Newsgroups: rec.pyrotechnics From: email@example.com (Arno Hahma) Subject: Re: The infamous Astrolite/C-4 Date: Thu, 22 Jun 1995 21:20:35 GMT In article <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Gerald L. Hurst <email@example.com> wrote: >Astrolite could hold its own with the best of the standard >military explosives on a pound for pound basis, but it lacked Not any more. There are other, more energetic formulations. >The Astrolite explosives family was of interest for a number of >reasons based on unusual properties which would not be of much >use except for special military or covert applications which are All such properties can be had in a less hazardous form. For instance, a mixture made of FEFO (bis(fluorodinitroethyl)formal, bis(fluorodinitropropyl)formal and fluorodinitroethyldinitropropyl formal is an eutectic mixture and a liquid at RT. The mixture is pretty insensitive and non-toxic, at least compared to hydrazine compounds. Guess, what such a liquid, insensitive, stable and high performance explosive could be used for... ;>. >I don't believe the procedures (with some patent exceptions) were >ever published, but I have seen a lot of published speculation. It is easy: mix hydrazine hydrate with ammonium perchlorate or nitrate or mixtures thereof. Instead of hydrazine hydrate, anhydrous hydrazine can also be used yielding a more powerful mixture. Unless you know what anhydrous hydrazine can do, don't do it. I'd say: not for household use ;). >unpublished expertise to stay alive playing with these materials. Yup. That can only be obtained one way: experiments and practice. It can be done, but it is not convenient. >Jerry ArNO 2
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Gerald L. Hurst) Newsgroups: rec.pyrotechnics Subject: Re: The infamous Astrolite/C-4 Date: 23 Jun 1995 07:01:53 GMT Organization: Consulting Chemist In article <DALFAC.5Fu@utu.fi>, email@example.com (Arno Hahma) says: >In article <firstname.lastname@example.org>, >Gerald L. Hurst <email@example.com> wrote: > >>Astrolite could hold its own with the best of the standard >>military explosives on a pound for pound basis, but it lacked > >Not any more. There are other, more energetic formulations. There may well be, but you have no way of knowing what specific formulation I was talking about and are therefore not in a position to judge. >>The Astrolite explosives family was of interest for a number of >>reasons based on unusual properties which would not be of much >>use except for special military or covert applications which are > >All such properties can be had in a less hazardous form. All? How can you possibly know what properties I was referring to? How about propagation at a thickness of 0.1 mm under 12,000 psi? >For instance, a mixture made of FEFO (bis(fluorodinitroethyl)formal, >bis(fluorodinitropropyl)formal and fluorodinitroethyldinitropropyl >formal is an eutectic mixture and a liquid at RT. The mixture is pretty >insensitive and non-toxic, at least compared to hydrazine compounds. >Guess, what such a liquid, insensitive, stable and high performance >explosive could be used for... ;>. OK, let me take a wild guess: It could be used in small quantities in admixture with TNT based explosives to lower the impact sensitivity of bombs used against hard targets where penetration prior to detonation is required. The mixture would be an excellent energetic plasticizer and would cost an arm and a leg. It may interest you to know that I developed the Aerojet method of synthesizing FEFO without isolating the A-diol. The method involves oxidative nitration followed by aqueous fluorination to form the precursor fluorodinitroethanol. The rest, of course is a piece of cake. The mixed formal compositions you mentioned could be made by obvious variations of the final stage reactions Now, you mentioned FEFO in the context of comparing it to one of the Astrolites. This kind of academic nonsense may impress the the teenybombers, but you can hardly expect an explosives chemist to take you seriously. They are different materials with vastly different properties, uses and enormously different prices. You might as well compare Astrolite to perfluoro3,4-tetrahydro-1,2,-diazete. Like FEFO it is very expensive, even more exotic, even less reactive and a heck of a lot more dangerous. It does not come as much of a surprise that the eutectectic you described is a liquid at room temperature since FEFO itself is an oily liquid. One other tidbit may interest you: I synthesized FEFO in pilot plant quantities before Astrolite became the new kid on the block. Since I was Chief Scientist of the company that invented and manufactured Astrolite, I would have been the first to tell them if FEFO was better suited for our purposes. It most definitely wasn't. Enough, already. I started this discussion by saying the Astrolites compared favorably with "standard" military explosives on a weight for weight basis. I hope that none of our readers get the impression that there is anything standard about specialty materials such as FEFO. "Standard" refers to materials like TNT, RDX, Comp. B, Comp C-4, tetryl and the like and, of course various aluminized materials. One can certainly make more powerful explosives, but there is usually a catch in the form of either some hazard or plain old high cost. Grumble. >>I don't believe the procedures (with some patent exceptions) were >>ever published, but I have seen a lot of published speculation. > >It is easy: mix hydrazine hydrate with ammonium perchlorate or nitrate >or mixtures thereof. Instead of hydrazine hydrate, anhydrous hydrazine >can also be used yielding a more powerful mixture. Unless you know what >anhydrous hydrazine can do, don't do it. I'd say: not for household use >;). I can't really comment on compositions other than to say that it would be inadvisable for most people to work with the moderately energetic but highly reactive mixtures you have described. I guarantee that there are much safer formulations which will make a lot more noise pound for pound with a lot less danger.