Lead picrate

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Basic Lead Picrate
Basic Lead Picrate
Freshly prepared and dried basic lead picrate.
IUPAC name
Systematic IUPAC name
Other names
Lead dipicrate
Lead picrate
Lead salt of trinitrophenol
Jmol-3D images Image
Molar mass 663.4g/mol
Appearance Dense, orange powder
Odor Odorless
Density 2.831 g/cm3
Melting point Detonates
Boiling point Detonates
Barely soluble in water at 20°C
Vapor pressure ~0 mmHg
Safety data sheet None
Flash point Detonates
Related compounds
Related compounds
Picric acid
Lead styphnate
Lead(II) azide
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
Infobox references

Lead picrate, or more properly, basic lead picrate, is an energetic, toxic, and explosive lead salt.



Lead picrate is an orange, very dense non-hygroscopic lead compound. Its melting and boiling point are both unknown, as it tends to deflagrate or detonate before it reaches such a temperature.


Lead picrate is a highly toxic compound; PPE should be worn whenever handling this compound.


Lead picrate is moderate sensitive to shock and heat, but has high friction sensitivity.


Lead picrate is not sold by any supplier, due to its instability.

Old reagent bottles containing picric acid that have lead in their lid will accumulate small amounts of lead picrate, which may be set off if one tries to open the bottle.


Lead picrate can be made by adding lead oxide to picric acid, in a solution.[1]

Another method involves adding a solution of sodium hydroxide to a solution of picric acid, with a slight excess of NaOH, forming a basified sodium picrate solution. This solution is then slowly added to a near boiling solution of lead(II) nitrate with constant stirring. The mixture is then allowed to cool to room temperature, and the resultant basic lead picrate settles very quickly to the bottom due to its density. It is then filtered and washed with distilled water. It is not recommended to make much of this salt at any given time, nor is it recommended to store it dry.[2]

Manufacturing, storing and handling this compound may require an explosive permit, depending on the country.


  • Amateur detonators



Lead picrate is extremely toxic. It is also a sensitive explosive, which is higher if the material is dry.


Due to its sensitivity, lead picrate should not be stored in large amounts. Wet powder is less sensitive than dry material.


Small amounts of this material can be neutralized via controlled detonation. However, the disposal of larger amounts is complicated. One way is to add the material in water, where it's slowly and gently oxidized using various oxidizing solutions, like Fenton's reagent, ozone, or some other oxidizer. The final product will contain insoluble lead oxide precipitate, which is toxic, and needs to be either recovered or taken to a hazardous waste disposal center.


  1. http://www.powerlabs.org/chemlabs/lead_picrate.htm
  2. Youtuber AllChemystery uploaded a video on this process, but it has since been removed. However, backups of it exist and can requested on the SM forum.

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