Joined: Nov. 2006
|Quote (Louis @ April 29 2007,07:09)|
I was straying away from mentioning propylene oxide and nitrogen triiodide, they are simply too easy to make. Unfortunately.
Things like nitroglycerin are relatively easy to make but require some skill, care and basic knowledge. NI3 (how do we do subscript?) and propylene oxide (and various fertiliser bombs) are vastly too simple for my tastes. A reasonably competent marmoset could make them*.
Another readily available and bloody dangerous compound is picric acid. When cleaning out an old prof's lab during my PhD we uncovered over a kilo of the stuff, crystalline, dry as a bone, mouldering in the back of someone's under hood cupboards. We had two choices: a) call the bomb squad (responsible and entirely appropriate) or b) wait until night time, pinch it, take it somewhere remote and heave stone at it until it went bang (irresponsible and bloody dangerous, esp as losing a hand/life was a real possibility given how little force it takes to detonate). Of course we all know which option me and the boys in the lab took.
*I conclusively demonstrated this during my first year undergrad by getting myself and several friends so drunk we had the IQs of marmosets and then making NI3. It really works, and if you have to make it people, for fuck's sake keep it wet until you need it.
Oh yes, they warn you about picric acid nowadays. I never have used the stuff, but every year at the OSHA/EPA thingie where they hand out the chemical hygiene program, they bring it up briefly. They also tell the story of a guy who cleaned out a belljar using nitric acid (instead of HCl like he was supposed to) and put the nitric acid soaked paper towels in a 4L waste bottle that had acetone fumes in it. Then he sealed it and went home for the night. The next morning the pressure had built up and blam.
Ah, explosion stories.
My first really nasty explosion wasn't so large, but it spewed concentrated acid all over. I was trying to wash by centrifuge something that I thought I had carboxylated, but in fact I suppose I had nitrated instead. Well, when the centrifuge got up to speed, the tubes exploded, destroying the rotor and spewing nitric and sulfuric acid in a nice circular pattern, on one of my lab mates and all over papers. Lovely.
Then another time, at band camp, not, someone (not me) left the lab while distilling ether and the still had run dry. I guess there were peroxides built up or something, but when it blew, it sounded like a cannon going off.
And most recently, there are these samples of a certain carbon based material that will remain nameless that I had to react with potassium metal. They die in the air very quickly, but when they slowly "die" because there is a very little bit of air they go to a sort of metastable state. Then when air really hits them, they go off like a pistol. It literally sounds like a .45 going off. It's kinda cool, but it actually sucks.
With most men, unbelief in one thing springs from blind belief in another. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
To do just the opposite is also a form of imitation. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg