Sciencemadness Discussion Board

Life after detonation

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Yamato71 - 30-11-2012 at 15:07

First, the introductions.

I am a 59 year old Engineer and organic chemist. I hold a federal explosives permit and am licensed to possess, handle, synthesize and use high explosives. I only mention that so as to stress the point that if what happened to me could happen to me,then it could happen to anybody.

In the early morning hours of November 3rd, 2010, I attempted to synthesize erythritol tetranitrate (ETN), using a procedure I had come across here and other explosives websites. I had performed this synthesis dozens of times before without incident, until that Wednesday morning. I was preparing for a WWII reenactment that was scheduled for the next weekend at the local Army post, a gig that I had done 3 or 4 times a year for the past 3 years.

The ETN was needed for the electric squibs that I used to detonate half-pound buried Tannerite charges that were used to simulate artillery impacts. I began using electric blasting caps, which proved expensive and impractical since I had no legal way to store the caps where I needed to use them. Instead, I invented a tiny electric match that was dipped in several layers of chemicals, including ETN. When hit with a current, the squib made a small pop, no louder than a firecracker, but was energetic enough to fire the Tannerite.

Anyway, back to Wednesday morning, I chose to nitrate the erythritol using sulfuric acid and ammonium nitrate since I was out of white fuming nitric acid. This necessitated a recrystallization from hot methanol, which I proceeded to do in a large beaker on a radiant cooktop. I grabbed a 1L beaker and brought about 500 ml of MEOH to a low boil while dissolving 50 grams of crude brown ETN into the hot alcohol.

As I turned around to put up the container of dirty ETN, I heard a sound that made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. It was a loud TICK!, the sound of cracking glass, followed less than a second later by an even louder one. The beaker was cracking from the heat of the hotplate, and the second crack had opened a crack on the bottom of the beaker. As I watched, the MEOH/ETN solution flowed onto the hot surface. Before I could react, the leading edge of the pool of solution flashed to dryness and the precipitated ETN deflagrated, igniting the MEOH/ETN in the beaker. I now had a roaring fire in the stovetop and no good options open to me. For about 3 seconds, I did the singularly most stupid thing I have ever done in my 6 decades on this planet. I leaned in close and tried to BLOW OUT THE FIRE! The sharp crack of another glass fracture brought me out of suicide mode. It also made me pull my head back, which saved my life. What I should have done right then was drop to the floor and cover my ears. I'd give my left nut to be able to time travel back 2 years and do that. What I actually did was try to shove the burning beaker into the sink and drown the fire with water. As I reached for the beaker with both hands, my life was changed forever.

I barely remember the moment of detonation, aside from the curious sensation of electricity coursing through my hands. The actual explosion didn't seem as loud as it should have been, but having both eardrums blown out will do that. I remember standing there for a few seconds taking mental stock of my situation, not really sure of what had just happened. As what was left of my hearing began to come back, I began to hear a strange sound that reminded me of the sound that water from a hose makes when the stream hits dry concrete, sort of a splopping sound. I raised my left arm and discovered the source of the strange sound. Arching up from the stump of my left wrist was a half-inch wide torrent of bright red arterial blood that was splashing on the floor and had already pooled for a yard around my feet.

Instinctively, I tried to clamp off the blood flow with my right hand, but the mass of loose bones and tattered pink and yellow tissue that was attached to my right wrist was no longer a functioning hand. It had just begun to sink in that I had just blown off both of my hands when I heard my wife screaming from the bedroom. Above all else, I couldn't let her see my hands. I made a run for a downstairs bathroom and blocked the door closed with my body. By this time I was beginning to feel the effects of blood loss. It was also at this time that my nervous system began to regain function. That's when the pain started. Now we were both screaming. I managed to tell her to call 911 and that my blood type was A+. I had to staunch the bleeding, or I wouldn't live long enough for the EMT's to arrive. With no hands, that would be tough. I managed to pull several towels down from a shelf, cross my arms in front of my chest and lay face-down on the pile of towels. It must have worked because I made it to the hospital. I never lost consciousness and remember most of the ambulance ride. The last thing I remember was the EMT briefing the surgeon "traumatic bilateral amputation of the hands". I awoke sometime a day or two later to the sight of the bandaged stump where my left hand had been. I then looked to my right, expecting to see the same thing. What I saw instead was a miracle. Instead if a slim tapered bandage, my right arm terminated into a huge bulbous blood-soaked bandage. Somehow, the surgeon managed to find most of the pieces of my right hand and put them back together into something resembling a hand.

Fifteen surgeries later, I'm still getting my life back together. I wear a prosthetic left hand, actually a steel hook. I lost the tips of two fingers on my right hand. I sustained a degloving injury to my right thumb, nothing but bone and tendon was left. I was given two options, amputation or lengthy painful reconstruction. I chose the latter. In order to regrow tissue on my thumb, it was implanted into my abdomen for 2 months. After that delightful time in my life, I endured a dozen more surgeries to carve that mass into a useful thumb.

My life will never be the same. Please think of my accident while you make the energetic materials listed here. I'm not going to tell you not to experiment with them, I'm just asking you to be careful when doing so. I don't want anybody's wife to be handed their husband's wedding ring after a fireman found it embedded in the ceiling. How does one wrap their head around something like that?

BTW, the cause of the accident turned out to be the Chinese knockoff beaker that I bought at a kitchen store earlier that year. The "Pyrex" logo on another one bought at the same time, on closer inspection, read "Pyrox", with a tiny "made in China" text at the bottom. Instead of being made with Pyrex borosilicate glass, it was cheap soda-lime glass that couldn't stand up to heating. I never noticed the difference.

Please be careful.


[Edited on 1-12-2012 by Yamato71]

gutter_ca - 30-11-2012 at 16:24

Um, what?

BromicAcid - 30-11-2012 at 17:36

Thank you for presenting what happened to you in such a step by step manner. Yes, it was stupid to try and blow out the fire, but in the midst of what was happening I might have done the same. The thought processes that occur when things start to go wrong happen at a phenomenally fast rate. In Andrew Dequasie's book "The Green Flame" there is an incident involving an explosion and he describes the phenomenon thusly:

Quote:
To this day, I probably would not understand what panic is if I had not experienced it in that moment. I remain forever fascinated by the sensation. Some part of my mind that I didn't know existed took immediate command. This part of the mind operates in what I regard as "blink think". It isn't necessarily right or logical, but it is incredibly fast and decisive. Because it is fast, other things that are happening swiftly seem almost to be happening in slow motion.


I work with pyrophorics now, before that inhalation poisons, before that unknown hazardous waste. The degree of danger that we are in on a daily basis is only mitigated by our own individual expertise and protective controls that are put in place. But I think it's necessary sometimes to evaluate given stores like you have shared with us, the potential for danger that could possibly exist if we become too complacent.

You yourself didn't know about the true identity of your glassware but there are threads on this forum regarding using cheaper knock-off glassware. Few people however think of glassware as a safety device, something to keep the nasties on one side and everything else on the other. If there is one area you don't want to skimp, it is on safety especially considering the tortures that we put glassware through on a regular basis. In essence, we trust it with our lives.

Thank you again for sharing, and here is wishing you the best in your continued recovery from all of us.

Mailinmypocket - 30-11-2012 at 18:03

Thank you for sharing this experience and hopefully reminding those who work with energetics of just how fragile we are.

Best of luck in your recovery, and I am very sorry to hear about your experience.

franklyn - 30-11-2012 at 19:18

Your calamity punctuates that one's normal reaction to a jarring situation
can be entirely inappropriate. In your mind at that moment , this was to
you a commonplace fire. Any material that contains it's own oxygen
cannot be extinguished. In retrospect with time to appraise that moment
you are aware the only thing you could have done was to - R U N !

The object lesson to all is that the risks in activities that involve inherent
dangers , can be minimized , but never completely reduced to zero.
Although very unusual , even someone with knowledge and experience
can be fated misfortune. This serves as an alert to those who handle
explosive materials and do not give it due caution. The first thing always
to consider before beginning anything having a potential for injury is to
plan and have in mind the action to take when things go unexpectedly
wrong. In the long term it is quite likely to occur , no matter how careful
one is.

http://www.sciencemadness.org/talk/viewthread.php?tid=16612

http://www.sciencemadness.org/talk/viewthread.php?tid=15150&...

http://www.sciencemadness.org/talk/viewthread.php?tid=15150&...

.

[Edited on 1-12-2012 by franklyn]

elementcollector1 - 30-11-2012 at 19:47

I'm just glad you survived at all!

(Also, I wouldn't be surprised if "Pyrox" got a call from the local law enforcement or some such.)

Thanks for sharing this, and I really do hope your life keeps on becoming better.
I've been extraordinarily lucky while handling such things as flooding my garage with chlorine vapor, among other things. (Unfortunately, my garage has not been so lucky.)
The amount of times I could've died while doing stupid things is phenomenally high, and it gives me a new perspective on life sometimes.
Not that I should just not take any danger, but that I should be more careful with the known dangers I'm taking, and try to cover the potential unknown ones. I don't always do this, but whenever I'm doing something serious, I generally take as many precautions as I deem necessary.
Which is still too little.

My thoughts are a bit jumbled, I know, but I hope everyone understood.

Yamato71 - 30-11-2012 at 19:50

I did a lot of small things wrong, including working at 4am while I was dead tired. Just as is the case for any disaster, it was a series of mistakes, poor decision making and just blind dumb luck that bit me in the ass. Removal of any one of these factors would probably have averted this accident.

I can't undo what happened, so the only logical move is to share the experience with everyone here in the hopes that I can shed a little light on the dark side of our hobby. I'm not going to claim that if, by sharing my story, I can prevent one maiming, that it would have been worth it. That's just total crap. Saving an entire busload of nuns from driving over a cliff wouldn't even the score. Losing both hands to an explosion is one of the most horrifying experiences one can experience. Trust me. If you don't want to go through life like me, don't get careless and overconfident like I did. Thus endeth the lesson.

