Introduction: How to Demonstrate the Instability of High Explosives

This is a demonstration of why you should not mess around with high explosives. Just breathing on it sets it off. So when someone says, "don't try this at home", follow the instructions.

How to do this
get a high explosive.
Blow on it
Step Back
Count Fingers and Toes


FunkNattidelic (author)2008-03-15

Hey, you said " get high explosive..." but most flash powder, c-4 and Semtex are all high explosives and they aren't reactive like that at all.

correction flash powder is low explosive

im not sure, i was reading something, i think it was on wikipedia, that said that the speed that flash powder burns at isnt considered deflagregaton, (which is how a low explosive eg gunpowder, is defined). it burns at a much faster rate than low explosives, and there fore is considered HE.

the reason i said *most* flash powder up there is because you can make impact/friction sensitive stuff that will go off really easy.

something is considered HE only because it detonates, not explodes.

hifatpeople (author)Alias-Zero2014-05-20

Actually detonation is an explosion. The difference you are looking for is Detonation (kinetic shock causes the reaction) and Deflagration (Heat causes the reaction, layer by layer of molecules).

The textbook definition is when the speed of combustion is faster than the speed of sound through the substance (not through air, it's slower through air). This means that the wave of exploding material is traveling through the material faster than the sound of the explosion is.

GentleMiant (author)Alias-Zero2011-07-04

Sounds as tho you're getting primary and secondary explosives confused. Common HEs like C4 are secondary's primary xps that detonate the secondary ones.

sneezy32 (author)FunkNattidelic2010-07-31

Even when you set a small ammt. of flamable high explosive off, such as TATP, it deflagrates. It detonates, though, in high quantities unconfined, and in basically any qty. confined.

dla888 (author)FunkNattidelic2009-12-27

That probably wasn't high explosives at all. It was probably a low explosive of some obsolete and seldom seen high explosive (I just contradicted myself) that was very sensitive. Today high explosives that are sensitive like that are almost never used or made. They have all been dumped in favor of more stable explosives that require a blasting cap(like C-4 and Semtex).

FunkNattidelic (author)dla8882009-12-27

Ahhh, makes sense.

Oh, i do like the video though.

Aron313 (author)2011-12-17

I think if its not dangerous its not fun!

M4industries (author)2009-12-28

 Probably APAN or TATP. Both are extremely unstable. TATP is the trimer mix (NG unstable) APAN is the dimer mix (less volatile)

sneezy32 (author)M4industries2010-07-31

APAN is Acetone peroxide/ Ammonium nitrate mix. Fairly stable. Not volatile at all. Volatile means it has a high vapor pressure at room temp.

sneezy32 (author)sneezy322010-07-31

Also i think that was either ammonium triiodide or N triiodide. You have to be stupid to make that and try to make anything with it.

YoungPyro19 (author)M4industries2010-03-20
No, you have it all wrong.
TATP is less volatile than dicyclo AP.
If you make AP, you want the trimer not dimer.
APAN is Acetone Peroxide Ammonium Nitrate (C9H18O6/NH4NO3)
M4industries (author)YoungPyro192010-03-25

 Sorry, I was relying on the accuracy of forums and unverified site. My mistake

Jaycub (author)M4industries2010-01-01

I don't think TATP is that sensitive, but yeaah it could be some organic peroxide.

sneezy32 (author)2010-07-31

Well you must not know what you are doing. TATP is relatively stable at room temperature and will not go off when you blow on in. It is not one of the more stable explosives and should not be stored for more that a couple of days. Also, you must check the term HIGH EXPLOSIVE and what it means. High explosives range from TATP to C4 to AN, and Nitroglycerine. C4 will not go off even when exposed to flame and heat, neither will ammonium nitrate. Next time to try to make TATP, do it in the freezer like you're supposed to. Explosives are things that demand respect and preparation. Do your research, and for God's sake, don't put anything inside of a metal conatiner to blow up. I can't stop you from making the stuff and and not telling you not to, but please, know what you are doing first.

PyromaniacDaniel (author)2009-08-18

that looked more like a deflagrant then a detonation to me. AKA not a high explosive.

high explosives don't always detonate, it's just that they have the ability to detonate. if you light acetone peroxide with a flame then it just makes a flash, it doesn't go bang, if you hit it with a hammer then you'll need new eardrums

true. you can burn c4 and it just burns like it was a fuel log. it takes a shockwave to set it off. What I was saying was that the reaction looked more like a deflagration then a detonation and it was not set off by flame but rather a (extremely light) shockwave which would trigger a detonation in a high explosive not a flame. I could be wrong but that is my guess. My quess is they used some highly unstable low explosive.

dla888 (author)PyromaniacDaniel2009-10-31

To detonate C4 you need an electric pulse. Maybe they used Nitrogen triiodide?

