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Author: Subject: Needing help in synthetis of PETN
the baron of explosives

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[*] posted on 5-5-2011 at 11:20
Needing help in synthetis of PETN

Hi guys im new to this forum and i'm currently reading a book the chemsitry of powder and explosives. I'm am about to do PETN according to the method in the text seen below: I am wondering if it's quite safe to do and what are the dangerous factors/what can go wrong. I have properly laboraty equipment at home. Advices are appreciated :) !


PETN may be prepared, according to Naoum,109 by adding
100 grams of finely powdered pentaerythrite to 400 cc. of nitric
acid (1.52) while the temperature is maintained between 25° and
30° by efficient cooling. Toward the end of the nitration a certain
amount of the tetranitrate crystallizes out. The separation of the
product is completed by the gradual addition of 400 cc. of con-
centrated sulfuric acid (1.84) while the stirring and cooling are
continued. The mixture is not drowned, but the crude PETN
(85-90% of the theory) is filtered off directly, and washed first
with 50% sulfuric acid and then with water. It still contains
some occluded acid and is purified, according to Naoum, by dis-
solving in hot acetone to which a little ammonium carbonate is
added, and filtering the hot solution into twice its volume of 90%
alcohol by which the PETN is precipitated in fine needles.
Pentaerythrite may also be nitrated satisfactorily, and prob-
ably in better yield, without the use of sulfuric acid and with the
use of nitric acid from which the nitrous acid has been removed.
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International Hazard

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[*] posted on 5-5-2011 at 19:11

PETN is a pretty sensitive HE that has been discussed at great length on this site. I suggest you; <a href="[]=all&srchfrom=0&filter _distinct=yes&searchsubmit=Search">Try here first.</a> A.K.A. utfse;)

Read all of COPAE, read about nitration and the dangers, look into proper lab technique and risk management in the high explosives manufacturing industry. I would never call making H.E. at home "safe," though if you do your homework and scale down you may prevent a catastrophe.

U.T.F.S.E. and learn the joys of autodidacticism!

Don't judge each day only by the harvest you reap, but also by the seeds you sow.
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National Hazard

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[*] posted on 5-5-2011 at 21:09

Here is a thread on safety.
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International Hazard

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[*] posted on 6-5-2011 at 06:01

It's all pretty much been said. However make sure you pull all that acid OUT of the final product. Without it being ph neutral the product becomes increasingly sensitive and toxic during it's shelf life until a serious issue become irreversible. Re-crystallization is vital. The threads you were directed to and advice give are a wise course of action.

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[*] posted on 15-7-2011 at 19:38

Mixture of fuming nitric acid(≥95%) and phosphorous anhydride,Proven to be an efficient Nitrating agent.
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A pnictogen

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[*] posted on 16-7-2011 at 00:07

And do not use the 100g scale in that procedure. Start with a gram and work up once you have a feeling for the material and the reaction.

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