BTW, I've got to hand it to this group. The quality of writing I've read here is outstanding. Thank for your expression of support, it is greatly appreciated.


[Edited on 1-12-2012 by Yamato71]

CaliusOptimus - 30-11-2012 at 21:11

I don't think any of us can understand what kind of anguish an accident like this can cause, but I'd like to give you my sincerest thanks for telling us how it was for you.

Thank you for sharing your story.

hissingnoise - 1-12-2012 at 05:27

Quote:
BTW, I've got to hand it to this group. The quality of writing I've read here is outstanding.

Your chillingly well put account is probably the most important message posted here.
Many thanks, and we all wish you the best . . .



watson.fawkes - 1-12-2012 at 07:39

Quote: Originally posted by Yamato71  
the cause of the accident turned out to be the Chinese knockoff beaker that I bought at a kitchen store earlier that year.
The most important thing I take away from this story is the importance of planning for single-point failure. You had one failure of a beaker, and almost immediately everything went to hell. Although the quality of the glass was indeed poor, making such failure more likely, all glass can fail in such ways for reasons that may only be now after the fact, if that. In your situation, and in retrospect, the danger could have been mitigated by using a beaker-within-beaker arrangement, with some kind of heat transfer medium between them.

The lesson should be general, though. One that strikes me as deserving special attention is the use of fume hoods. If a fume hood is operating over a reaction in a sealed system, it's acting as a safety device. In order to release fumes from the reaction, the system seal has to break and the fume hood has to fail, two points of failure. On the other hand, if the fume hood is used to continuously evacuate fumes from an open reaction, it is no longer acting primarily as a safety device but instead has become part of the experimental apparatus. The most likely way that a fume hood could fail would be power loss. If the fan stops, what happens to the reaction? It's something that should be considered in advance. Another good practice in such situation is to have the blower on an uninterruptible power supply (UPS). Even if you only have four minutes of reserve power, that should be enough time to make the reaction safe, if you've planned how to do that in advance.

simply RED - 1-12-2012 at 10:43

watson, or just use water bath...

I remember once - neating lead nitrate and sulphuric acid to get c.HNO3 and the jar (jam jar with screw cap) broke - but it was in the water bath and nothing happened except the batch was ruined...

Anyway, accidents can happen from 1000 sources and thinking that you are immune is not wise...

Phantom - 1-12-2012 at 15:24

Well, I don't know what to say. This post made me nostalgic. I had any accident as well but nearly not as bad as yours.

Did these things changed your social life?

Btw, can you post some pictures?

Thank you for sharing your accident, it might save someone's life.

[Edited on 1-12-2012 by Phantom]

The_Davster - 2-12-2012 at 15:37

Thanks for sharing your story. I have stickied it so others will see it. Wishing you all the best in recovery.


Yamato71 - 2-12-2012 at 17:00

Sorry guys, but I really don't want to see my photos show up on any of the gore sites on the net. Once you post something like that on the internet, it's forever, and these photos are intensely personal to me. I can however, describe them for you. Obviously, I wasn't the one taking photos, but they were taken at the hospital and in my home some hours after the accident. I can't even bring myself to look at them 2 years later without getting bummed out. Trust me, they aren't pretty.

The photo of my left hand looks something like a string mop saturated with tomato sauce and hanging straight down. A jagged stump of bone stuck out of my wrist and a few of the metacarpal bones were protruding from the tattered red, white and yellow tissue. My chest, arms and throat were extensively peppered with shrapnel, mostly glass, from the beaker and stove top. Glass is still working its way out of my body and probably will for the rest of my life. Miraculously, my face and eyes were almost untouched by the blast. Only two small shrapnel wounds were visible along my jaw line. When they were probed, the surgeon removed the two pieces of shrapnel. Both were pieces of bone from my left hand. Both eardrums were ruptured, but so far only one has healed, meaning at least one more surgery is in my future.

The kitchen had all the windows blown out and strings of bloody tissue were splattered over the ceiling and walls. Arterial spray covered the floor, appliances and the carpet all the way to the downstairs bathroom. I lost so much blood in the bathroom waiting on the EMT's that it flowed back under the door and into the hallway, where it was tracked all over the house by all the cops and firemen. In one photo, a portion of my left ring finger, complete with my wedding band, can be seen embedded in the ceiling above the kitchen stove.

I wouldn't say that my social life suffered. If anything, this episode cemented my relationships. If it weren't for the emotional and physical support given to me in the weeks and months after the accident, I'm sure that I would probably would not have survived, or even wanted to. I have worked as a broadcast engineer for nearly 40 years and I worked extensively with my hands every day. For the first 2 months, my right thumb was surgically embedded into my abdomen, so I didn't have the use of either hand. Trust me, having to rely on somebody else to wipe your ass for you is about as demeaning and depressing as it gets. The only positive thing about being trussed up like that was that it made it damn near impossible to off myself just when the urge to do so was strongest.

It's now been 2 years and I'm adapting slowly to the loss of my hands. I'm still in a great deal of pain, phantom pain in my missing left hand and very real pain in my mangled right hand. The pain management doctor helps, but having to depend on narcotics for temporary relief isn't something that I relish doing, but without them life would not be worth living.

Let's not even bring up the subject of PTSD

Yamato71 - 2-12-2012 at 17:12

Thanks for the sticky, Davster. I hope some good comes of it.

S.C. Wack - 2-12-2012 at 18:15

At the risk of being flippant, I have to ask about non-medical repercussions of this.

I can confirm that once things go wrong, it's hard to stop yourself from making things worse. A simple flaming toluene/counter incident turned into a flaming hand/everything incident. The thinking part of your brain is shut off as the primal part takes control.

Yamato71 - 2-12-2012 at 18:38

What non-medical repercussions would you like to know about?

isobutane - 2-12-2012 at 18:57

I have been lurking on this forum for quite a while, yesterday saw this topic. I wanted to join but, for some reason this site was down or something. Anyways I joined about 2 or 3 minutes ago. I had my own run in when I was younger and really stupid with energetics. I do not want to go into detail but I will say that. The left hand is missing distil section of some of the fingers (thumb, index, and middle). After that run in I put down energetics for about one month I was not even full healed still had bandages on my hand. I was back into energetics. My reasoning was that I was tired and i did so many things wrong and that if I thought through what I did with energetics I would not get hurt again. ( I did not get hurt again). So that really showed I had a love for them up till yesterday I though I would not stop. When I saw this topic it cemented a lot a realities in my head. (when I found this topic I was actuality was researching cheddites) (FYI I love electrochemistry) I knew a way that should have prevented this incident that no one brought up. If you were to preheat your solvent and then add you compound (ETN can take the thermal shock) then this would never have had happened. With that being said would it have slipped my mind? YES if I did it often it would have and the same thing would have happened to me. So with that once I see the fire and the beaker is broken would I have put my head over to blow it out? I would like to say no but deep down inside I would think that I would. Would I have done every thing that you did that caused this to happen? YES. So this really connected with me and made me stop this dangerous hobby even more so then seeing my own hand partially blown off. I still have a love for chemistry in general but I had the most interest in energetics. Seeing my hand dismembered and feeling that tingling sensation in your hand as a ER doc pulls on a splintered piece of you thumb bone still attached to you hand. Even that did not do what reading this post did. I am glad that you posted this as you most likely saved me along with many others from having a similar fate. I have found my self in a bunch of similar situations and seen others in these life and death this s**t is going out of hand quick people NEVER rise the the occasion the best they do is fall to the level of their training but often times we fall to the level of our instincts. I know this is a long post and I have no intent to derail but I though I needed to get this out.

12AX7 - 2-12-2012 at 22:07

Wow. Absolutely chilling. Thank you for posting your tale.

I work with high power electronics every day. It's very easy to wave your hands around cold copper bus bars and not think anything of it, just as it can be easy to handle just another beaker of clear liquid.

I have to remind myself, every time I'm working around high voltage, of what a real arc flash looks like. I've seen the videos and I hope not to recreate one in person.

Arc flash is an analogous phenomenon, with less peak power (it can cause covers to blow off, but nothing like a detonation), longer duration and much higher temperatures. A locker-sized cabinet with sundry components inside can turn its entire air space into a cloud of plasma in under a milisecond. The bodily hazards of this business are typically not so much skeletal as explosives are, but can be just as disfiguring. Without approved protective gear, an arc flash will burn away skin. Direct contact with live electricity, of course, has the further hazard of electrocution, which causes heart fibrillation and internal burns.

We live in a dangerous world. It takes a wise man to navigate those hazards.

Tim

Motherload - 3-12-2012 at 00:59

Wow. Sorry about your lab gone wrong.
But thank you for enlightening us with your experience. Hopefully this or anything like it never happens again to any one of us.
For this very reason ... I don't by my shit online.
It's one thing if you paid too much for a Rolox watch .... It's definitely very expensive if your equipment lets you down.
I am very sorry for you experience.

SM2 - 3-12-2012 at 09:15

A timely warning. The lesson? Thoroughly test the actual glass you'll be using. Burn it in. Do do that w/ water. Also good Pyrex is properly ahneeled, and should survive the stress of a red hot source with no water inside it, just dry, then directly into an ice bath. Now, I'm not saying it's good practice, but doing this a couple times successfully, ruggedizes the Pyrex even more. The lesson then is to be comfortable with the glassware you are using. Unfortunately, Pyrex randomly cracks as well, but usually after 2-300 cycles.

Ral123 - 3-12-2012 at 10:37

What's with that focus on the quality of the glassware? Hot plate and that amounts of energetic material is dangerous, specially ETN. I don't have much experience with ETN, but 50g in 500ml seems quite inert to me. Now saturated ETN solution on a hot plate with cracking beaker is a horrifying thing for the people with experience with ETN. Do I lack of imagination or EGDN is much more forgiving? /I rely on that/

99chemicals - 3-12-2012 at 16:56

Personally I have never worked with any explosives other than some Bp based compositions. I do not plan on ever making any primarys or any self oxidizing explosives that will detonate w/o confinement.