PyromaniacDaniel (author)dla8882009-10-31

an electric pulse won't nesisarily due anything to C4. In order for C4 to explode you need high heat and high force. Electricity might get you high heat via a nichrome wire or high voltage arc but no shockwave(force). The electric ignition systems work by igniting a less stable explosive that will detonate on ignition which in turn supplies the high heat and shockwave to the C4 producing detonation.

as for the possiblity of Nitrogen Triiodide - not a chance. The Iodine in the Nitrogen Triiodide colors the smoke purple and I did not see any purple smoke in the video. Nor does Nitrogen Triiodide produce a flame. It merely detonates leaving a cloud of purple smoke.

dla888 (author)PyromaniacDaniel2009-11-01

I looked up C-4 on Wikipedia (I know the info could be false) and it says: "Either electric or nonelectric circuits may be used to detonate the charge." But I suppose that is referring to the booster charge.

"Detonation can only be initiated by a combination of extreme heat and a shockwave..." I now stand corrected. You were right.

In Vietnam soldiers used C-4 to heat food. This is from C-4's wiki "While many soldiers used C-4 safely in this manner, there are anecdotes about soldiers trying to put out the fire by stamping on it —causing it to detonate."

M4industries (author)dla8882009-12-18

 Epic fail

a soldier blowing his own foot off

dla888 (author)M4industries2009-12-27

Medic: "Hey Smith is down! I think he stepped on a mine."
Sargent: "What happened Smith?"
Smith: "I was trying to put out my C-4!"

James (pseudo-geek) (author)2008-02-22

cool. what kind of explosive was it?

TATP, acetone peroxide, you can make it with hydrogen peroxide,acetone,sulphuric acid(drain cleaners)and 48 hours of time

Malaachi (author)alwinovich2008-09-18

No sulfuric acid is not used.

alwinovich (author)Malaachi2008-09-30

yes it is, as a catlalyst (at least I used it when I made it)

M4industries (author)alwinovich2009-12-18

 HCL is better.


DeusXMachina (author)2008-08-28

Ammonium triiodide goes BANG all at once and gives off purple dust, no fire. The fireball is pretty consistent with badly made TATP, or as mentioned diacetonediperoxide. My guess is that the synthesis was performed at too high of a temperature, and the crystals were dried inconsistently over a large area, so as to create moist areas or pockets to prevent DDT (deflagration to detonation transition.) Properly made TATP you can hit lightly with a hammer and it won't go, however striking it with the force used to, say, drive a nail, will set it off.

dla888 (author)DeusXMachina2009-11-01

Suppose it is a sensitive chemical that sets of something mixed with it. Like setting off flash powder with TATP.

Berkin (author)DeusXMachina2008-11-21

Nitrogen triiodide can also be used. Look up 'Peter Logan's Exploding Paste' on YouTube and you'll find some hilarious examples of what you can do with it.

alwinovich (author)DeusXMachina2008-09-14

I agree

This is Acetone Peroxide. However it was not actually initiated with his breath, he just set it up to look that way. He probably inserted a length of nichrome wire into AP off camera and pressed a button right when he blew on it to make it seem like it went off from the blow. A "friend" of mine has made AP with no cooling on a 110F day and it was just as sensitive as AP made at 5C. There really is no noticeable difference.

THESTU (author)2009-04-11


Alextherobot (author)2008-04-26

flash powder isn't a high explosive.

Berkin (author)Alextherobot2008-11-21

Yeah, it's a low explosive. Still it burns rather fast when unconfined.

Alias-Zero (author)2008-08-21

how about making some and posting it on youtube?

alwinovich (author)Alias-Zero2008-08-24

there is enough about it on youtube and I'm not making it again, i underestimated the power of it and nearly blew a finger off

Alias-Zero (author)alwinovich2008-08-24

tell u wat. i made a nuclear warhead. but im not making it again, i nearly blew half of the Earth away.

alwinovich (author)Alias-Zero2008-09-14

har har very funny no I'm serious too bad i didn't make pictures otherwise it would have posted them

Alias-Zero (author)2008-06-20

disgustingly fake! if that were HE, the guy would have lost his head, literally.

eskimojo (author)Alias-Zero2008-09-12

How so? It was just a really quick flame, catch some hair on fire... Yes! very possible, lose a limb or the head... very doubtful. There was no shrapnel to cut or tear or pierce, there was no real concussion. So please explain to me why this would make him literally lose his head. This is plenty realistic, I don't see anything that looks fake at all... stupid, yes; fake? no.

BOXHARD (author)2008-02-07

Any clues anyone? Ammonium Iodide maybe?...

technodude92 (author)BOXHARD2008-02-24

I think it's in the keywords "Peroxyacetone"?

I think if he would of used tatp, you would of heard a big bang...

you think this is exactly how tatp behaves

if you make it properly , it would be much more stable , and over 2 grams it explodes and the flame is way to big for <2 grams

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