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Author: Subject: Boy killed in Sweden by homemade explosive
Nevermore
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 Quote: Originally posted by IgnorantlyIntelligent Nitroglycerin production is one of the most dangerous industrial processes. For example, it killed Alfred Nobel's brother. Although that was over a century ago, I expect the method he was using was more sophisticated than the method you used. If you play Russian Roulette, you will most likely survive. However, you shouldn't regard your survival as evidence that what you did was safe.

i don't agree really, over other explosive productions NG production is the one less plagued by random accidents..beside that, i suppose nobel brother was making a big batch,,have you ever tried to do a temp control over a large batch?
Ng in humid form should be rather safe, is almost impossible to detonate..
well after is dry is sensitive of course, but i suppose that there are other stuffs much more dangerous than that...

Nevermore!
Mr. Wizard
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This seemed timely.
http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99994718
IgnorantlyIntelligent
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Nevermore, I dont know how you quoted something I never said, but I never said NG was dangerous in the production. I am the one that made 270ml and everyone else critisized me for it.
How did you quote what I didnt say?....interesting.

[Edited on 28-2-2004 by IgnorantlyIntelligent]

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I am a fish
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Nevermore quoted my post which in turn contained a quote from your post. He must have edited out your comment whilst accidently retaining your name, making it look like my comment came from you.

1f /0u (4|\\| |234d 7|-|15, /0u |234||`/ |\\|33d 70 937 0u7 /\\/\\0|23.
TomThumb
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AP

I did a kilo of AP a while ago and went quite well.

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chemoleo
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Do that a few more times and you won't be there to write it again...

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Tolerance is good. But not with the intolerant! (Wilhelm Busch)
Hang-Man
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Why does everyone think AP is the devil? I've made near kilogram amounts and had no problems. The only times I hear of something going wrong with AP is when the user does some stupid thing. (ie lighting off shitloads at a time, or *hammering* the cap into place)

It's stupid people that are dangerous, not AP.

(when tom says he 'did' a kilo of AP I assume he ment 'made' and not 'set off all at once like a dipshit' )
blazter
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Yet another safety discussion

Safety when dealing with energetic materials is a subtle concept to grasp, so I suppose its understandable that many people still dont comprehend how the risks work even after reading about them many times. When dealig with unstable material such as AP, it all boils down to probability. The probability that it won't spontaneously detonateis one of concern, and the most understood, but its easy to forget that the margin of error with other respects makes the overall safety factor smaller. Now also, you must consider the worst case scenario when handling/synthesizing an unstable primary like AP, a full complete detonation occurring. I do recall at least one person on E&W claiming that they have had AP spontaneously detonate when dumping into bicarb solution to neutralize it. Now suppose this happened with say a kilo batch for instance. Remember I say that spontaneous detonation is not the only risk, take for instance Anthony's AP incident from E&W where the lamp he was using to dry a pile of AP fell onto the filter cake and destroyed the table it was sitting on. Again suppose that it was a kilo batch that had been drying, we would have never heard about the incident excecpt for possibly some vague details in a news report.

The risks involved with handing sensetive primaries like AP are very real, and can come from any number of factors, even ones you probably never thought about. These risks may also come from subtle mistakes that even "intelligent" people may make without realizing, like say modifying some procedure slightly. You claim that only "stupid" people are harmed by AP, but I would say that it is just as stupid to prepare kilogram quantities at a time.

Naturally everything within one's power to mitigate risk when dealing with consequences so severe should be taken, and one of the factors that would mitigate (not the same as eliminate) the most risk would be working with as small a batch size as possible. In the event some unforseen event should occur (which WILL happen eventually if done enough).

There was a thread on E&W about a similar topic, though it was much longer winded, it was in a thread called "cap sensetive AN mixes" IIRC, and may be good reference for someone who needs clairification here.

Remember, just because you were able to speed through a red light in a busy intersection once and not hit anything, does not mean its safe to do so!

