Chemistry of Breaking Bad

Chemistry of Breaking Bad

Hopewell Valley Student Podcasting Network

Chemistry Connections

Chemistry of Breaking Bad

Episode #10  

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.

Segment 1: Introduction to Breaking Bad

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

Segment 2: The Chemistry Behind Blue Meth

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. 

  • Reference connection to bonding
  • This relates to bonding because Methamphetamine, as well as pseudoephedrine, contains carbon (C), hydrogen (H), nitrogen (N), and oxygen (O) atoms, which are elements commonly involved in covalent bonding.
  • Reduction is part of this reaction.
  • We are familiar with reduction from Redox reactions
  • Reduction is a chemical reaction that involves the gaining of electrons by one of the atoms involved in the reaction between two chemicals.
  • The pseudophedrine substance undergoes reduction and turns into N-methamphetamine..

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.

  • It’s like a “neck” because it is narrower and shorter compared to the other parts of the molecule.

 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. 

  • First: tube furnace
  • A tube furnace is an electric heater thats used to conduct syntheses and purifications of compounds 
  • Next: reductive amination I love animation
  • Oh no, anyways
  • Amination is the process by which an amine group is introduced into an organic molecule
  • Reductive amination is a form of amination that involves the conversion of a carbonyl group to an amine via an intermediate imine. The carbonyl group is most commonly a ketone or an aldehyde. 
  • Phenylacetic acid made by:
  • First combining chlorine with acetone through alpha halogenation to get Alpha chloracetone
  • Then combine benzene with Alpha clroacetone to make phenylacetic acid 
  • FYI: Alpha Chloroacetone is an extremely powerful lachrymator (irritates eyes and makes tears flow). It makes regular old ‘tear gas’, and if ANY of it gets away from you, you’ll wish to God it hadn’t. Handling that stuff in an ‘informal’ setting is almost a guarantee that you will have a problem that will advertise your presence to anyone nearby. When he said, “for educational purposes only” he meant it.
  • Sorry to inform you, but even if you did ignore my warning and try to make meth with this method, you won’t get you blue meth

Segment 3: Personal Connections

  • We like watching breaking bad
  • We want to learn about more lab equipment used to synthesize substances
  • We like chemistry
  • We like meth
  • We think it’s interesting, because we use it (allegedly)
  • Personal curiosity
  • Want to know how to make meth

Thank you for listening to this episode of Chemistry Connections. For more student-ran podcasts and digital content, make sure that you visit



Music Credits

Warm Nights by @LakeyInspired 

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