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Gerald L. Hurst) Newsgroups: alt.engr.explosives Subject: Re: GET YOUR HOMEADE ASTROLITE HERE!!!!!!!!!!!! Date: 6 Nov 1995 20:09:18 GMT Organization: Consulting Chemist Lines: 29 In article <email@example.com>, firstname.lastname@example.org (Lowell) says: >Here it is, and you don't have to mail any loser. > >ASTROLITE LIQUID EXPLOSIVES > > Astrolite explosives are formed [Snip] Another post from one of the many juvenile explosives "candy men." Much of the information in the above post is dangerously innacurate or misleading, particularly with regard to sensitivity and serious undisclosed hazards. In certain situations, Astrolite is as sensitive as nitroglycerin and much more prone to react with common materials. There have been several deaths from accidental explosions of these formulations, including at least two very experienced chemists. Jerry
From: email@example.com (Gerald L. Hurst) Newsgroups: alt.engr.explosives Subject: Re: astrolite g detonation Date: 8 Jul 1996 08:01:57 GMT In article <firstname.lastname@example.org>, GUCL60A@prodigy.com (Robert Preston) says: >Anyone have some different ways to detonate astrolite g ? I've detonated from left to right, right to left, upwards, downwards and obliquely to all the preceding. It always looked pretty much the same going and coming in real time. Several fellows discovered new ways to detonate it, but they're not around to tell how they did it. I suppose the two most innovative ways I've detonated Astrolite was with a hypergolic detonator and with a shockwave passing first through a twenty foot column of oil. A 30-06 bullet detonates it nicely if it is adjacent to metal and sometimes when it's not. The most difficult way I ever used was a stab detonator set off by a rubber chaser pumped through the center string of an oil well under 1500 feet of oil and water. Oh, yeah and once in a steel bomb under 12,000 psi. Never try this with anything but a seismic cap. The others make a little ping as they suddenly collapse under a few thousand psi and that's scary. For the life of me I can't recall how I could have been dumb enough to be close enough to hear that ping. Beware of Astrolite in cylindrical tubes of high shock impedance. It loves a good LVD (low velocity detonation) under such conditions and most anything is liable to set it off. BTW, Astrolites A and G were pussycats compared to some of the other letters that nobody ever wrote about in public. Jerry (Ico)
From: email@example.com (Gerald L. Hurst) Newsgroups: rec.pyrotechnics,alt.engr.explosives Subject: Re: Steel Compression... Date: 12 Jan 1997 06:45:17 GMT In article <firstname.lastname@example.org>, email@example.com (Gerald L. Hurst) says: >The various Astrolite formulations are subject to LVD >when confined in materiproperty of many liquid explosives >and leads to extreme shock sensitivity under certain >conditions. I don't know what happened to the above transmission but here it is again with the missing middle portion: The various Astrolite formulations are subject to LVD when confined in material having high shock impedance. This is a common property of many liquid explosives and leads to extreme shock sensitivity under certain conditions. Jerry (Ico)
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Gerald L. Hurst) Newsgroups: alt.engr.explosives Subject: Re: Dehydrating Hydrazine hydrate? Date: 2 Nov 1996 17:56:23 GMT In article <327BE2CD.132C@tick.toc>, DooDaa <DooDaa@tick.toc> says: >A while ago I ordered a bottle of "hydrazine", but when it arrived it >was "hydrazine hydrate". Does Astrolite work with this, or does it need >"anhydrous hydrazine?" If so, does anyone have any ideas/experience >regarding the dehydration of "hydrazine hydrate?" My advice would be to stick with PETN and rattlesnakes. Hydrazine hydrate is marginal at best for explosives formulations but still dangerous to play with -- too toxic and too subject to the hazardous but useless LVD phenomenon that has already claimed enough lives from guys messing with Astrolite variations. Jerry (Ico)
From: "Gerald L. Hurst" <email@example.com> Newsgroups: alt.engr.explosives Subject: Re: Astrolite, FAE's and PBX's Date: Thu, 02 Jul 1998 03:44:37 -0500 Air-scatterable mines based on special Astrolite formulations and using hypergollic initiators were developed during the Vietnam war. Jerry (Ico) Walter and Lisa wrote: > astrolite in an aerial dist. , not feasible , I would say , unless the > delivery vehicle was baffled ?
