Sciencemadness Discussion Board

Nitroglycerin + Ammonium Nitrate

oneup - 24-12-2005 at 06:48

Does anyone know explosive mixtures with nitroglycerin and ammonium nitrate? I only know this one:
Ammonium Nitrate: 62%
Nitroglycerin: 26%
Carbon: 12%
I've tested this mixture more than once and it detonates nicely from 1g of silver acetylide.
but it still uses 26% nitroglycerin, wich is very expensive for me to make.
i'm looking for a composition that contains something like 15% nitroglycerin or maybe even as low as 5%. actually as low as possible NG content while still being cap sensitive.

[Edited on 24-12-2005 by oneup]

Rosco Bodine - 24-12-2005 at 08:46

See the following patent :


oneup - 24-12-2005 at 09:00

Thanks! I'm gonna try that once I have a new batch of NG ready. I've also found this one:
Ammonium Nitrate: 78%
Potassium Nitrate: 5%
Sodium Chloride: 8%
Wood Meal: 5%
Nitroglycerin: 4%

Only 4% NG, that means that with 10mL NG (16g) I can make 400g of explosive! does anyone know if this mix is sensitive to silver acetylide? if not perhaps I can make a booster using a higer NG-containing mix, that does detonate from SA.

lacrima97 - 24-12-2005 at 11:02

COPAE, If I remember correctly, has a very large number of mixtures like that reguarding ammonium nitrate and nitroglycerin.

In a few instances, a gram count of mercury fulminate is given on what would be required to detonate such a mixture.

oneup - 25-12-2005 at 00:50

Who or what is COPAE?
I did a search for it but came up with nothing
EDIT: I did a more thourough search, and I found the e-book.
it really has some good information, thanks!

[Edited on 25-12-2005 by oneup]

Fulmen - 25-12-2005 at 03:36

There are a large number of permissible explosives that uses ammonium nitrate and 4-5% NG, more or less the same as the one you have listed. You can probably skip the potassiun nitrate and and chloride, my guess is that they only serve to cool the explosion. As for the wood meal I'm not sure if it serves mainly as an absorbent for the NG or as fuel for the AN (probably both), but It's possible you could use activated AN and absorb the NG and a suitable amount of hydrocarbons directly to the AN. 90% AN, 5% NG and 5% oil should be fairly well balanced.

oneup - 25-12-2005 at 04:08

But still one question remains, can I detonate low NG containing dynamites with Silver Acetylide/Acetone Peroxide? (Equivalent to #6/#8 Cap?)

Duster - 25-12-2005 at 09:53

The primaries would work, its just a question of how much. You could probably detonate ANFO with AP if you used enough of it...

Personally (and this is just me), Id rather use a booster + a small det rather than a larger det... But again, personal prefrence.

The military uses caps that have a PETN base charge on the order of 13 grains, lead azide and some other lead explosive... Its three stage for both electronic and non-electric.

I dont know how much of what would be needed (depending on your route), but supposedly those military dets will set off -any- explosive in use by the military from C4 to Comp B, etc etc... How true that is I dont know but I have several sources that say the same thing...

ADP - 25-12-2005 at 20:36

Originally posted by oneup
Who or what is COPAE?
[Edited on 25-12-2005 by oneup]

That is a reference to the book The Chemistry of Powder & Explosives by Tenney L. Davis. It is a wonderful reference and informative book.

Fulmen - 26-12-2005 at 03:01

Yup, a must for anybody dealing with high explosives. Not really up-to-date (1943), but still a valuble piece of litterature. My copy is 15 years old and still in frequent use :-)

ADP - 29-12-2005 at 11:56

If there were a book that were up to date and covered the same topics, I would buy it in a heartbeat

lacrima97 - 29-12-2005 at 14:45

There are a few books that try to do what Davis did, but they don't really come close. A book like that would take so much work, but It would be easier now than in the 40's due the ease of information exchange these days. (internet)

moonclub - 30-12-2005 at 17:16

How can I download some books? The best are old - before 1944. (I can't buy it.)

rot - 27-1-2006 at 07:08

Is it also possible to plasticize ammonium nitrate/nitroglycerin compositions? So that it becomes a moldable explosive.

nitro-genes - 27-1-2006 at 07:37

Nitrocellulose could be used as a binder... The problem is that introducing a strong binder raises the overal density of the charge and would fill up all the voids that make the composition sensitive enough for a blasting cap. So basically, you would end up with an explosive that may have more power but will need a huge booster to high-order detonate. :(