I know now know that I should check my beakers. Especially when using a flammable or combustible solvent.

I agree with Ral123 1g per 10ml does not seem explosive. The hot plate must have been pretty hot to ignite the methanol, I guess that all the methanol flash vaporized and the ETN precipitated then exploded.

I am sorry that such an accident occurred all blamed on Chinese glass.

Sedit - 3-12-2012 at 17:37

This is the reason I stay away from energetics as well as strong poisons. Its like 12AX7 was talking about. I use to play with a lot of electricity as a kid making Tesla coils and TEA lasers and there was always the ever present danger knowing that if I am not careful I could get seriously zapped or killed, however it seemed as though no matter how cautious I was, using insulated gloves keeping one hand behind my back ect... I would eventually get zapped sooner or later at the very least once every six months.

When it comes to energetics that ever possible accidental "zap" could kill one or have life long consequences all to easy. I hope all that come here reading this thread think about this before making energetics or psychoactive substances for that matter because sooner or later you will get zapped no matter how cautious and its a matter of pre-planning that determines how detrimental that zap turns out to be. For instance if I was not in the total habit of working with one hand behind my back when playing with high voltage there is good odds I would not be here today.

Ral123 - 3-12-2012 at 21:44

The hot plate didn't ignite the methanol, the first flash of ETN did.
Only accidental explosions I've had were micro amounts of hmtd popping under my feet while I walk around. IMO explosives can be much safer hobby then for example skiing with enough respect to safety and discipline. I don't see what can go wrong with for example TNP synth. /except a big mess in the lab/ Make TNP booster and make a detonator that is inserted by a spring into the booster after 2/3 of the fuse is burned.

hames - 3-12-2012 at 23:20

I recrystalise my etn with ten grams of etn per hundred millilitres of ethanol at about 40-50 degrees C using the hotwater out of my tap which comes out at approximately 65 degrees C, I havent used methanol but I would consider that solution fairly concentrated.

caterpillar - 4-12-2012 at 13:33

Well, well. I'm surprised, what stupid thing well- experienced people make. Dear @Yamato71, why didn't you use simple hot water bath? And as I got from your article, you tried to evaporate MEOH in your own kitchen? Its vapor is very toxic. Such op must be performed only with proper ventilation or at open air. And no fire extinguisher in a hand-reach when you worked with large amount of flammable liquid (to say nothing about dissolved hi- explosive? I can see only typical syndrome "I hold Gog's balls in my right hand". You broke so many rules that I can only say that result was more than logical. I made my own stupid things (http://www.sciencemadness.org/talk/viewthread.php?tid=16612&...), but at least I never claimed that I was very experienced boy and therefore I can ignore all precautionary measures.

Yamato71 - 4-12-2012 at 14:44

Thanks for getting my point, cat. I screwed up! Me, with more than 40 years of lab and explosives experience. I screwed up and because of that fact my wife opens the ketchup bottles now. If I can make such a dreadful series of mistakes, anybody can, only in this field of study, mistakes are often bloody, hideous and second chances are extremely rare. Actually, the outcome of this accident was better than I deserved. Had detonation occurred while I was blowing on the beaker, the outcome could have been far worse than death. My surgeon is of the opinion that such a scenario would have scoured out my eyes, ripped off my ears and de-fleshed my face, without killing me. If that had happened, I'd likely be going through life now blind, deaf and ugly as a mud fence.

[Edited on 4-12-2012 by Yamato71]

[Edited on 5-12-2012 by Yamato71]

caterpillar - 4-12-2012 at 20:37

Well, I'll describe MY OWN experience with more details. I think, I have no need to reproduce here what my friend told about you- surely you did it many times and I cannot add something new. Things, yeah, could have been much worse.

Nitrator - 8-12-2012 at 16:51

How come no glass got launched into your body or face?

Yamato71 - 8-12-2012 at 19:28

Who said no glass was launched into my body or face? I soaked up an enormous amount of pulverized glass and hot shrapnel, mostly in my chest, arms and neck. Remarkably, with the exception of two small holes in my chin containing fragments of bone from my shattered fingers, my face survived fairly intact. To this day, 764 days after the accident, tiny pieces of glass and bone are still painfully working their way out of my skin.

[Edited on 9-12-2012 by Yamato71]

neptunium - 8-12-2012 at 20:08

i have always been terrified of glass..and this is not helping! case in point..
http://www.sciencemadness.org/talk/viewthread.php?tid=13214&...

always stay away from heating glassware..

Nitrator - 9-12-2012 at 17:44

I figured you would have mentioned it if it happened. Seems like it would be an integral part of your narrative of the incident.

You're very fortunate to not have had an eye pierced or something like that.

caterpillar - 10-12-2012 at 00:43

Well, here is the most stupid action of mine. It was in 1969. I was started with home made black powder and soon realized that it would be interesting to prepare something more efficient. But I had failures by failures. The only compound that I was able to synthesize was gun cotton- few grams only. I burned some hexamine in RFNA and got only red smoke instead of RDX. I made some stinking black shit instead of picric acid. Once I tried to blow up something simple like AN + Al- 3:1, 200gr approximately. I used as a detonator brass case with my black powder. Actually, I was waiting for nothing extra ordinal. But it was something! Tremendous sound and fountain of fire. I wanted to repeat this achievement, but without success. Mixtures of AN with Al wanted to detonate no more. I told myself, that I would get them to do what I wanted and prepared few grams of mercury fulminate. At that time I used mixture of AN + dinitronaphthalene (I do not sure, what it really was- at least, I tried to prepare this compound). A tin from under cacao was filled with aforementioned mixture. But I did not use a separate blasting cup. Instead, I made a small hole in the charge and simple filled it up with MF (I made it in open space, not in my home, but it was very weak excuse). I do not remember now, what I used to press MF- a match or my finger, but at least it did not explode at that very moment. I had a fuse too- an ancient paper rope, boiled with KNO3 and dried. But this so-called “fuse” made sparkles and did not wanted to burn properly. Fire died down once and twice. When I ignited it at the third time, there was the rest no longer than a match. I got up, made one step aside and turned my head to the right to see if it burns. Sound was very weak, but I saw flying grass and immediately realized that it was me who flied above it. I did not lose conscience. There was no smoke, but only some sand in air. I got up and started to examine myself. The right side of my trousers was covered with soul and blood. Drops of blood were on my right arm too. My ankle-bone was thick as if someone hit it with a stick. Steel clasp at my right shoe was cut in half with a splinter. I realized that this splinter most likely was now in my leg. And I permanently heard not very loud hi- frequency noise. Well, what I had to do? The first idea was how to hide this accident from my parents. But soon I mustered, that in such case it hardly would be done. Nothing to do, I took my bike and ride home. My dad called a nurse, what lived in our home. She washed my injured leg, and I remember what I thought, looking at blood, draining from many holes on my leg and slowly transforming into dark red gel. Believe or not, but my idea was: “what a pity, it could be used for fishing". Then they bring me to the nearest hospital, where I spend one week. They made nothing with me there except bandaging what could be done in my home, of course. There was some strange consequences of this accident- next day I couldn’t walk at all and after three days I had to stop twice and breathe when I was going up to the second floor. Yeah, splinters made his way out of my body for some years after it. Some still are there, but they do not make me troubles (but twice they were discovered in airports when I was going through metal detectors). But in fact I have to admit, that the price for such experience was not very hi. Later I lost my right eye, but it was absolutely different story.

KonkreteRocketry - 21-12-2012 at 00:49

Wow, how are you now, so you saved 1 hand ? How did you type all this btw ? lol ?

[Edited on 21-12-2012 by KonkreteRocketry]

Antiswat - 29-12-2012 at 14:18

wow, thats a crazy thing to survive..
i never tried anything alike, but that you end it telling people to be careful, and not telling to stop is the wisest..
guess it would be a good idea to heat up every beaker you buy with something like water in it before you do it with high explosives or anything alike..
huge respect for you coming back and telling us all about this!

Yamato71 - 30-12-2012 at 16:34

Thanks. The decision to post this did not come easily, but I feel that doing so would be a way to salvage some good out of this horror show.

Ral123 - 2-1-2013 at 10:32

Quote: Originally posted by Antiswat  
wow, thats a crazy thing to survive..
i never tried anything alike, but that you end it telling people to be careful, and not telling to stop is the wisest..


My body is kinda busted up from sports and work. Chemistry is one of the safer things I do. One does not simply stop what they are good and passionate about. Sometimes this happens:
http://9gag.com/gag/6181144?ref=fb.s /has happened to me, but with pyrotechnic composition instead of the chain saw.
Then only safety measures and small amounts is what may keep you from big harm. In my opinion energetic materials can be safer then for example skying...

Motherload - 3-1-2013 at 02:01

I have received third degree burns on my hands and first to second on my face ..... Fucking around with Armstrong mix..
I used to put a couple of dabs of Armstrong mix wetted with acetone in aluminium foil and roll it up into wizard balls as when I would huck them at the ground they would go off with a flash and a puff of thick smoke.
Impressive .... To friends who didn't know chemistry !!
Little did I know .... That acetone can evaporate from a closed film can !!!!
And when the next time I popped the lid to make "wizard balls" ...... poof !! 3/4 of a film canister filled with Armstrong mix goes off within a few inches of my face.
My fingers were scorched ..... My face was numb .... And all I could do was cough .....
And that's all I could do for a few days straight .... Along with a weird metallic taste in my mouth.
Then on the fourth day my parents showed me a mirror ..... I burst into tears .... I looked like a freak show. I couldn't be taken to a hospital ...... Try and explain how I got burnt with controlled substances.
I can thank GOD cause I healed over time ... And just fine ... No scars.
I am VERY VERY Fortunate. The incident that took place was my stupidity and I did not blame chemistry .... Which is why i still partake in this sport.
But having said that ... I did learn a few valuable lessons..
Never underestimate Murphy's law and respect chemical energy
I am fine now (physically anyways .... Lol) ... Learned from my mistakes and of others. I'll always keep learning ... The day I stop to learn is the day I die..

