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Texium
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[*] posted on 7-4-2014 at 16:37
Good Energetic Materials for a Novice


While I am not a COMPLETE beginner in terms of chemistry in general, I have not tried much in terms of energetic materials.
So far, I've only made black powder and yellow powder.

Does anybody here have some ideas for energetic materials that would not be too dangerous, while still fairly impressive, that people like me who are new to energetic materials could synthesize?

BTW, I realize that I probably could have UTFSE, but I figured it would be nice and convenient for people like me to be able to find a thread of fairly safe but interesting suggestions.
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Zyklon-A
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[*] posted on 7-4-2014 at 16:45


Nitrocellulose is a fun easy energetic to prepare. If you have sulfuric acid.



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thesmug
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[*] posted on 7-4-2014 at 16:46


Wouldn't you also need Nitric Acid?
[edit] If you're really careful you could try nitrogen triiodide, assuming you have iodine.

[Edited on 4/8/14 by thesmug]
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copperastic
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[*] posted on 7-4-2014 at 16:56


Thesmug, Ive been wanting to do nitrogen triiodide for a while but im worried that it would sound like a gunshot and i might go to jail. Have you done it and did it sound like a gun shot?
Thanks

[Edited on 8-4-2014 by copperastic]




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thesmug
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[*] posted on 7-4-2014 at 17:08


It doesn't really sound like a gunshot, more like a firework. Where do you live (not in my basement)? This would help in suggesting experiments. Making nitrogen triiodide wouldn't be a good idea inside an urban area. I did mine in the middle of nowhere in Michigan.
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plante1999
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[*] posted on 7-4-2014 at 17:08


I would say that nitrocellulose is very safe and makes a great demo, although for some yet unclear reason sometime synth. fallowed carefully won't give a good quality product.

if you would like to try something that detonate readily, silver azide is quite easy to synthetise, and detonate with slight heating. The advantage over most other primary is the stability if stored in the dark. It is very sensitive to static, but if carefully handled it won't go off without reason, will keep well, and will be reliable when needed. It does not make large crystals when synthesized, which simplify the synthesis compared to the lead azide.

A standard first nitro aromatic synthesis is picric acid, but I would not recommend it, since its properties are not interesting to use as a demo (else then if you are into dying wool).

I don't recommend you to make any nitrate else then cellulose, since these compounds are inherently unstable and can be very dangerous often due to their low stability, high sensitivity and fast rate of decomposition in storage.

Peroxides are a no-no, unless you are experienced and want to test the properties of a few mg. Do not follow the trend of people that use them as primary.




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[*] posted on 7-4-2014 at 17:32


Black powder. No dealing with preparation of nitric acid and it lets you get your feet wet. Then you can play with all the fun ways of using it. NC is one option for the next step up, but picrates can be fun and don't have big runaway risks. You'll learn plenty of nitroaromatic chemistry that will serve you well for something else like TNT which is a safer cousin to the nitrate esters that plante1999 was talking about.
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[*] posted on 7-4-2014 at 17:35


I live in an urban area but I do have a membership to a gun club but i don't think they would let me do nitrogen triiodide there. Could i do like .5 gram amounts in my house? Also, do you have any experiments involving energetic materials i could do in a urban area.




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Zyklon-A
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[*] posted on 7-4-2014 at 17:39


Don't worry about that copperastic, it doesn't really sound like a gun shot. Just don't make much.
thesmug, No, you just need sulfuric acid and a nitrate salt.




[Edited on 8-4-2014 by Zyklonb]




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copperastic
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[*] posted on 7-4-2014 at 17:41


Ok zyklonb I also remember when i used to be into slingshots and i would fire those at a cardboard box and it would make a loud noise but no neighbors were annoyed or anything.



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[*] posted on 7-4-2014 at 18:34


The answer to detonating .5g of HE inside your house is no, unless you are wearing ear protection I suppose.
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[*] posted on 7-4-2014 at 19:50


I agree with Napolean Dynamite, 0.5g of nitrogen triiodide is actually kind of a lot. I would go with even lower amounts if you want to do it inside without worrying about your hearing.
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7-4-2014 at 20:01
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[*] posted on 7-4-2014 at 21:45


I don't know if there is ANY "good first synthesis" if you're completely new to it and on your own. But nitrogen triiodide certainly is NOT a good first lab.

I swiped a few grams of Iodine from the high school chemistry lab at age 16. Did the obvious thing with it, of course.

Performed the reaction with my mom's "clear ammonia" between getting home from school and going off to my part time job at a local restaurant. The batch was left drying on the filter paper, sitting on my desk- In my bedroom. Indoors. About 5' from my bed. With all my prized lab glass sitting next to it.

Bad planning, that.

When I got home, my lab glass was in tiny pieces all over the room. A LOT of it was in my bed... My dad was waiting up for me, drinking a beer and when he talked to me he was rather surprisingly calm and non-judgemental... All he said was: Don't make anything explosive in the house. Don't bring anything explosive you MAKE into the house. Good night.

