Questions tagged [explosives]

Questions discussing explosive nature of chemicals. Also, consider using the safety tag.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
34
votes
4answers
8k views

What exactly is happening when sodium, potassium, or other alkali metal explodes in water?

There are lots of videos on YouTube showing sodium, potassium, etc. exploding when dropped into water (this, for example). I understand that when an alkali metal is exposed to water, a violent ...
26
votes
2answers
4k views

What makes diazo compounds so unstable and explosive?

I once had an Orgo TA refer to a diazo compound as "diazo-boom-boom" (the technical term). I have always been curious as to the reason behind the instability and reactivity. According to Wikipedia ...
23
votes
3answers
6k views

Why shouldn't Uranium come in contact with water?

In the documentary about Chernobyl, it was mentioned that Uranium should not come in contact with water, otherwise an explosion occurs. What is the reason for that? What kind of reaction makes it ...
19
votes
1answer
250 views

What did actually happen when Staudinger tried to synthesise diamond?

It is a famous reaction that used to be a teaching lab experiment, but is now banned in Germany, because it is too dangerous. To quote-translate quite liberally from the German www.seilnacht.com: ...
15
votes
3answers
789 views

What really happens atomically in an explosion?

Let's say a room is filled with butane, I then throw a cigarette into the room. What happens to the atoms/molecules of the butane when they are in contact with the heat from the cigarette?
14
votes
4answers
27k views

How explosive is hydrogen gas?

I want to electrolyze water to get oxygen and hydrogen. I want to mix them in a regular balloon and ignite it. How much hydrogen would you need in a 2:1 ratio with air for it to be dangerous? Is this ...
14
votes
3answers
9k views

Why exactly does molten NaCl explode, when it is poured into water?

Why does molten $\ce{NaCl}$ explode, when it is poured into water? $\ce{NaCl}$ has a high melting point, $1074\ \mathrm{K}$ ($801~\mathrm{^\circ C}$). $\ce{NaCl}$ has a molar mass of $58.44\ \mathrm{...
14
votes
2answers
436 views

Serious introduction to the chemistry of explosives recommendation

I'm looking for a serious introduction to the chemistry (and perhaps to a lesser extend the physics) of explosives. Presupposition of basic university courses in Organic Chemistry and Thermodynamics ...
13
votes
4answers
6k views

Which chemical properties make a substance explosive?

I know that some chemical substances are used as explosives. Amongst the most famous nitroglycerin in dynamite and cyclonite in C-4. Which chemical properties (I suspect that physical properties have ...
13
votes
2answers
426 views

Mechanism of initiation in contact explosives?

It's well known that undiluted nitroglycerin will explode when subjected to a physical shock. What is happening as a result of the physical shock that sets off the explosive reaction? In particular, ...
13
votes
2answers
1k views

Are non-exothermic explosions possible?

Explosives like picric acid and trinitrotoluene are unstable due to the close packing of so many $\ce{-NO2}$ groups onto a benzene ring. These highly strained bonds require only a relatively small ...
12
votes
2answers
3k views

Why doesn't liquid propane in a closed coke bottle burst?

I was watching this YouTube video in which the original experiment was to make a small rocket out of liquid propane and Coke. When that failed, the person doing the experiment decided to try pouring ...
12
votes
4answers
4k views

What makes substances explosive

Can someone explain clearly to me why some things are explosive?
12
votes
3answers
274 views

Why do most explosives have symmetrical chemical structures?

I was just turning the pages of my chemistry dictionary, when I found the structure of TNT (Trinitrotoluene): ...there after I got interested in its symmetry as an explosive, and started looking for ...
10
votes
1answer
151 views

What is involved in this firey demonstration?

In this rather shaky Facebook video (sorry I can't provide a better link), a science teacher takes a burning beaker of something and spills it out onto the floor. It then proceeds to shoot fire out ...
10
votes
1answer
139 views

Can cis and trans isomers have widely different flash points?

Sigma seems to have two products listed for sale as "Cinnamic Aldehyde". One compound clearly seems the trans isomer but the other one seems like an unspecified mixture. (They even have two different ...
9
votes
4answers
11k views

Safe explosion demonstrations

As an end of high school treat, my class is trying to convince our chemistry teacher to make an explosion as a demonstration. What sort of reactions are beautifully explosive but safe enough to do in ...
9
votes
1answer
4k views

Why are peroxides explosive?