Maybe the addition of microballoons to control charge density may compensate for this...

rot - 27-1-2006 at 07:56

hmm so you mean just dissolving the NC in nitroglycerin (TRI nitrocellulose, not HEXA nitrocellulose, this doesn't dissolve in nitro) and than adding the ammonium nitrate to it?

nitro-genes - 27-1-2006 at 08:34

Apart from the fact that there is no such thing as hexanitrocellulose, you are right that fully nitrated nitrocellulose is no good for gelling NG. Collodiol cotton is commenly used for this, which contains about 12% nitrogen. (fully nitrated is about 18% IIRC) It was one of the first plastics produced and is still used in some products today...

But yes... If one would want to make such a composition one should dissolve NC in NG until it forms a sticky gel and add small portions of very fine ammoniumnitrate. If prilled AN or baked AN from the oven is used one should take care that no hard lumps or pieces of prill are present!

rot - 27-1-2006 at 08:48

with hexanitrocellulose I obviously meant Cellulose Hexanitrate. I will try this when I have NC again and I will post the results.

[Edited on 27-1-2006 by rot]

Boomer - 27-1-2006 at 09:57

Tri- and hexa- means the same, they refer to one or two glucose units. Max is 14.14%, for gelling they take 10-12%. Nitration time and temp has also an influence on solubility, so 12% may be too much, but if left in the acid longer may still be soluble.

And what you mean is ammonia gelatine. Basically gelled nitro plus AN and woodpulp. Without the latter you waste excess oxygen from the AN.

Plus, with NC you do not get a plastique but a rubbery gel. Use PETN, ETN, MHN etc or (little) NS. In my experiance more than a few percent AN makes it less and less plastic like. You *can* still mold it, but it is no longer like play dough (or C4).

Oh and you do not need many voids in a plastique. The scystal surfaces (here: AN, in C4: RDX) do the same job.

nitro-genes - 28-1-2006 at 09:45

Yes, 18% nitrogen was a bit too much, I was confused with fully nitrated PETN :(
But if you consider the 2 terminal rings in nitrocellulose, which have 4 hydroxyl groups the max. is actualy 14.17% nitrogen! :P (just joking ;))

Using NC to gel NG it is quickly to much indeed, I use a strong solution of NC from ping pong balls in aceton which makes it not nessescary to heat and stirr the NG for a long period of time. Never tried AN, only aluminium, but I was guessing a very small amount of NC would leave a sticky gel instead of the usual gelatin like substance and would be able to "hold" more AN...

Originally posted by Boomer
Oh and you do not need many voids in a plastique. The scystal surfaces (here: AN, in C4: RDX) do the same job.

Then why is it then that pure RDX is sensitive to a #1 blasting cap and for reliable detonation of C4 a #8 blastingcap is required? Not to mention NG is quite different from RDX

I'm not saying you are wrong, just curious about this mechanism, I faguely remember this being mentioned before. Do you have some reference? :)

[Edited on 28-1-2006 by nitro-genes]

Slurry Explosives (Melvin A. Cook)

Lambda - 28-1-2006 at 12:26

Melvin A. Cook, the Godfather of Slurry Explosives, has introduced an enormous array of Binary Explosives. Ammonium Nitrate, Water (20% !!!), Aluminum Powder (20%) and a Gelling Agent is even Blasting Cap sensitive. Generally, Additives like Nitroglycerine, Nitromethane, Aluminum Powder etc. make these Binaries more sensitive to Blasting Cap initiation. With Nitroglycerine, a sensitive Booster Explosive can easily be made together with Nitrocellulose (Gun Cotton). In this way, fresh made Blasting Gelatin is easy to detonate with a Blasting Cap, due to air bubble inclusions, and thus Hot-Spot propagation throughout the mass. By applying a Booster Explosive, cheap, non Nitroglycerine based Binaries can be made with Ammonium Nitrate (also ANFO) to Detonate.

[Edited on 28-1-2006 by Lambda]

Boomer - 30-1-2006 at 04:05

Of course C4 is much less sensitive than RDX powder, that is the sense! The military could not use it otherwise, it should be bullet-proof.
Still embeded crystals do work as sensitizers simply by making the stuff inhomogenous. They are far less effective than bubbles,
working really well only if hard and dense (>2.8 g/cc IIRC, and notably harder than the HE itself). The mechanism is mentioned in Cooper, and in some Los Alamos paper. I would have to look it up.