The next day, my younger brother who had the bedroom next to mine told me that he had been horsing around with a friend, and banged into the wall separating our rooms. There was a large explosion on my side of the wall... He opened the door of his room just in time to see my father finish his sprint to my bedroom door. Dad opened the door and looked inside at the cloud of purple iodine vapor hanging over the ruins of my desk and said to himself out loud: "Oh. He knows how to make that now?"

Dad then closed my door and went back to the kitchen table, cracked a beer and continued sketching electronics circuits for his next day's work. Don't know how many more he downed before I got home that night-

It took me hours to clean up all that broken glass. If it had not gone off until I had come home and entered the room, I'd have probably suffered injuries from flying glass, possibly hearing damage and maybe lost an eye or eyes. I was as lucky as such a fool can be.

At Dad's funeral, his older brother told me the story about Dad getting arrested at age 13 for a fireworks experiment that broke a neighbor's window back before WWII. Guess it runs in the family.

[Edited on 8-4-2014 by Bert]




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[*] posted on 7-4-2014 at 22:12


Well that's why I said not to do it inside!
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[*] posted on 7-4-2014 at 22:22


Yup!

NOT INSIDE! It's something I repeat to people who are new to energetics quite often myself.




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[*] posted on 8-4-2014 at 13:13


Er, the request was for 'Good Energetic Materials for a Novice'

The words 'Good' and 'Novice' are there in bold letters.

Can anyone suggest something a little 'safer', rather than HE formulations ?

Build up to the neutron bomb slowly.
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[*] posted on 8-4-2014 at 14:57


Quote: Originally posted by aga  
Er, the request was for 'Good Energetic Materials for a Novice'

The words 'Good' and 'Novice' are there in bold letters.

Can anyone suggest something a little 'safer', rather than HE formulations ?

Build up to the neutron bomb slowly.


OK.

There is NOTHING in the area of energetic materials that is completely safe. We are talking degrees of safety here...

My best advice, after doing nearly everything in my earlier years in ah, shall we say "less than optimally reduced risk" fashion?

Find a mentor with hands on experience, (ideally with 10 fingers mostly present on those hands!) Energetic Materials is best learned in an apprenticeship situation, you just can't get it all from Internet & books, most especially if you're young, immortal and just itching to try out all the cool new possibilities.

Go here if you're 18 or over: Pyrotechnics Guild International

If you're under 18, go here: Junior Pyrotechnics Association

And the people suggesting black powder as a first energetic are correct. Start with low explosives in small amounts, work your way up.




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[*] posted on 8-4-2014 at 15:06


I agree with Bert.

Under the right supervision, I think black powder and nitrocellulose are the most legally accessible low and high order explosives, respectively. You should definitely get informed of the local laws and have acquaintances to, at the least, vouch for your character in a legal setting should you draw negative attention.
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[*] posted on 9-4-2014 at 03:59


Well before any of the complex synths, I would suggest perchlorate/Al flash mixtures. They aren't as safe as BP but, you're just dealing with mixing powders together, not mixtures of acid. That's what I steeped up to after BP. I you're just wanting the bang then you don't have to go any further. I'm kinda partial to reactive targets myself. I got tired of walking all the way down range just to see if I had punched a hole in the target.
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[*] posted on 9-4-2014 at 04:57


Things you should do (in order):
1) Black powder
2) Flash powder
3) Nitrocellulose
4) Other high explosives (ETN/RDX, etc.)

This also happens to be my progression (over a few years).




As below, so above.
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[*] posted on 9-4-2014 at 05:45


Nitric ester like ETN are not something to play with, especially ETN. Like I already said, they are unstable, sensitive, and of low stability. Else then a few exceptions they are not material to try on.

I would not conssider Flash powder to be something to try too.




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[*] posted on 9-4-2014 at 17:34


plante, the regular pyro mix 70/30 potassium perchlorate/aluminum is as close to safe as you can get when dealing with energetics above just black powder. If he's going to mess with any of it that would be the one to mess with. Do NOT work with chlorate mixtures until you have quit a bit more experience and are aware of proper mixing and safety procedures. Do not EVER mix chlorate and sulfur, they have and will spontaneously combust.
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[*] posted on 9-4-2014 at 19:06


Yep, perchlorate/aluminum was actually something else I was planning on doing, so I guess I'm on the right track.
By the way, I do absolutely everything outside, and I am very cautious when it comes to anything explosive, even black powder.
I'm not trying to make the biggest explosions I can like a kewl, I just want to explore another facet of chemistry that isn't exactly spoken of in high school chemistry class.
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[*] posted on 9-4-2014 at 20:16


If you are old/sensable enough to use a centre fire rifle

Ammonium Nitrate/pyro grade Al powder

95%:5% mass ratio

is pretty safe

just the shooting and distance from target is all you have to worry about

maybe working with ultra fine Al powder can be hazrdous if the proper precautions are not taken

you may need some rural land away from any one who may get upset by loud noises, as this is fairly "impressive"

[Edited on 10-4-2014 by feacetech]
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[*] posted on 9-4-2014 at 20:21


So you're saying to shoot at the AN-Al mixture with a gun? This I've gotta try!



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