Sciencemadness Discussion Board

Spontaneous Transformation of TATP to DADP Using Certain Acid Catalysts

Zelot - 30-4-2008 at 14:34


The current April 2008 issue of Propellants, Explosives, Pyrotechnics has an article concerning a study that shows triacetone triperoxide (TATP) transforms to diacetone diperoxide (DADP) if the acid catalyst used is sulfuric acid, perchloric acid, or methanesulfonic acid. This transformation does not happen if hydrochloric acid, nitric acid, or tin(IV) chloride is used as the acid catalyst.

This transformation is spontaneous and it is quite rapid depending on the temperature of storage and the amount of catalyst used. Apparently this transformation continues until complete conversion to DADP is achieved. The primary method in the literature (Picatinny Arsenal method) recommends sulfuric acid as the catalyst. In light of this research sulfuric acid should not be used to prepare acetone peroxide, but rather hydrochloric acid would be the most readily available alternative. Many people already use hydrochloric in their synthesis. Furthermore, this article clearly serves as another reason why acetone peroxide SHOULD NEVER BE STORED FOR LONG PERIODS OF TIME!

Clearly this transformation is related to the presence of residual acid catalyst in the finished product. Triacetone triperoxide purified by recrystallization did not transform to diacetone diperoxide. TATP stored at 0 C still transformed to DADP, and the higher the temperature the faster the transformation.

Study of TATP: Spontaneous Transformation of TATP to DADP
Propellants, Explosives, Pyrotechnics, Volume 33, issue 2 (April 2008), p. 89 – 91
Matyas, Robert; Pachman, Jiri; Ang, How-Ghee

This was copied and pasted from the roguesci forum.