Why do peroxides tend to explode with little provocation? In general, what are typical products of their explosion?
9
votes
3answers
2k views

How do we get rid of dangerous explosive acetone peroxide and nitroglycerine?

Imagine the police (or army or whoever's job is that) found out that some maniac placed a lot of primary explosives under a building. They have evacuated the building and deactivated the trigger. ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

Preventing build-up of Diethyl Ether Peroxides

I've never stored Diethyl Ether before but am thinking of producing minor amounts myself and storing said Ether inside of glass/PTFE bottles. I am aware of possible pressure build-up due to vapors ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

Does mercury fulminate really look like crystal methamphetamine?

In the AMC series Breaking Bad , Walter (aka Heisenberg) smuggles in a bag of mercury fulminate under the guise of crystal methamphetamine and threatens to blow the room up if he doesn't get his money....
8
votes
3answers
221 views

Constructing a grenade (for a novel I'm writing.)

Ok, before any eyebrows get raised, this is for a novel that I'm writing and inspired by this answer from worldbuilding and this reference answer. I just want to make sure the device I'm trying to use ...
8
votes
2answers
215 views

Oxygen-based explosives

I know that oxidanes are oxygen chains and rings. For example trioxidane is $\ce{HO-O-OH}$. I can see this turning into $\ce{O2}$ and $\ce{H2O}$ like hydrogen peroxide does. Since the double bonds in $...
7
votes
1answer
5k views

Why do we need acid when making acetone peroxide?

Acetone peroxide is a very dangerous explosive, easily detonated by mild heating, friction or shock. It appears in the form of small white crystals. This compound forms from the mixture of hydrogen ...
7
votes
2answers
5k views

Why do nitro groups confer explosive tendencies?

When suggesting nitration of an aromatic compound in the synthesis of some organic molecule, it was raised that this route should be avoided as to prevent things from going "ka boom." An explanation ...
7
votes
3answers
708 views

How is combustion speed regulated in solid propellants?

My question on Space.SE didn't yield anything I didn't know already: the secondary regulation mechanism – grain (cross-section shape) of the propellant, changing the area of open surface of the ...
6
votes
1answer
5k views

Why is picric acid more explosive than TNT?

I've recently read that trinitrophenol (picric acid - relative effectiveness factor $1.20$) is more explosive than trinitrotoluene (TNT - relative effectiveness factor $1.00$). Personally, I think ...
6
votes
1answer
473 views

What chemical explosives detonate when exposed to alpha particles or nuclear fission products?

Wikipedia's article on nitrogen triiodide $\ce{NI3}$ claims that Nitrogen triiodide is also notable for being the only known chemical explosive that detonates when exposed to alpha particles and ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

What chemical elements does a nuclear explosion release into its mushroom cloud?

I'm interested in the mushroom cloud produced by a nuclear explosion: What is it made of? I know that the uranium fission reaction is the following (from this web page) $$\ce{{}^{235}U + {}^1_0n -&...
6
votes
0answers
123 views

Methylation of perchlorate

I am exploring (non-experimentally!) the methylation of a perchlorate precursor, either the acid or pre-existing salts, to produce the alkali methyl perchlorate. The methylating agent would be methane ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Why is temperature regulation an important factor for producing explosives?

I was wondering why temperature regulation is an important factor for producing explosives. I know many are exothermic reactions but what would happen if you did not use an ice bath and allow the ...
5
votes
2answers
632 views

Contact explosion of nitrogen triiodide

Nitrogen triiodide, on slightest physical contact, explodes to evolve dense purple fumes of iodine. Why does this phenomenon occur? video link - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KlAf936E90
5
votes
3answers
218 views

How ‘lively’ would this ‘health’ potion be?

I’ve stumbled across a rather peculiar recipe for a allegedly ‘health’ potion in a computer game, composed of an unspecified amount of each of the following: rust (iron oxide) saltpetre (potassium ...
4
votes
4answers
9k views

Homemade Rocket Fuel and Engine

I want to put an action figure in orbit but I need to know how to make a secure yet not too expensive rocket fuel engine. The design of the engine must very primitive and not too complicated. I've ...
4
votes
1answer
965 views

Is it possible to make metal fulminates?