[Edited on 3-1-2013 by Motherload]

triplepoint - 3-1-2013 at 22:37

Yamato71 - thank you for the reminder. I think every person on this board needs to hear what can happen when things go wrong (and I certainly include myself). We all know it intellectually, but irrationally think "it won't happen to me". The only way to be sure of that is to live in a bubble. Short of that, we all have to try to make our luck by taking reasonable precautions and planning for when the unexpected happens. In an emergency, people don't think, they react. Planning and drilling help to shape these reactions at a time when we have the luxury of thinking things through. It helps to convert an emergency into a contingency, in the military's words.

Glucose Oxidase - 4-1-2013 at 01:32

Thank you for sharing your story and I'am sorry for your loss

but why didn't you run like hell when you heard the crack?

lab-ware loss is not equal to the loss of a limb for sure

badabooom - 9-1-2013 at 00:25

I don't mean to be rude or sound insensitive, but how is it that an engineer with 40 + years of experience with explosives and chemistry uses procedures obtained from this site? Could you not have calculated everything yourself?
Even if you did use the procedures from this site, a well experienced chemist or engineer would have taken safety into consideration, that is what engineers do.

I somehow have a hard time believing this story to the full extent. I do not want to trash you in any way, if everything is true then you have my absolute condolences and sincere apology. Whether or not this is what it is, there are still many lessons that can be learnt from it and all the people that has had incidents and were willing to share the details with us.

I also made many mistakes when I was younger. I nearly blinded myself with a blast of hot sand coming from the 25g flash powder charge exploding under the trash can lid I was standing on... I was 15 at the time and no experience and no training, just a skinny pimple faced teenager that wanted to impress his friends with mindless acts.



[Edited on 9-1-2013 by badabooom]

Yamato71 - 9-1-2013 at 12:33

Oh you can believe it. Those 40 years of experience include the first 20 that were done in the kitchen and garage, without benefit of an organic chemistry education. I went back to school on my 40's. I've been licensed less than ten years, but I do indeed have more than 40 years of experience in energetics. As for using methods found on this site, any professional chemist will tell you that some of the most creative chemistry in the world is underground chemistry. This is especially true for underground drug chemists. The government keeps banning and regulating access to precursors and the kitchen chemists keep coming up with work-arounds. The same holds true for this community. Don't sell yourselves short, some of the most ingenious chemistry happens in forums such as this one. If you read my account again, you'll see that I resorted to an alternate method of nitration because I was out of WFNA. I didn't get into trouble because I used a method I read in this forum, I got into trouble because I did it badly.

woelen - 10-1-2013 at 23:23

Quote: Originally posted by SM2  
A timely warning. The lesson? Thoroughly test the actual glass you'll be using. Burn it in. Do do that w/ water. Also good Pyrex is properly ahneeled, and should survive the stress of a red hot source with no water inside it, just dry, then directly into an ice bath. Now, I'm not saying it's good practice, but doing this a couple times successfully, ruggedizes the Pyrex even more. The lesson then is to be comfortable with the glassware you are using. Unfortunately, Pyrex randomly cracks as well, but usually after 2-300 cycles.
It's a good idea to first test the glass ware with water, I also do this when I get new glassware. But the second suggestion of putting a red hot flask in ice water seems quite stupid to me. What if this introduces a small crack, which goes unnoticed? Then at a later time this can cause big accidents when the flask is full of toxic or flammable material.

isobutane - 11-1-2013 at 00:16

Or use preheated solvents, that way there are no explosives present while heating. That way if there is a crack big F***ing deal let the solvent spill all over the place and burn, so long as there are no explosives present while the heat source is present.

But you guys are missing the big point. YOU are NOT safe while handling or manufacturing explosives. Just because you read a few not what to do because someone did that and it ruined their life does not mean you know what to do to be safe. Max Klemke (aka myfanwy) died because of this... he thought that since most people make this mistake that he could avoid that and be safe.

I realize little can change and nothing will change the mind of a stubborn person. Energetics are one of the worse things to do this with. Max Klemke he kept on working with toxins even after a case of hydrogen cyanide poisoning. I kept on working with energetics after i blew off parts of three of my digits, but where we differ is i realized that stay safe from these dangerous compounds.

I know people use peroxide caps and all kinds of unstable stuff. that is where most people go wrong with the caps. This is rare absent minded that a person would have an accident with a secondary or borderline secondary. This is what i mean though was the author of this thread stupid in what he did yes, was he usually stupid probable not. It is that one incredibly stupid decision or reaction you make that ruins it all. Like when you lose your car keys, misplace the tv remote, throw away the new milk jug and put the empty back in the fridge. You feel stupid for doing these thing, but they can happen and they will the stakes are much higher though.


isobutane - 11-1-2013 at 00:47

I was young and stupid when i did what i did. (by the way this will be the first time i have ever shared this full story with anyone it has been decades). It resulted in loss of the distil section of my thumb, index, and middle finger. It was retarded what i did, but this kind of thing can and will happen to you. By the time you realize what you just did all you can see is white and all you can hear is ringing in your ears, everything will seem slow motion for a few long seconds. You will not feel any thing but well it's a feeling that can not be described in the English language when you try to move an you are stunned. When you snap back into it you well hopefully you won't have to experience the rest, because it does not get better for a while.

I played around with peroxides (mainly htmd). I built a cap that was about 2.5" long out of a plastic drinking straw. it had one hot glue plug. It was meant for a particular AN charge. I had heard of incidents here the htmd or other explosives would go off while pouring the compound into the casing due to static. I was smarter than that (again knew of one thing though i was invincible) so what did i do? when i put in the hot glue plug in the center of it i put a length of copper wire though the center to ground it. It did not go off while i was pressing the cap full with htmd.

after a while my AN compound i used became obsolete. so i had not use for the cap. keep in mind i both lived in side a small town, and that cap had been storing for months. BAD idea.

I had a way that i liked which was to take a cardboard shipping tube, and on the end cap for that glue on a smaller cardboard tube. i would make an ematch ( a make shift one), and i would put it though the end cap, and into the smaller tube. I would pack cotton around the smaller tube inside the bigger one. I would then fill ht e smaller tube (while using the ematch to ground it) with my primary, and seal it up with modeling clay.

I made one of these using sewing needles and steel wool to make an ematch. So i needed some primary for it... What else would you do, but go over to the tool chest and grab the cap that you don't need anymore. So in my right hand a grand the cap and pinched it, then wiggled it back and forth the htmd started coming out, then i realized what i was doing, so what else to do but grab the cap in your left hand and cut it with some scissors. I do not remember whether or not i cut the cap slowly or if a snapped it closed so i would hear the sound of the scissors snapping shut. Any ways that was the moment of detonation. You will not remember it the moment that will change your life that most will not be part of your memory, just white vision an ear ringing. You will snap back to reality in about 4 seconds depending on charge size, but it feels like forever.

I was young and stupid. I had one brain fart that messed it all up. I had worked with tatp and htmd for years before that with out incident. My theory is that the grounding wire acted as an anvil and caused it to go off, also storing it for more then a few minuets was a bad idea. If you keep on working with energetics something like this will happen to you given enough time. People try to say that these primary are just so sensitive that they will go off to the touch, or that the pressure caused by closing a door can set off any of it in the room. They do this to prevent people from using them. It does not work and should be stopped now. Anybody who wants to make it and has the chemical will, and they will do sensitivity testing on it, and it won't seem nearly as bad as described so they feel safe around it. This got me as it had gotten many others. the moment that you are not so scared of them is the one that the explosives will get you in. When you are damn close to shitting your pants from fear and respect for the compound you are working with you will remember proper code for dealing with it, and what it takes to set it off.


badabooom - 11-1-2013 at 01:48

Quote: Originally posted by isobutane  
If you keep on working with energetics something like this will happen to you given enough time.



I must disagree with you there. Given the proper amount of training and experience and also having the correct attitude can make all the difference. A good example of this is Dr. Sidney Alford.

I must also agree with you in saying that people should always respect the energetics they are working with, but that respect should not be limited to the energetics but should also be taken into consideration for the chemicals you are working with as some may be toxic and highly reactive by themselves.

I don't want to beat a dead horse but, Peroxides is a big No No! Unfortunately it is the starting point for less experienced experimenters as this is possibly the easiest energetic to make. The synthesis itself is also hard to stuff up (compared to Nitrations). Unfortunately this ease comes at a price that is not worth it. The fact that peroxides are notoriously dangerous combined with inexperienced people is a recipe for disaster. Typing TATP or HMTD into the you tube search bar results in numerous youngsters playing around with the stuff.

There is a reason why these peroxides are not used commercially. However I still don't believe that it is energetics that injure people, its people that injure people. Its that one lapse in judge and concentration that could end ugly.

And yes, it can happen to ANYONE! No one is invincible and no one is immune. The only thing you can do is to be very careful and have all the required safety measures in place. Don't take short cuts! We all did it at some point, decided not to wear our safety glasses because its just a "quick" experiment. I remember when I was very young and still playing with the energetics as if it were fireworks, I had done so REALLY stupid shit! Like melt sealing a straw filled with NG! and assembling a 500g ANFO charge with a TATP cap and a 10ml NG booster, then carrying the live charge for over 4km to the testing site in 40C temperatures. How I had no incident is either up to dumb luck or some form of devine intervention. Fortunately I had learnt my lesson from close calls only and other's mistakes.



hissingnoise - 11-1-2013 at 03:58

Quote:
A good example of this is Dr. Sidney Alford.

Not to mention Alfred Nobel who did his thing at a time when NGl was new, feared, misunderstood and apparently really only useful as a drug for relief of angina . . .


isobutane - 11-1-2013 at 11:25

Quote: Originally posted by badabooom  
Quote: Originally posted by isobutane  
If you keep on working with energetics something like this will happen to you given enough time.