[Edited on 24-6-2004 by blazter]
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AP

It's ashame that kid in Sweden died as a result of making AP.
Personally, I've never heard of AP being used commercially.
Perhaps it's too unpredictable for those purposes. If I'm wrong
don't hesitate to correct me.

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chemistr1
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All explosives have the ability to suddenly go wrong and spoil the party.
AP is unstable and requires respect. The same as NG or PETN or even the old and true BP.
The thing with big batches of what the uninformed masses sometimes refer as unstable explosives (all explosives are unstable by design) is that after a couple of these big batches the makers start to lose that respect and the beast bites them.
I have studied the hobby for almost 20 years and I still really respect the beast in it.
Its always there waiting to bite you.
I read some of the kids last posts and he had clearly lost the respect/fear of what he was handling.
I feel bloody terrible about what happened to him and it is instances like this that should make everyone in the hobby stop and think.
AP gets such a bad press because its so bloody simple to make and anyone can do it successfully once and then consider themselves as an expert on the subject.
I have survived intact for so long because I respect/fear and love the beast all in one.
Even though I know one day the beast will reach out and bite me.
As a great pyro once said:
there are old pyros
and there are bold pyros
but there are few old old and bold pyros

Marvin
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"AP is unstable and requires respect. The same as NG or PETN or even the old and true BP."

PETN and BP particually do not belong in the same thought as AP and NG.

Calling all explosives 'unstable' and saying they require 'respect' is taking simplification too far. A pencil balenced on its point is unstable, diamond is unstable. George W Bush is unstable. None of these things deserve respect because they are unstable and nor does it help.

AP is prone to chemical decomposition (unsurprising, its an organic peroxide), its a very volatile solid and it is sensitive to mechanical shock.
NG is a bit better, its still shock sensitive, a liquid slightly volatile, but a lot less prone to chemical decomposition when properly neutralised/dried. Its only its use in dynamites though that makes this safe enough to be used as a commercial explosive.
PETN is not volatile, its stable chemically and its insensitive to fire and mechanical shock.
BP isnt a high explosive, if its not contained its almost just a fire hazard.
TNT to introduce another one is very stable to shock and fire - essentially to the extent you can ignore these. Its insensitive to degree of neutralisation and very stable chemically. The biggest problem here is that its toxic.

Its not about grouping all explosives together and saying 'Have respect', its about choosing something to work with based on the safest thing you can feasably make and learning how to reduce the chances of accidents for that specific explosive. For BP you use non sparking tools, exclude flames and hot surfaces and you can expect that in normal handling nothing bad will happen. You can drop heavy objects on BP, you can grind it, you can pound or press it into tubes. Ball milling dry BP will always be a risk however there is no reason handling BP itself has to be regarded as dangerous. AP will always be unpredictable. While if handled well the probability it will go off is low, this is the limit of the control. The only sensible way to proceed is to assume it will go off and limit the damage it can do when it does.

AP is bad news on a psycological level as well. The reaction that makes it isnt nasty like a nitration and doesnt involve friction. The chemicals that make it are farmiliar. Small amounts of AP dont detonate unless its confined, giving a false feeling of safety and last but not least its a fluffy white powder with little density when made. Probably the most damaging aspect is the general excuse 'I cant get the chemicals for anything safer'.

"All explosives have the ability to suddenly go wrong and spoil the party. "
No. While in physics its true everything has a non zero probability, in real terms, for both chemistry and enginering there are safe explosives and there are unsafe ones. Sometimes the difference depends heavily on the manufacture, often it doesnt. As examples ;-

AP, NG, Guncotton. Even well made these compounds tend to degrade over time and can go off without external cause. In the first case the problem is intrinsic, in the latter cases its residuals from the production stage that can start autocatalytic breakdown of the explosive.

Mercury fulminate on the other hand gets more stable over time, eventually becoming inert and provided reasonable manufacture will not go off without an external cause. This is an intrinsic problem.

