Elaboration on title: What would most likely be the first explosive compound that some individual would create if they were just mixing together random things they had available? I'm not talking about our world history, where it was the discovery of black powder in China about 1200 years ago. I'm talking about some arbitrary race somewhere in the universe; what would most likely be the first explosive they develop, combining anything organic they could get? Would it be black powder? Nitroglycerin? Nitrocellulose?

(Keep in mind that this question is coming from someone who isn't really a chemistry nerd :p)


closed as primarily opinion-based by hBy2Py, pH13 - Yet another Philipp, Mithoron, Todd Minehardt, MaxW Jul 30 '17 at 15:08

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ I don't think this is opinion-based, actually, so I decided against closing it unilaterally. The community might disagree. I think if you explain why you want this information, (is it for writing some book or something?) then it can probably be left open. You should use the tag chemistry-in-fiction instead of history-of-chemistry as well, since you're not asking about real history. $\endgroup$ – orthocresol Jul 30 '17 at 8:13
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    $\begingroup$ Are you serious, or is this info for a book (fiction/fantasy)? If it's the latter, then the choice of compound is really just up to you (the author). If it is the former, you'll have to specify what kind of environment this "race" (of what?) live in; throw in a little geochemistry and you may have your answer. Besides... how would YOU define an "explosive"? $\endgroup$ – paracetamol Jul 30 '17 at 8:55
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    $\begingroup$ @ortho Actually, I think it's better off on the WorldBuilding.SE...no... it is meant for the WorldBuilding.SE. So, migrate? O:) $\endgroup$ – paracetamol Jul 30 '17 at 8:57
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    $\begingroup$ Voting to close as too broad. The first such compound discovered at some particular hypothetical planet will depend on the geology, geochemistry, ecology, plant biology, and other factors of that hypothetical planet. It could even be some compound not naturally occurring on Earth. There is no single answer here, so this is a poor question for Chem.SE; it is an ideal question for Worldbuilding.SE, though. $\endgroup$ – hBy2Py Jul 30 '17 at 10:46
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    $\begingroup$ @hBy2Py I disagree. If we allow other geochemistry then you are right, but the question is OK if we interpret it as an alternative history of this planet. In fact it is interesting in that context and potentially offers useful chemical insight. $\endgroup$ – matt_black Jul 30 '17 at 11:13