I must disagree with you there. Given the proper amount of training and experience and also having the correct attitude can make all the difference. A good example of this is Dr. Sidney Alford.




Yeah Dr.Sidney is difference though. I guarantee he knows as much about energetics as any living man could reasonably know. He knows just about every thing about all the ins and outs of the science. If people are reading about this on the internet and using the info they find on the internet they are no Dr. Sidney Alford. He is pretty much one of a kind.

He started learning about military explosives at a very young age. He dedicate his life to learning and improving on them. I would expect nothing less for the amount of effort he put into the field.

Also yeah peroxides are horrible storing them even worse, but you have to remember i did what i did like 30 years ago. Back then it was not exactly easy access to the internet or anything of the like (at least not for a teen). That is also kind of my point. If you need to read on how to be safe with explosives in order to know that they are bad for storage or have an affinity to go off, then you should not be working with them.

Dr. Sidney Alford i am sure that if he were to have done testing on tatp or any peroxide that he would have found out that they don't have any practical use. My point is if you can't identify where things will go wrong and know how to fix it with out any help, then you probably should not be working with it.

caterpillar - 11-1-2013 at 16:10

Mercury fulminate was widely used. Does it mean, that MF is not as dangerous as TATP? TATP is volatile compound and it is its main disadvantage. If one uses all necessary precautionary measures and makes small amount of hi-explosive, its preparation is surely much less dangerous than crossing a street in a big city. Problems begin when arrogant boys ignore simple rules.

isobutane - 11-1-2013 at 22:07

Quote: Originally posted by caterpillar  
Mercury fulminate was widely used. Does it mean, that MF is not as dangerous as TATP? TATP is volatile compound and it is its main disadvantage. If one uses all necessary precautionary measures and makes small amount of hi-explosive, its preparation is surely much less dangerous than crossing a street in a big city. Problems begin when arrogant boys ignore simple rules.


Yeah but here is why MF is a viable chemical for caps or primers. It is very storage stable. It does not have as many compatibility issues. So with proper casing it is a lot more safe then peroxides. A stainless steel casing with a 800mg base charge of PETN with 50 to 150mg of MF will make a safer cap.

Also the preparation of just about any explosive is far safer then handling especially improper handling.

caterpillar - 12-1-2013 at 21:37

Quote: Originally posted by isobutane  

Also the preparation of just about any explosive is far safer then handling especially improper handling.


Sorry, I have to disagree. I think, situation is opposite. At least, nitro compounds are safe during handling, but their preparation requires dangerous mixed acid. Runaway reaction is possible (I met it twice when I was trying to prepare picric acid) too. And so on. Yeah, mercury fulminate (lead stiphnate) is save when it is wet and therefore its preparation is much safer than handling, but such situation is an exception.

hiperion42 - 15-1-2013 at 11:13

Thank you very much for sharing Yamato71.

Yamato71 - 16-1-2013 at 15:20

Thank you hiperion42 for bringing this thread back on topic.

Finnnicus - 6-4-2013 at 03:44

Sorry to bring up this thread, but thank you so much for sharing! My colleagues and I were going to synth relatively large amounts of some peroxides (MEKP, HTMD, TATP etc) roughly 9 months ago and then I read this...
I have probably saved some of my fingers because of your post :). I only recently got an account here, and I remembered you and your story, so here I am with my thanks.
My friends and I have a lot of respect, and this somehow brings smiles to us, probably from inspiration.

Thanks again.

Yamato71 - 6-4-2013 at 07:01

And there is a huge smile here in Texas.
Thanks Finnnicus.

Patiamiyam - 12-5-2013 at 20:46

That is one eye opening account of what can go wrong when working with 'energetics'. I applaud you relating your story on a site (sciencemadness) where people can learn from your mistake.
When I was younger I liked to make fireworks (simple skyrockets and firecrackers) I believe since young people have so little experience (and so much enthusiasm) that they believe that they can 'beat the odds', time after time again. Hopefully, somebody considering experimenting with 'energetics' will look at your story and think twice (or much more)
I have no experience working with energetics (which is something I have NO idea of changing), but I'm glad that you didn't (also) lose some or all of your eyesight.
Thank you for your BRAVE recital of your horrible experience and hopefully your story will help people considering similar experiments.
A CHILLING story/experience indeed. I don't blame you AT ALL for your reluctance to post pictures. Myself, I wouldn't even want to see them.
Thank you for your wanting to help others avoid similar experiences, it is a amazingly grotesque story. Unselfish people who want to spread information from personal experience-I don't know if I would be as brave as you reciting it.
Hopefully we will see other posts (not necessarily on this exact subject) from you here.

Patiamiyam - 12-5-2013 at 21:18

I've been attracted to Chinese glassware too (those companies who steal Pyrox and similar trademarks in the hope of more sales-I'd like to see a few of our unemployed lawyers see if there is a 'cause of action' there. too). It might be that people who experiment with dangerous substances should be aware of what at least one glassmaker says is a plastic coating that might have helped with the OP situation (or not)
It adds a few dollars, but after reading the OP story, it suddenly seems much cheaper.
I am very glad that this terrible disaster at least left the OP with his eyesight, it seems like keeping his precious eyesight could in part console him with his other physical losses.

Dr.Bob - 15-5-2013 at 11:25

Yamato,

Thanks for posting your description. I find a few parts worth noting, based on other accidents that I have heard and on my own experience as a chemist. I have had a wide range of chemical work, including fluorine and HF work, energetics, peptides, strong bases, small molecules, and a few polymers (not all planned). I have been lucky not to have any major accidents due to these, despite some minor incidents, including fires, overly excited reactions, and spills. But are were contained and controlled by planning for what might go wrong. I do dangerous reactions in a hood, behind a shield (if needed), away from flammables, and wear reasonable PPE for the occasion. I have had safety glasses protect my eyes from debris before, hard hats protect my head (from hammers on a construction site, as well as other falling debris), and even fire resistant clothes protect me before. All are items that other have failed to use and suffered without. But I am not saying to go crazy, I don't think you need to use a hard hat in the normal lab, safety glasses cooking dinner, or fire resistant clothes when jogging. But if you are making black powder, may so.

First, no one should be doing any flammable or explosive work in an occupied house. The ATF guidelines are quite clear, license or not, that all explosives work is to be done well away from ANY occupied dwelling or other places people are. That goes even more for those with families. As a young child, I did many similar home experiments, and my mother quickly made me do all of my experiments outside, on the driveway or a bench I built outside. My chemicals were stored in a carport shed outside. I have heard many tales of people burning down their houses with experiments in energetics, as well as other chemicals.

And now if it happens, you are also likely to get a visit from the FBI, ATF, HSA, TSA, DOT, EPA, OSHA, etc all wanting to know what you were doing. When I had experiments go wrong outside, I could back away and let them burn out. Years ago, when my homemade solid rocket engine blew up, rather than burn as a rocket, my one neighbor came running, but saw that nothing was wrong and was OK. But inside, or near a busy school or store, it might have been a disaster. That was only one of a few other similar experiments that caught fire while being mixed, packed, or handled.

Second, heating anything flammable, highly corrosive, or explosive should not be done on a stove, kitchen hotplate, or even a lab hotplate if not in a safe place with some means of controlling any fire/spill that might happen. I have put out a fair number of lab fires (none started by me) created by trained chemists. Most were taking a short cut, missed a step, forgot to lower the temp when walking away, or did something just plain stupid. But glass or not, things can boil over, spill, or whatever, and if they are on something electric when it happens, it will likely catch fire. If in a fume hood made of glass, stone and metal, no big deal, shut it and wait a minute (presuming that you don't have 6 gallons of solvent next to the reaction-been there). Even a KH fire will burn out if not near anything else, and it WILL happen if you ever use KH in the South.

Good quality glass is helpful, but even Pyrex can break. Glass is UNPREDICTABLE. You can not SAFELY heat (even) Pyrex with a hard flame, red hot burner, or hot metal surface. Even the lab grade stuff says so on the box, label, and website. There are some materials like Vycor (http://catalog2.corning.com/Lifesciences/media/pdf/Descripti...) and quartz which are much more stable to heat/cold, but Pyrex is only better than cheap glass, not some super material that will withstand all abuse. Also, minor imperfections will weaken the glass some, but in most cases when that glass is used properly, they should not be a problem, but that includes not heating unevenly or with a flame. No glass, especially thick glass, will handle harsh heating well.

Lastly, remember to try new things on VERY small scale. I have seen someone try an unknown reaction on a 5 g scale, using very reactive reagents, and have it blow up, creating a big mess in the hood, but thankfully not hurting anyone. Worse yet, they repeated the EXACT same reaction, the EXACT same way and were surprised to get the exact same result, requiring cleaning up a ruined hood twice in 2 days. It almost never costs much time and money to try things small first, and often saves a lot of both.



[Edited on 15-5-2013 by Dr.Bob]

Theoretic - 7-7-2013 at 18:33

Quote:
Like melt sealing a straw filled with NG! and assembling a 500g ANFO charge with a TATP cap and a 10ml NG booster, then carrying the live charge for over 4km to the testing site in 40C temperatures.


