defined specific melting point. This can be determined by heating a small ample to this temperature in a thin-walled glass capillary tube and recording the temperature when the sample melts (and changes colour).
In the case of Nembutal, the test must be carried out on the free acid - not the sodium salt. Items needed for the test include a sealed glass capillary tube, thermometer (mercury or digital) with range > 1500
C, and a glass container of cooking oil that can be heated slowly on the stove. (Fig 15.9)
Regardless of whether one has the powdered salt from China, or a bottle of liquid solution of the salt, the process is as follows: Place some of the dry pentobarbital crystals from the previous test into the capillary and suspend in the oil. Heat the oil slowly on the stove and watch for the point at which the melting of the crystals occurs. The crystals should change colour quickly from white to transparent at 1310
C +/- 10 C.
A video of the MPT is shown. c) The Dilution Purity Test (DPT)
The DPT test looks for the point at which a sample of Nembutal (powder or liquid) becomes so dilute as to not give a ‘positive’ on the qualitative ‘Spot test’ cassette. Adulterated or degraded Nembutal samples will require less dilution to reach this point.
Place the scales provided on a flat surface and check the calibration with the 10gm weight included. (Use the forceps to move items on and off the scales)