Is it possible to make fulminates such as: magnesium fulminate, copper fulminate, etc. by the metal + $\ce{HNO3}$ + $\ce{EtOH}$ reaction?
4
votes
2answers
164 views

Are all highly shock sensitive chemicals highly temperature sensitive too?

I found that some highly shock sensitive explosives like lead azide, mercury fulminate have a relatively high auto-ignition temperature. I want to know if it's a general property or not and why so? ...
4
votes
0answers
424 views

Why is gunpowder urinated on in Blood Meridian?

An interesting section of Blood Meridian (1985) by Cormac McCarthy has the gang of "Indian fighters" surrounded and out of powder, so one of them manages to make it from scratch, making charcoal from ...
3
votes
2answers
628 views

Ammonium nitrate in fuel-air bombs

Are there any fuel-air bombs / thermobaric weapons that utilise ammonium nitrate as a fuel? I know that BLU-82 is often mistakenly referred to as fuel-air bomb, so I became curious as to whether or ...
3
votes
1answer
193 views

Why is nitroglycerin so unstable?

I know that nitroglycerin is an incredibly powerful explosive due to its three nitro groups, but why is it so unstable? What in its chemical structure makes it so sensitive to shock and temperature? ...
3
votes
1answer
91 views

Was nitroglycerin invented as an explosive?

Although I have researched this as carefully as the web allows, it is not clear to me if the inventor was planning to make an explosive and if so, why he thought the process he undertook would yield ...
3
votes
1answer
65 views

Odorless smoke from 1812 Overture cannon fire

I went to an outdoor performance of the 1812 Overture last night. At the finale, a sequence of 'cannon fire' occurred. In past years the smoke has had the expected sulfur odor but this year the dense ...
3
votes
1answer
99 views

Are highly nitrated cyclopentadiene compounds possible?

Has anybody synthesized di- or higher nitrated cyclopentadienes possibly with methyl or other groups in the 1 position (analogs of TNT)?
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Can rocket candy explode during the preparation?

I would like to follow the steps in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hyPysthIRss After I mixed the Potassium nitrate KNO3 and the ...
3
votes
1answer
201 views

Why there is an Upper Explosive concentration Limit?

If we have a mixture of combustible gas (let's say it's methane) and air, what is the physical explanation for having a upper concentration limit? I found this document: Lower and upper explosive ...
3
votes
1answer
3k views

What's the composition of gun smoke and is it dangerous?

Background I've been conducting an informal (i.e. mental) risk assessment of visiting gun ranges. There are a couple of obvious sources of hazard: Injury by bullet Hearing loss Hot casings flying ...
3
votes
1answer
815 views

Is Tollen's test safe?

Tollen's test is an important test to distinguish between aldehyde and ketone. $$\ce{2 [Ag(NH3)2]+ + RCHO + H2O → 2 Ag(s) + 4 NH3 + RCO2H + 2 H+}$$ But is this reaction safe? Is there any threat in ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

Can a table salt + vinegar mixture be explosive?

I remember having read in a book, Ask Me Anything (Dorling Kindersley), that a combination of copious amounts of table salt and vinegar is explosive. Now this was a really long while back, and I can'...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

Does sodium cyanide react with water, and can it cause an explosion?

According to some conspiracy theory, the explosion that happened last year in Tianjin (China) wasn't caused by sodium cyanide. Can sodium cyanide react with water, and can it cause an explosion if you ...
2
votes
2answers
581 views

What happens when an explosion can't lead to volume increase of the thermodynamic system?

What if an explosion is not able to exit the container? Take a pipe bomb for example; assuming that the pipe bomb was hypothetically made out of such a strong material that the explosion is not able ...
2
votes
1answer
801 views

Perchlorate salts: (explosive) reactivity with methane?

I read everywhere about the explosive reactivity of perchlorate salts (e.g., $\ce{Na}$, $\ce{Ca}$, $\ce{NH4}$ [especially]) when mixed with organic materials or solvents, yet I find no information ...