:o

this is what one could call the Honey Badger school of health&safety:

Honey Badger doesn't care

Honey Badger doesn't give a shit

(and like a real Honey Badger you prevailed after all)

NeonPulse - 27-7-2013 at 04:09

i saw your account of this unfortunate accident kind of scary and i think of it often especially when dealing with ETN in paritcular. makes me that bit more careful and keeping with the task at hand. i most certainly would not wish this on anyone. it must be on your mind all the time- the what if i did this or maybe that should have happened. it sucks. when i was 15 myself and a friend were messing around with party sparklers- crushed up and put in a glass coke bottle with one upside down for the fuse, they were fun for a young kewl they made a big bang. one day we changed it up and my mate put some match heads in his..... bigger bang, then decides he wants to throw one and see it go off in the air. well thats where his life changes for the worse.... the tilt sets off the match-sparkler mix in his hand and sends alot of glass shrapnel flying into his face, neck and arm, i get a little in my neck and shoulder too, man we were lucky though, i remember seeing him bent down with a shower of blood coming out of his face along with peices of glass falling out of it. no glass blinded him amazingly, but his left eyelid was cut in half, a large hole in the neck under the voice box you could see into his neck,many other cuts and holes on the nose lips and the hand. he is very lucky with 85 stitches to live, i had 16 for cuts on my neck and shoulder. he never touched another device again,reminded of it anytime he looked in the mirror. so not even a firecracker. im different though in that respect. they say some people never learn but i learnt to be more carefull..... good luck with you ongoing recovery and wishing you all the best. also it is good to see that you are trying to discourage people from HEs on youtube, i saw some of your comments on an ETN video somewhere there. i hope people listen to your story. NP

bismuthate - 29-9-2013 at 17:01

Yamato71 thank you for sharing, i plan to test my glassware and to not use my faulty beaker. this story will most likely help me avoid mistakes in the future.

Ballistic Trauma

franklyn - 14-10-2013 at 12:37


http://elib.fk.uwks.ac.id/asset/archieve/e-book/KULIT KELAMIN - DERMATOLOGY/Ballistic Trauma.pdf


goldenoranges - 14-2-2014 at 09:49

I have never had an accident like this, and I pray I never will. Your account really refreshed that fear, just need to remember that if I am tired or not thinking right, stay away from the lab. I have seen pictures of what landmines do, and I remember when I cut my arm open with a motorcycle crash.

How are you doing, by the way?

[Edited on 14-2-2014 by goldenoranges]

The Many Safety Precautions That Should Have Been Taken

virutech - 24-2-2014 at 21:33

1) You should have used a water bath to heat the solution

2) This should have been done outside

3) You should have had a barrier set up previously(a wall, a building, a hole in the ground, etc.) so that in case of an emergency you could duck behind or into it.

4) When it comes to high explosives you should never be cheap with materials, especially when a 1 liter borosilicate glass beaker costs $12. That's not expensive enough to risk your life.


MedicineMan - 25-3-2014 at 09:34

Dear Mr Yamata71,

Today I found my way here for your lesson from a post on the Amateur Pyrotechnical forum.

Thank you for providing your story as a warning reminder and object lesson for the rest of us.

Those who respond to anything other than your intent are simply in denial or blinded from seeing the forest by all the pretty trees.

I am new here, but have experienced many situations where my reflexes might have injured me (or others), had I not been trained to respond correctly, or developed muscle memories to do so for me.

As a medical professional, I have seen firsthand how sometimes it is not only the foolish, careless, amateurs who learn Darwin's lesson, (in fact, sometimes they seem to have really active guardian angels), but even well-intentioned, well-trained experienced professionals who meet Murphy's law, and may only survive by virtue of other's interventions.

That being said, fate, God's favor, and/or plain luck has also played an integral and intimate part of MY survival to the mid-century mark.

Thanks again for the reminder that I might not always be so fortunate.

God be with you and yours,
Thomas



365029d1394710856-never-thought-i-see-day-indians-terrorism1492.jpg - 45kB

sarcasm-often-wasted-on-id.jpg - 17kB

Bert - 2-5-2014 at 10:47

I am rather wondering where Yamato-San has got to? He's not logged on in a bit over a year now.

Anyone heard of/from him since? I had a couple of questions for him...

caterpillar - 11-9-2014 at 02:25

Yamato71 has a new follower. My roommate put a plastic garbage can onto an electric stove. He wanted to dry it and most likely his indolence prevented him from using of simple piece of toilet paper. Good news is that there was no hi explosive no flammable liquid (except molten plastic, of course).

erythritol tetranitrate

Laboratory of Liptakov - 11-9-2014 at 12:22

Today I have a story with ETN thought the whole day. As the day proceeded synthesis ETN. Especially recrystallisation in a water bath from methanol. The story I know of at least one year. With this story there are hundreds pyrotechnics cautious. I'm sure.
LL

No.8

Laboratory of Liptakov - 13-9-2014 at 08:12

If someone will make, do and fulfill the detonator, you think of this picture. Take safety measures. When pressing. This No.8.
LL

prase_r8_139.jpg - 128kB

CuReUS - 10-11-2014 at 03:32

for more information on explosions and the mistakes that people committed while making and handling them ,you can read this book (the first chapter by the author himself will remind you of yamato ,only the time and the explosive were different).

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/46039/46039-h/46039-h.htm

chemicals always show their true characters ,unlike humans
those who respect them are better off than those who dont


[Edited on 10-11-2014 by CuReUS]

FireKing - 20-2-2015 at 05:04

Blowing out the fire lol, yes I can relate to ones stupidity as well.

When I was a teenager, I was experimenting with inhalation poisons and different knockout drugs. The first was a chlorine gas/mustard gas/classified hybrid. So afterwards, I go to set it off at a remote location only realizing afterwards I have no test subjects. Instinctively, I go up to it and sniff it myself like an idiot. I guess in my mind, I was thinking I didnt want to waist the time and cost I put into it, just to get no reaction, since I forgot to buy a mouse cage, and put a few lab rats in it. I was more happy to have finally finished it that I just wanted to test it as soon as possible.

So after I stupidly took a small sniff, I remember pain in the nose, eyes, and throat. I remember running away and making it like 20 yards before collapsing and convulsing. I believe the pain threshold knocked me out because when I awoke it was completely dark out and I was literally in the middle of nowhere so it wasnt like anyone would ever find me. I remember it taking like an hour to find the car as farmland at night is impossible to see. Effects subsided a week later with no noticeable physical or mental abnormalities.

I dont remember much after that, most of my childhood memories are blocked but I do know that I could have died just as easily as you that day when my instinct to just smell it, perhaps also thinking it was just harmless and would have no effect on me, was just completely stupid.

For what its worth, the experiment was tested again many months later but on a dying bird. I heard the loud bang of a bird hit my window, and saw it was still alive but twitching. I put it in a glass cage and watched its skin form hundreds of blisters and explode within a couple minutes. I dont doubt this would have happened to me if I had passed out before running away from the site.

Repetition of safety preparation is the key to eliminate ones unwanted instinctive common sense traits.

Loptr - 20-2-2015 at 06:56

Quote: Originally posted by FireKing  
Blowing out the fire lol, yes I can relate to ones stupidity as well.

When I was a teenager, I was experimenting with inhalation poisons and different knockout drugs. The first was a chlorine gas/mustard gas/classified hybrid. So afterwards, I go to set it off at a remote location only realizing afterwards I have no test subjects. Instinctively, I go up to it and sniff it myself like an idiot. I guess in my mind, I was thinking I didnt want to waist the time and cost I put into it, just to get no reaction, since I forgot to buy a mouse cage, and put a few lab rats in it. I was more happy to have finally finished it that I just wanted to test it as soon as possible.

So after I stupidly took a small sniff, I remember pain in the nose, eyes, and throat. I remember running away and making it like 20 yards before collapsing and convulsing. I believe the pain threshold knocked me out because when I awoke it was completely dark out and I was literally in the middle of nowhere so it wasnt like anyone would ever find me. I remember it taking like an hour to find the car as farmland at night is impossible to see. Effects subsided a week later with no noticeable physical or mental abnormalities.

I dont remember much after that, most of my childhood memories are blocked but I do know that I could have died just as easily as you that day when my instinct to just smell it, perhaps also thinking it was just harmless and would have no effect on me, was just completely stupid.

For what its worth, the experiment was tested again many months later but on a dying bird. I heard the loud bang of a bird hit my window, and saw it was still alive but twitching. I put it in a glass cage and watched its skin form hundreds of blisters and explode within a couple minutes. I dont doubt this would have happened to me if I had passed out before running away from the site.

Repetition of safety preparation is the key to eliminate ones unwanted instinctive common sense traits.


What a way to add insult to injury.

smithdotyu - 21-2-2015 at 06:46

made in china?为什么黑我们中国人?not every China product is bad。

BromicAcid - 21-2-2015 at 09:46

Quote: Originally posted by smithdotyu  
made in china?为什么黑我们中国人?not every China product is bad。
Of course not every Chinese product is bad. There have been several threads on this forum regarding the quality of Chinese products and there are quite a few members here that will vouch that their Chinese glassware is extra thick, durable, even a very good deal. Many reagents are made in China and imported to various countries without issue at a significant savings. Further, Chinese suppliers can be more willing to sell to individuals, opening certain avenues that might have been unavailable to amateur chemists.

However, as with any country, there are plenty of people in China just wanting to make a buck: consequences be damned. Because they are sending to customers in another country and China itself can be a bit lax in enforcing quality control (speculating), it is my experience that products purchased from China have a statistically higher chance of failure than products purchased from other countries (not speculating). The issue can be compounded when purchasing from even smaller companies struggling to get a foothold. Likewise, the issue can be mitigated to an extent by purchasing from established companies with stringent quality control and adherence to ISO standards.

Yamato71 - 6-4-2015 at 18:57

Hi everybody,

Did you miss me? Sorry, I haven't checked in in quite a while. I used to receive email notification when there was response to my thread, but I guess that feature has a shelf life. I've since rechecked the box.

I'm doing just fine. I've gotten on with my life and can't complain too much. My missing left hand still hurts with phantom pain and my reconstructed right hand hurts like sin because it's still full of glass shrapnel. I depend on daily pain medication that allows me to function somewhat normally. I just hate that I have to depend on medication. Oh, another little irritation that bothers me, I have to change my sheets every few days because tiny shards of glass work their way out of my skin while I sleep. Four and a half years after the accident and I'm still shedding glass. Sheesh!

Thanks for wondering how I'm doing.
I'm better.

