Welcome to Chemistry Connections, our names are Nathan and Lucas and we are your hosts for episode #10 called The Chemistry of breaking bad. Today we will be discussing how Mr Walter White creates his signature blue meth.
In Breaking Bad there are many episodes where chemistry is incorporated into the show; I mean Walter himself is a chemistry teacher, but nevertheless, chemistry is what makes Breaking Bad, Breaking Bad. In this episode we are going to break down one of the most iconic propsin the show: the infamous blue crystals Walter cooks up
Breaking Bad is a popular tv show, in which the main character, Walter White, a High School Chemistry teacher, starts creating drugs and selling them to make cash after he is informed that he has cancer.
We are going to focus on how blue meth, methylamphetamine, is made and the psychological effects it has. Basically, this is a step-by-step guide on how to make meth. Jk jk, this is just a step-by-step guide, speculating how meth was made in the show
Throughout the story, two different methods of synthesis are used:
The first method Walter uses is pseudoephedrine, little Sud. Walter obtains little sud from the over-the-counter drug Sudafed
By combining red phosphorus—gathered from matchbox strike strips—and iodine, a person can create a strong acid removing the little cluster of hydrogen and oxygen that separates Sudafed from meth. Little suds molecular formula is C10H15NO, while the molecular formula of meth is C10H15N. So as you can see the molecular formula between these two are very close.
The second method Walter uses is a synthesis method from Phenylacetone aka P2P.P2P has a similar shape to methamphetamine and Sudafed. It has a circular carbon loop called a phenyl ring, with a short carbon neck and a few chemical groups attached to it.
To convert P2P into meth, you just need to modify the attached chemical groups. However, P2P is hard to get because the DEA knows that P2P is made to make meth. So, White synthesizes his own P2P based on methylamine, acetic acid, and phenylacetic acid.
Methylamine is a colorless gas with a strong scent, frequently used in pharmaceuticals
Acetic acid is similar to Methylamine, except it's a liquid, with a similar scent to vinegar. It is frequently used in pharmaceuticals and condiments
Phenylacetic acid tends to be used in fragrances. It is also found naturally in fruits.
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