Silver fulminate

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Silver fulminate
IUPAC name
Silver oxidoazaniumylidynemethane
Other names
Silver(I) fulminate
Molar mass 149.885 g/mol
Appearance Solid white powder
Density 3.938 g/cm3
Melting point Detonates
Boiling point Detonates
0.01 g/100 ml (20 °C)
Solubility Moderate soluble in ammonia, aniline, aq. alkali halides, aq. alkali cyanides, HCN, pyridine
Safety data sheet None
Related compounds
Related compounds
Mercury(II) fulminate
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
Infobox references

Silver fulminate is an unstable chemical compound, the silver salt of fulminic acid. It has the formula AgCNO.

While they have the same chemical formula (isomers) AgCNO, silver fulminate is NOT silver cyanate. Silver fulminate is also NOT fulminating silver.



Silver fulminate readily detonates to release carbon oxides and nitrogen gas. A fine mist of silver powder is also generated.


Silver fulminate is a white solid, insoluble in water, but soluble in aq. ammonia. It dissolves in pyridine by forming a complex.


Silver fulminate is extremely sensitive to friction, heat and shock.[1] It explodes with a loud bang, releasing a cloud of silver metal powder. It cannot be piled up, as it tends to detonate under its own weight, even under liquid.


Silver fulminate is sold as bang snaps, where it's mixed with sand. Separation may not worth the effort though and quite dangerous.


Silver fulminate can be prepared by adding a solution of silver nitrate in nitric acid, into ethanol, under carefully controlled conditions, to avoid an explosion. The reaction is usually done at 80-90 °C, as AgCNO doesn't form at room temperature. Do not synthesize large amounts, as there's a risk of explosion.

Another route involves the reaction of silver carbonate with ammonia.

Silver fulminate also forms when nitrogen oxide gas is passed through a solution of silver nitrate in ethanol.


  • Make bang snaps



Silver fulminate is a very sensitive explosive and should be handled with care.

Detonation produces a fine mist of metallic silver, which is irritant and stains.


Do not store silver fulminate! Use it as fast as possible.


Silver fulminate can be neutralized via controlled detonation. The residual silver powder should be recycled, though if it's minute amounts of silver, it may not worth the effort.

A safe non-explosive way involves addition of a thiocyanate salt. Hydrochloric acid will also works.



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