Bert - 6-4-2015 at 19:27

Glad to see you're still about-

Sent you a U2U a while back, before realizing you had gone on hiatus, regarding the NC lacquer bound Copper thermite mixture mentioned in relation to the ETN based initiation of special effects devices. Was worried you'd had some legal or medical complications-

I have known people with accidentally embedded glass shards before. "The gift that keeps on giving"!

caterpillar - 9-4-2015 at 03:56

I read sometime, that mines with glass powder was used in Vietnam- sensitive explosive in small packs. (I still have some iron in my leg, but it does not bother me)

Spirit of Niter - 2-11-2015 at 19:49

I have just read your story for the third time. Yet again, it hits home and makes my heart sink. It made me think about all the times I’ve had an accident or was just simply negligent and could have very well lost my eye sight, been dismembered, or suffered severe burns. I’m so fortunate and grateful to be in the condition that I am in today. I enjoy experimenting with explosive materials and I can only hope that my fascination with such things won’t lead to my demise. I’m a lot more cautious in dealing with energetic materials than I ever was before. Thank you for sharing your story.

[Edited on 11/4/2015 by Spirit of Niter]

Agari - 4-11-2015 at 17:42

It is a well-known fact that in China,a lot of brands are completely fabricated and BS,that is because fabricating a brand in China would carry serious legal consequences (Either death penalty or imprisonment,I am not familiar with Chinese laws),and so manufacturers find a loophole in that law by making a knockoff brand and replicating the product,which tends to turn out to be of lower quality than the original product. The reason I am telling you that is that you, and I speak to everyone reading this, should always look at the brand markings carefully, and possibly avoid Chinese-manufactured glassware, I don't know whether it is the most likely to be a knockoff or just personal bias or simply hearing about those types of brands more often,but it is better to be safe than dismembered,though it is too late for the OP of this thread.

NeonPulse - 6-11-2015 at 23:22

It's now been a few days past 5 years since Yamato71 had his accident. I occasionally think about this story and wonder how he's coping. Hopefully recovering as well as can be hoped for with such serious injuries.

Yamato71 - 1-12-2015 at 23:35

Yeah, it was a somber anniversary for us too. Thanks for remembering. I just turned 62 last week and I couldn't be better. I still find myself reaching for a doorknob, or trying to hold a door for a lady, only to have her lose her composure when either A. I forget that there's no hand there and end up jamming the bony stump of my left wrist hard into the still closed door, or B. She notices instantly that I am "disabled" and damn near bowls me over trying to get ahead of me so she can open the door for ME. Neither option is pleasant, but A is downright satanic. I wish I could describe the sensation that overwhelms my nervous system when my stump hits upon a hard object. Try to imagine that mind numbing pain you get when you smack your elbow into the corner of a desk. Now multiply that by about 65 and you're getting close. It is a sensation that whole people luckily will never experience. Direct traumatic stimulation of a main sensory nerve is not only not supposed to happen in everyday activity, it's damn near impossible for somebody with all the pieces they were born with to do that. It happens to me maybe 3-4 times a month. When it does, the pain is so debilitating that I sometimes just stop breathing.

What are some of the other subtle ways that ETN changed my life, hmmm... let's see.

Doorknobs.

If you come to my house, one of the first things you will notice is.. there are no round doorknobs. They are all lever style. You might remember that my trauma surgeon saved my right hand, but even so, it was severely mangled. I have something that looks like a fat thumb attached to a canned ham where my right hand used to be. Try as I might, it will not close, so grabbing things like round doorknobs is a no go.

Zippers and buttons

My manual dexterity before the accident was incredible. Remember the scene in The Right Stuff where all the younger astronauts showed off by rolling quarters along the backs of their knuckles? I invented that. Well, I knew the inventor's sister, but I digress. Zippers and buttons are no longer part of my world. I wear lots of Polo shirts and tees. When I get a new pair of jeans, they have to go to the tailor first to have the zippers ripped out and replaced by a patch of velcro. I haven't tied a pair of shoes in five years. From now on, it's oxfords and loafers.

There's plenty more little things I miss and little workarounds I've had to come up with, just to be able to function everyday. I have said it before and I'll say it until the day i die, I would much rather have lost a leg than a hand. Hell, make that TWO legs. The one thing I miss more than any thing is a sense of touch. With my left hand gone and very little, if any, touch sensation in my right hand, it's what I imagine blindness to be like for somebody who lost their sight later in life. No longer can I just reach out and touch something to feel it. Not only is it something I took for granted, it's something I never gave a second thought... until I lost it. It really hit me when during a particularly frisky encounter with a female friend, when I playfully caressed her breast.... and felt nothing.


[Edited on 2-12-2015 by Yamato71]

KesterDraconis - 6-2-2016 at 18:23

Quote: Originally posted by Yamato71  
I have said it before and I'll say it until the day i die, I would much rather have lost a leg than a hand. Hell, make that TWO legs.

[Edited on 2-12-2015 by Yamato71]


While I know this is of no comfort, I know a guy who has lost a leg (in a similarly traumatic situation as you), and he would agree with this assessment. It frustrates him to be limited even a little in mobility, but he has made up for it a lot in the use of his arms and hands.

Considering how badly the rest of his body was damaged, its really impressive to see what he can still do.

Thank you again for your story, it has been a very good cautionary tale for me particularly, and I appreciate both how frank you are regarding the subject.

Geocachmaster - 6-3-2016 at 09:53

The original story reminds me of two instances where I was particularly stupid. A while ago I was attempting to purify something and I had a large beaker full of hot ethanol. I was using an open flame to heat it (for what reason I don't know) and nothing interesting happened for a minute or so. Suddenly it started to violently boil and as I went to turn off the Bunsen burner the beaker cracked. I was left with about 200ml of flaming ethanol on my workbench. My first reaction was to blow on it which didn't exactly work and singed my eyebrows a little. Luckily I came to my senses and grabbed a fire extinguisher before it could spread any more. The second more recent time (and possibly even more stupid) came when I was experimenting with rocket fuels. I wanted something more energetic than KNO3/sugar. I decided that HMTD might work for my purposes. I planned on using it with R candy and a binder. I started with a small batch (<10 grams) and after testing it for sensitivity I was pleased and moved on to experimentation. I was testing its burn rates when I got the ideodic idea to confine it slightly. I didn't want an explosion but you don't always get what you want. 2-3 grams was placed inside paper and wrapped with tape. I lit it (with no hearing protection) and stood back about two meters. The resulting detonation was deafening and I stumbled around with no hearing whatsoever. My hearing did come back and returned to somewhat normal after a couple hours, though I still can't hear as well as before that. Be safe and always think about it before you do something that could hurt you.

PHILOU Zrealone - 7-3-2016 at 08:15

Quote: Originally posted by Geocachmaster  
The original story reminds me of two instances where I was particularly stupid. A while ago I was attempting to purify something and I had a large beaker full of hot ethanol. I was using an open flame to heat it (for what reason I don't know) and nothing interesting happened for a minute or so. Suddenly it started to violently boil and as I went to turn off the Bunsen burner the beaker cracked. I was left with about 200ml of flaming ethanol on my workbench. My first reaction was to blow on it which didn't exactly work and singed my eyebrows a little. Luckily I came to my senses and grabbed a fire extinguisher before it could spread any more. The second more recent time (and possibly even more stupid) came when I was experimenting with rocket fuels. I wanted something more energetic than KNO3/sugar. I decided that HMTD might work for my purposes. I planned on using it with R candy and a binder. I started with a small batch (<10 grams) and after testing it for sensitivity I was pleased and moved on to experimentation. I was testing its burn rates when I got the ideodic idea to confine it slightly. I didn't want an explosion but you don't always get what you want. 2-3 grams was placed inside paper and wrapped with tape. I lit it (with no hearing protection) and stood back about two meters. The resulting detonation was deafening and I stumbled around with no hearing whatsoever. My hearing did come back and returned to somewhat normal after a couple hours, though I still can't hear as well as before that. Be safe and always think about it before you do something that could hurt you.

Yes always think to the worst cases scenarios...and eventually asking here before acting may be good anyway...

Yamato71 - 5-11-2016 at 00:10

I almost made it through the whole day last Thursday without remembering that it was the sixth anniversary of the day I joined the amputee club....almost. The past year, like the previous five, was a string of highs and lows. I finally accepted the fact that my eardrums were never going to heal and got fitted for a pair of hearing aids. Why the hell didn't I do this years ago?

My most memorable moment of year six in the club was a horror show.

I had stopped at the grocery store on my way home from work last March to pick up some odds and ends for our neighborhood St. Patty's Day party. As I walked along the soft drink aisle, I spotted a shopping cart with the cutest three year old red haired girl riding in the cart just watching the world around her with complete fascination. Her mother, an auburn haired beauty herself, appeared to be in her mid to late 20's. Mom had her back to me trying to choose which soda to bring home when it happened.
Just before I passed her cart, the little girl raised her hand and gave me a cute little wave hello. I raised my hand to wave back, but without thinking, raised the stump of my left wrist instead.

Instantly the child exploded with the loudest, most terrified shriek I have ever heard. The sight of a stump where there should be a hand was something hideous to her that she had never seen before, her little three year old mind just couldn't comprehend the sight. Her terrified response stopped me cold. I wanted to reach out and comfort the child and tell her it was alright, but I never got the chance. The little girl's terrified screams triggered an instant defensive response in her mother that I think surprised both of us in its ferocity. Before I knew what happened, the mother tore into me with both arms and fists flailing me while she screamed "YOU BASTARD! WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU DO TO MY BABY?" She was doing the same thing I would have done had the roles been reversed, so I didn't dare try to fight back. She wasn't really doing any physical damage, but we were both about to be thoroughly mind fucked.

It seemed to me that the attack lasted for hours, but in reality it couldn't have been more than fifteen seconds. The commotion drew a crowd almost instantly and the language coming from that tiny red haired lady was so unbelievably coarse and fast that I couldn't explain to her what had happened. Luckily, another lady who had witnessed the entire episode stepped forward, grabbed the young mother by her elbows and shook her until they locked eyes. "Mam! This gentleman did not touch your child. She saw his missing hand and it frightened her, that is all that happened!" "You are assaulting this innocent man. Stop it this instant!"