PETN, Lead Azide, Picric Acid, Tetryl etc, if made acceptably will not detonate without external cause, they behave predictably and reliably during handling and long term storage. Picric acid has seperate issues for safe handling that make this more difficult.

TNT, ANFO, BP, Even if badly made these pose virtually no danger of going off unexpectadly or becoming dangerously sensitive. Deliberatly altering chemicals or methods is dangerous, but normal contaminants will not adversly affect these explosives.

Most of the secondaries commonly used will tolerate mistakes, a dropped hammer, a lighted match, spilled solvent or acid, swearing, insulting its precursors, none of these will normally cause detonation though some will burn quite merrily. Stupid or not humans will always make mistakes, its foolish to assume otherwise but isolated mistakes do not have to have an unaccaptably high risk of death. Bulk AP *is* dangerous and not just because it amplifies a mistake into a catastrophy. If a 1 gram charge of AP has a certain probability of going off by itself then a 1kg charge has at least 1000 times the probability it will go off, because each 1 gram has the same and they add. Add to that the problems of heat build up in the larger volume of material and the additional problems caused by properly neutralising and washing much larger batches and the sheer likleyhood a human mistake is to affect a much larger volume of material and you start to see the full AP problem with its 1000 times consequences. Most people dont fully comprehend that a larger batch is disproportionatly more likley to go off as well as being vastly more damaging if it does.

There are explosives you can call safe and stable, and those only fit to be called unsafe and unstable. Grouping all explosives into the unstable catagory and telling people they will live a long life if they have respect is not the way forward, it doesnt match peoples experience and it renders a whole branch of chemistry only suitable for parlour tricks. Education is the way forward and reading obituaries might scare more than the usual percentage of teenybombers into it.
chemoleo
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Ah, I see.
G W Bush being unstable doesn't mean that he requires respect, while unstable AP does.
What a beautiful metaphor

Never Stop to Begin, and Never Begin to Stop...
Tolerance is good. But not with the intolerant! (Wilhelm Busch)
Psychopatic
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I should't make fun of this actually, it's very tragically. But a "joke" that appears on some swedish forums:

The guys name was Joel. And a couple of years ago there was a TV-show called "Joel-bitar". It was about a guy called Joel, which had Down's Syndrome. Nothing funny about that.

But "bitar" in Swedish means "pieces", so Joel-bitar = Joel-pieces...
fvcked
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As to that article above: maybe the study shows that youth are more likely to engage in dangerous activities because there are less things that seem "dangerous" for adults to do! People seem to think that because of ones age they can do more things safely, which is patently untrue. Oh well, at least the moron in the start of this thread *the one who died* didnt bring anyone with him.
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This swedish guy got warned by many members on RS.org not to make such big ass batches of AP. When dealing with energetic materials (and weapons) ignorance and exaggerated opinion of yourself is the way to disaster. Personally I think everyone gets what he/she deserves. When it comes to explosives it's the loss of limbs or life in the worst case.
Macgyver
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 Quote: Originally posted by Psychopatic I should't make fun of this actually, it's very tragically. But a "joke" that appears on some swedish forums: The guys name was Joel. And a couple of years ago there was a TV-show called "Joel-bitar". It was about a guy called Joel, which had Down's Syndrome. Nothing funny about that. But "bitar" in Swedish means "pieces", so Joel-bitar = Joel-pieces...

May he rest in pieces.....
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 Sciencemadness Discussion Board » Special topics » Energetic Materials » Boy killed in Sweden by homemade explosive Select A Forum Fundamentals   » Chemistry in General   » Organic Chemistry   » Reagents and Apparatus Acquisition   » Beginnings   » Responsible Practices   » Miscellaneous   » The Wiki Special topics   » Technochemistry   » Energetic Materials   » Biochemistry   » Radiochemistry   » Computational Models and Techniques   » Prepublication Non-chemistry   » Forum Matters   » Legal and Societal Issues