How to Demonstrate the Instability of High Explosives


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



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    43 Discussions

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

    5 replies

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

    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.

    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)

    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.

    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.

    3 replies

    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).

    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.

    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.

    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."

    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!"