For a long second or two nobody moved, then her eyes darted down to my missing hand and up to my eyes. I must have looked pitiful, like an injured puppy because she immediately broke down, sobbing. Before I could react she rushed up to me, wrapped her arms around the back of a perfect stranger and buried her sobbing face into my chest wailing "I'm sorry!, I'm sorry!, I am SO sorry!" The entire time, the little girl sat in the cart wailing. I did the only thing I could do. I slipped my right hand onto the nape of her neck, gently pulled her face back to my shoulder, gave her a tiny little kiss on the top of her head and said "It's all right, you did what any new mother would have done if she thought that someone had hurt her child. You didn't hurt me, no harm no foul. Now I think you'd best dry your eyes and get your baby calmed down. I'll be fine." I lied.

We were both horribly shaken up and just needed to get out of there.
I haven't seen her or her child since.


j_sum1 - 5-11-2016 at 01:30

That could have gone so much better. I think you handled yourself well in the circumstances. Still, it was one of those awful moments that knocks the stuffing out of you.

PHILOU Zrealone - 5-11-2016 at 07:54

You should write a book about your experience or partial fiction/novel...your writting skills seems very good to me...but I'm not a native English speaker...

XeonTheMGPony - 11-11-2016 at 11:58

I think him writing a book with his experienced would greatly help others who've suffered similar injuries.

Yamato you do have a literary skill to you.

Yamato71 - 13-11-2016 at 08:44

Thanks for the suggestion. To be honest, the thought of writing a book has never occurred to me. I'll give it some thought.

Y71

Yamato71 - 13-11-2016 at 08:55

Thanks for the suggestion. To be honest, the thought of writing a book has never occurred to me. I'll give it some thought.

Y71

aga - 13-11-2016 at 10:10

Definitely write a book about the Before, the Event and the After.

You certainly have a good story-telling style.

Chemetix - 14-11-2016 at 01:56

Y71, wow sorry to hear of your terrible accident; 5 years. I can't say I know exactly what you went through, but I know something of it. I saw this extended post and resisted reading it, but did, and decided it's time to tell someone of my experience. Over 10 years ago I was filtering an organic peroxide on a sintered glass filter...I know I know!
Familiarity can breed contempt for these sort of things and the old saying 'It's not if, but when!' can be quite true for EM's. And this was something I'd done a hundred times but mindful of the fact of should the worst happen- then better make the quantity small. And even though the total amount was less than 5g let me assure you less than 5 grams does some terrible damage.
The Flash bang effect where the mind just shuts off the stimulus, was instant, a flash and the weird dissociative sensation of being conscious in a cloud of white light and silence; the sensation of a high powered slap on my thumb was a jet of gas piecing the flesh and smashing the bone, but other than that I have no real way of telling how long I was stultified. A high pitched whine became apparent as the scene faded back in. The ringing became somewhat painful, and the realisation of something bad happened, how bad, I'm still numb I have no idea?
Shit! Check breathing! Ok! Hands! Fuck.... fuuuuck! my left hand was peeled open like a banana at the webbing between the thumb and hand, and was really messed up but little blood.
I'm the type of person I found out that stays really cool under fire, no panic, just 'lets sort this shit out'. I made my way to the phone and called a close friend, with some difficulty dialing the phone. Rather calmly, I don't know why I was a model of calm and asked ever so politely ' Do you think I could trouble you for a lift to the emergency room I've kind of had a bit of an accident.'
'Are you Ok?'
'Yeah...If you could come over fairly quickly well that would be cool, kind of in a bit of pain'
'Sure!...' said with a slight sense of imposition, but what could I do, I wasn't going to be anything other than cool about the whole thing.

45 minutes later which seemed an eternity, my mate parks his car out the front of my house with casual precision. Gets out, forgets something, and casually fumbles around looking for whatever it was that needed fixing or finding.
For Fuck's Sake get in here! I wanted to scream, but if I let my shit go then there's a shitload to deal with and that hasn't happened so far; I'm coping with it. No real pain, shock's a good thing at this point.
But when my mate came in, his eyes said it all, it was serious. I didn't have to say anything, but tried reassure him i'm ok. I'm the one with the fucked up hand and I'm making sure he's alright. He drove like a maniac but a controlled maniac and keeping him calm was good for both of us at that point.

I won't go into the rest of the hospital and healing, but was glad when the doctor asked do you need anything for the pain? And casually and rationally said ' I'm Ok for now but the shock is going to wear off soon and I'm going to be somewhat less calm than I am now, do you think you can administer something fairly strong to anticipate that? But it was starting to throb by now and didn't feel at least bit guilty asking.
'I'm surprised you haven't asked for anything already' he said said fairly matter of factly and walked off to get something for me. The Pethedine was a relief, mentally and physically I could just let my shit go and not have to hold it together. ' What the hell were you doing?' he asked as he jammed a syringe full of the good stuff into a canula.
'We only see this sort of injury in war'
'Well!' I began 'I needed to use a charge to form some metal domes.....' I was fucked up on some heavy dose of peth by this stage and trailed off, the rest a blur. I never saw that doctor again, he never knew what the hell I was going on about.

I haven't spoken about my little ordeal before, I only had an occasion a few years afterwards where I could explain to someone else who would or could understand.
I was on a sales excursion with my wife who then worked repping for a scientific instrument sales and consumables job, and one day this took us to an explosives manufacturing facility. One of the facility scientists had some fingers missing and I asked ' What was that from?'
'Lead Azide 'he said with a dry sense of cognisance, I knew immediately that he had at one time made crystals far too big and shouldn't of handled them, and said ' what? , no dextrin?'
'Yeah!' he said with a laugh 'was actually planning on using gelatine but didn't.'
'Organic peroxide...'and held up my left hand.
'Not bad. You were lucky.' he noted as my hand had aside from a pretty ugly scar through the webbing and a fat thumb where the tissue grew back after being blasted open, had healed reasonable well. ' You should see the Director, he's got a few fingers left on his left hand and his right hand is pretty damaged.'

My wife was now completely shocked, she wasn't with me when it happened, she didn't know that this is what a lot of us did in our younger days. She thought It was just me being an idiot after I explained the scarring; but it was something that a lot of us did because it was interesting. And our exchange took her from her professional world of regulation and rules and left her with the reality that bright people in chemistry are curious and work with energetics as an interest. Away from the sanctified environment of pure bubble wrapped safety in the lab.

But there is life after detonation, it took me a long time to think about getting near a work bench again, there are mental scars as well, but without too much effort, the curiosity to learn comes back and try things again; but for me, there are things I find a little more satisfying to study than EM's.


NedsHead - 14-11-2016 at 20:33

I take it that happen in Australia Chemetix, did you end up in any legal trouble after presenting yourself to a hospital with a blast injury?

[Edited on 15-11-2016 by NedsHead]

Chemetix - 15-11-2016 at 01:55

Nope, nothing like that, I think they got the impression it was a firework or something like that. And it was a more simpler time, although, I'm being deliberately vague with the time, there's nothing to be gained from leaving a trail of evidence in this day and age. I guess if there were parts missing there might have been some more questions perhaps.


XeonTheMGPony - 16-11-2016 at 07:51

Interesting story as I had to make more HMTD for my caps, here for some reason drying any thing is a tedious proposition at best and was tempted to vacuum filter it on my fritted funnel.

But When I did the risk analysis first thing on the list was just that! getting it off the frit was just way to high risk a venture, and too much containment in the funnel made it more like a grenade then a filter method. So scratched the idea and here it is 3 days later still drying on the open coffe filter!

Going to be making a temperature gradiated vacuum desiccator for these things to make it berable

greenlight - 16-11-2016 at 10:35

Why don't you dry it in the oven?

Just joking haha.

When the weather is cold and hindering the drying process, I just spread primaries out on tissue or paper towel and periodically change when they absorb some moisture. A small fan blowing across the top can help too

A desiccator is great to get the final moisture out of products, just don't put anything in there when its really wet.

PHILOU Zrealone - 16-11-2016 at 14:02

Quote: Originally posted by XeonTheMGPony  
Interesting story as I had to make more HMTD for my caps, here for some reason drying any thing is a tedious proposition at best and was tempted to vacuum filter it on my fritted funnel.

But When I did the risk analysis first thing on the list was just that! getting it off the frit was just way to high risk a venture, and too much containment in the funnel made it more like a grenade then a filter method. So scratched the idea and here it is 3 days later still drying on the open coffe filter!

Going to be making a temperature gradiated vacuum desiccator for these things to make it berable

Worst case scenario must always be kept in mind...

Glass shrapnells cut and pierce flesh...hard plastic too...just like metal or wood...in close viccinity

So better think to safer soft plastic beakers...in the case of a bad event...consequences will be less.

With peroxydes, the worst is always to be feared so tiny quantities is a must...
Special care to this since with the cheap price of inital ingredients, one often puts 50-100ml easily into reaction and gets finally 50-200g of final product...what is totally irresponsible (I speak from experience with CTAP although I had no bad event, I was uncomfortable with the amount of crystals it produced)...

[Edited on 16-11-2016 by PHILOU Zrealone]

James Ikanov - 17-11-2016 at 15:19

This thread is always a good reminder that the one time expense of a military surplus shrapnel vest, a good ventilator, thick jacket, and a face shield is much less than the expense of getting a new set of eyes, kidneys, or lungs.

I hope the world is treating you better, OP. You should also definitely consider a book. The story and perspective you give is absolutely amazing, although very terrible to have experienced, I would imagine.

Chemetix - 18-11-2016 at 01:10

Shyeah Right! Body armor in this country is a big no no! And yet, you can have all the Kevlar you can get for motor cycle riding; call it armor and you might as well have an M60 and a 1000 rounds of link as far as the law is concerned. Sorry, might be off topic but I hate legal inconsistency, in the face of over reaction.
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