Acetone peroxide

From Sciencemadness Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Acetone peroxide
IUPAC names
Other names
Mother of Satan
Triacetone triperoxide
C6H12O4 (dimer)
C9H18O6 (trimer)
C12H24O8 (tetramer)
Molar mass 148.157 g/mol (dimer)
222.24 g/mol (trimer)
Appearance White solid
Odor Odorless
Density 1.22 g/cm3 (trimer)[1]
Melting point 131.5 to 133 °C (268.7 to 271.4 °F; 404.6 to 406.1 K) (dimer)[2]
91 °C (195.8 °F; 364 K) (trimer)
Boiling point 97 to 160 °C (207 to 320 °F; 370 to 433 K) (detonates)
Solubility Soluble in acetone, chloroform, dichloromethane, methanol, toluene
Safety data sheet CAMEO
Related compounds
Related compounds
Methyl ethyl ketone peroxide
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
Infobox references

Acetone peroxide, often referred to as TATP or Mother of Satan, is an explosive organic peroxide with a vast, well earned reputation for maiming, terrorism, and 'kewlism'. Because of this, it is probably Sciencemadness's least favourite non-drug chemical, and posts involving this are usually ignored or ridiculed.

Acetone peroxide exists most commonly in the cyclic trimer form. Dimer and monomer forms also exist, as well as a more stable tetrameric form. The monomer form is known as dimethyldioxirane (or DMDO).



Chemistry with acetone peroxide is not done due to its low solubility and explosive properties.

Acetone peroxide burns very fast if unconfined (it still detonates even when unconfined in gram amounts however) with an orange flame, producing no smoke or ash. The explosion of TATP is primarily driven by entropy and generates relatively little heat.


Acetone peroxide exists as a monomer, a dimer and a trimer. All of these are white solids, insoluble in water, but soluble in organic solvents, such as chloroform and toluene.


TATP explodes very easily, often too easily. It is static, friction, shock and heat sensitive and can easily detonate unconfined.

Like most explosives, TATP more sensitive when dry than wet. However, more so than other primary explosives, TATP sublimes very quickly, depositing large unstable crystals on inconvenient places which can detonate without warning.


TATP is not available anywhere as it does not store at all well.

Organic peroxides have been used in numerous terrorism incidents, so producing or storing large amounts of this chemical is seen as intent to carry out such an act.


TATP is made by people who either don't know any better, or know exactly what they're doing. Because you're on this site, you know better, so don't make it. If your facilities only allow you to make this explosive, you shouldn't be making explosives. If you cannot figure out how to do this simple synthesis yourself, chances are you are not experienced enough to make it.

TATP is unpredictable. Detonations from static shock, bumping a container or even with no apparent reason at all have been reported.

If the synthesis is undertaken, the solution must be kept as cold as possible to limit the formation of the monomer and dimer which are even more chemically unstable (which is really, really saying something) than the trimer form, and to prevent the formation of highly lachrymatory and toxic chloroacetone.



As of yet, there is no riskless synthesis of acetone peroxide, and it is unlikely there will ever be one. Any single error or deviation from ideal conditions (which aren't even known entirely) in the synthesis can make the product formed either contain dangerous side products, or make it drastically more sensitive and unpredictable, and this is often the case. A huge danger in the storage of acetone peroxide is from its ability to sublime. In a container, the solid will sublime forming very unstable crystals on the lid and walls. This can easily lead to an explosion the next time the container is open, obviously with dire consequences. Another issue in the production of TATP is the production of the monomeric or dimeric forms, which are even less stable and can trigger detonation of an entire sample.[3]

As it is formed from common lab chemicals, care should be taken to avoid forming this substance accidentally from discarded chemicals. Organic molecules should always be kept away from even mildly concentrated solutions of hydrogen peroxide until thorough research on possible reactions has been conducted, as there are many, many other highly dangerous peroxides.

Due to its high friction sensitivity, grinding acetone peroxide in a mortar is a very bad idea.[4]


Acetone peroxide is a high explosive and cannot be safely stored in any amount.

A SM user has discovered that a mixture of TATP/MEKP stored in sealed containers underground at low and constant temperatures, show practically no decomposition, even after 13 years.[5][6]


Acetone peroxide can be rendered relatively benign by dissolving it in toluene. Even if the solution is saturated, there is almost no risk of detonation. Although AP can be destroyed by burning diluted solutions of peroxides or via thermal degradation, this method is too risky. Many common reducing agents, such as acidified KI, iron(II) sulfate, ammonium sulfate·iron(II) sulfate have shown to have little effect on peroxides. However, acetone peroxide can be reduced by refluxing it in ethanol or toluene for 1-2 hours or heated to 65°C for 6 hours, in the presence of an excess of tin(II) chloride. Another way to reduce acetone peroxide is by refluxing it in an organic solvent, such as benzene, in the presence of hydroquinone.[7]

Acetone peroxide can also be destroyed by refluxing it in the presence of soluble copper salts, such as [copper(II) acetate] (pH = 5.7).[8]

An even more accessible way is to reduce it with a suspension of ZnCl2/Zn, in either ethanol or water.


It is a federal offense to make, possess, or use TATP in the United States.

See also


  1. O'Neil, M.J. (ed.). The Merck Index - An Encyclopedia of Chemicals, Drugs, and Biologicals. Whitehouse Station, NJ: Merck and Co., Inc., 2006., p. 1649
  2. Federoff, Basil T. et al., Encyclopedia of Explosives and Related Items (Springfield, Virginia: National Technical Information Service, 1960), vol. 1, p. A41.

Relevant Sciencemadness threads