Sciencemadness Discussion Board

copper oxide for very dense composite explosives

niertap - 29-6-2012 at 07:57

I'm curious how a composition of around 5 CuO, 0.5 Al, 0.8 nitrocellulose would perform(by weight). The nitrocellulose binder would be nice and provide some nitrate ester groups. The density could be somewhere around 6g/ml. All I could find on the web was an article about how the airforce is developing dense composite explosives for use as the casing of bombs.

It seems like it would provide a lot of inertial confinement without having to replace active material.

Some numbers for your consideration.

Formula::::density::::moles of oxygen(O) per 100cm^3




VladimirLem - 29-6-2012 at 11:16 seems to be the same problem like at has a high density, just because of the bound lead - but istn a really strong explosive...

as an oxydizer it seems to be okay and you could make some improvised explosives with it, but it woundnt an optimal compound AND 5 - 0.5 - pretty much Cu/Al on just the 0.8 NC....not sure if it would detonate...maybe just with some strong blasting cap...dunno

Ral123 - 29-6-2012 at 11:30

The high density composition is lead nitrate/TNT. Aluminium is good choice for a composition that would be a layer around a high velocity explosive to provide inertial confinement. NC would be very poor choice, it differs too much from the oxidizer/Al mixtures and has quite indecent density. May be zirconium or some other reactive metal case of a bomb would give a great flash and termobaric effect.

[Edited on 29-6-2012 by Ral123]

franklyn - 30-6-2012 at 09:38


AJKOER - 3-7-2012 at 10:12

Here is a piece of information that may be of value (your opinion please). I have being investigating salts of Oxalic acid and quite interestingly on thermal decomposition, many metal oxalates produce either an extremely fine form of the metal or the metal oxide. For example, heating Iron oxalate produces such a fine Iron dust that it flames in air (pyrophoric). There is, in fact, a Youtube video on this, see and for a more detailed preparation video, . Reaction:

FeC2O4 ---> Fe + 2 CO2

Also, the thermal decomposition of Copper oxalate in air for 2 hours at 275 C produces a very fine form of CuO with unusually high surface area increasing reactivity, which may be of value here, see

Possible reactions:

CuC2O4 ---> CuO + CO + CO2

Or, with Copper (II) oxalate:

2 Cu(C2O4)2 + O2 --> 2 CuO + 4 CO2

[Edited on 3-7-2012 by AJKOER]

Mumbles - 3-7-2012 at 13:04

Another possibility I've always been interested in for the preparation of very fine metal oxides is via the glycine-nitrate process. It seems quite amenable to home preparation.

Oxalate is dianionic by the way so CuC2O4 is copper (II) oxalate.

hyfalcon - 3-7-2012 at 16:44

Could this be used to produce a very fine Mg powder, or would the magnesium go up in your face when you went to decompose the magnesium oxalate?

woelen - 3-7-2012 at 22:55

Magnesium oxalate won't give magnesium on heating. Magnesium is too strongly reducing. If this decomposes, then I would expect formation of magnesium oxide, or maybe magnesium carbonate or a mix of these two. CO and CO2 will escape as gases.

I also doubt whether ferrous oxalate gives metallic iron on heating or not. I am inclined to think that you get a non-stoichiometric mix of FeO and Fe, or maybe even just FeO. Finely divided FeO can also be pyrophoric, it is easily oxidized to Fe2O3. You of course can test for formation of metallic iron with a magnet.

[Edited on 4-7-12 by woelen]

AJKOER - 8-7-2012 at 09:31

Yes and I also found it surprising, but the thermal decomposition of Iron Oxalate, FeC2O4, forms Fe and not an oxide. See:

On the MgC2O4 decomposition, here is a reference confirming the formation of MgO: "Pyrolysis of Magnesium Oxalate: Kinetics and Stoichiometry", by Peter E. Yankwich, Petros D. Zavitsanos, J. Phys. Chem., 1965, 69 (2), pp 442–445.

Link to the 1st page:

See also a very recent (2010) paper "Magnesium oxide nanocrystals via thermal decomposition of magnesium oxalate" at:

[Edited on 8-7-2012 by AJKOER]