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Chemical in Fire Grenade

Question asked by Crista Pack on Oct 3, 2019
Latest reply on Oct 10, 2019 by Alex Madonik

Hello. I work for an institution with a historical collection. One item in our collection, a Hardens blue star hand grenade fire extinguisher has recently cracked and started leaking its contents...which are now creating a white crust all over the exterior of the bottle. I think early variations of these extinguishers typically contained a bicarbonate or salt water solution...and then at some point they switched to carbon tetrachloride. Could leaking carbon tetrachloride cause an efflorescence...such as is visible in the attached image? Or is this white efflorescence a good indication the contents are a less harmful salt water solution? We have no date on the bottle, so I don't know if this is a 19th century or 20th century version.