From: "Gerald L. Hurst" <GHURST@austin.rr.com> Newsgroups: alt.engr.explosives Subject: Re: Explosives, obviously Date: Wed, 20 Oct 1999 06:44:11 GMT Never try to make Astrolite of any kind in glasssware unless you're tired of living. Astrolite and NG both blow up for their own reasons. They are both exceedingly dangerous. With Astrolite, it is the reasons you don't know that will kill you. The Astrolite type you are referring to was never billed as the most powerful. A more complicated formulation (A-1-5) was given that title by some. This material was really quite energetic on a weight basis, but its low density limited its bulk strength. Making a world-beating explosive based on power alone is not all that difficult. The problem lies in making one that is actually usable rather than just a candidate for Guinness. Jerry dlwdaw <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote in message news:<email@example.com>... [snip] >for astrolite do it in a glass bottle with a glass stirring rod. [snip] >then make Astrolite. it wont blow up for no reason like nitroglycerin can do [snip] >and all that crap about astrolite being 'the most powerful explosive known > to man" it is not true anymore,
From: firstname.lastname@example.org Newsgroups: rec.pyrotechnics Subject: Re: Most powerful chemical explosives (was Re: recipes anyone?) Message-ID: <1990Dec15.email@example.com> Date: 15 Dec 90 14:43:38 GMT In article <firstname.lastname@example.org>, email@example.com (William Bedard) writes: > > Their first explosive is Hydrazine Perchlorate (your skin should be > crawling by now). They describe the chemical reactions neccessary to > produce this chemical and an apparatus similar to jars, your backyard, > and full NBC protective clothing. OK, they give a little in some areas > but they make up for it in others... > Their second explosive is actually very much the same compound but with > Aluminum added to "contribute electrons" and therefor power to the decomp > rxn. Apparently Al powder (~400 mesh) will dissolve in the stuff but who > knows. Both of these mixtures are known as Astrolites, a trade name. Astrolite is a binary explosive, consisting of hydrazinium perchlorate and nitrate, when mixed. Some astrolites are made of only the perchlorate (the most powerful ones). The one component of the explosive is ammonium perchlorate or a mixture of ammonium perchlorate and nitrate. The other component is hydrazine. As these are mixed, ammonia is evolved and the residue is the explosive, very brisant and gives off extremely lots of gases. The latter property makes it particularly good for underwater/ground uses. > I can't quote figures as I don't have the brochure on hand. Personally, > I read it, realized how dangerous this stuff is, and put it away. As I The stuff is really sensitive, about as sensitive as ethylene glycol dinitrate right after preparation and as sensitive as PETN later, as the ammonia has evaporated completely. The detonation velocity of this stuff is around 8500 m/s and it is slightly more energetic than hexogen. The large gas volume produced makes it more powerful than hexogen or octogen, since the tests often measure this property. The brisance, however, is slightly less, since Astrolite is not very dense, about 1,5 gr/ccm. The aluminized Astrolites are still much more powerful (detonation heat) but not much more brisant. The aluminum does not dissolve, but remains as a dispersion in the mixture. To help this some gelatinizing agents may be added. > BTW, this is a liquid explosive so they mention all kinds of subversive > ways of desguising and delivering the explosive (hence my clue that they > may not have the purest intentions in mind...) Like the use as a land mine? Pour the mixture into ground and stick a detonator into it. Really nasty. If it rains, it doesn't actually matter. The mine will remain operational for a week or more in heavy rain. > THINKING about making this stuff unless you have complete protection. > The chemicals involved are NFPA rated at 4/4/4/No Water. Surely, anhydrous hydrazine is a really nasty stuff to mess with. ArNO 2
From: firstname.lastname@example.org Newsgroups: rec.pyrotechnics Subject: Re: Most powerful chemical explosives Message-ID: <1990Dec18.email@example.com> Date: 18 Dec 90 14:34:37 GMT In article <firstname.lastname@example.org> email@example.com (bill nelson) writes: >>The stuff is really sensitive, about as sensitive as ethylene glycol >>dinitrate right after preparation and as sensitive as PETN later, as the >>ammonia has >Does this mean that the mixture loses sensitivity? If I recall correctly, >PETN is not very sensitive at all. Yes it does. The ammonia is dissolved in the mixture and it takes a while for it to evaporate. During that time there will be very much small bubbles in the liquid and these sensitize it very effectively. The same sensitization method is used for slurries as well. A gas is dispersed as tiny bubbles into the slurry, and these bubbles make it possible to initiate the slurry even with a blasting cap only. There are also other methods for sensitizing explosives. This is just one possibility. ArNO 2
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Arno Hahma) Newsgroups: rec.pyrotechnics Subject: Re: Liquid Explosives Message-ID: <1991Sep30.email@example.com> Date: 30 Sep 91 17:57:36 GMT In article <29SEP199111231963@envmsa.eas.asu.edu> firstname.lastname@example.org (Thomas H. Homan (aka Bit Bucket Bandit)) writes: >I want to try is called Astrolite. Does anyone have any experience with >this explosive? Yes. It is a problematic mixture. Not, that it is highly sensitive, but it is highly toxic and corrosive. Also, it is far too brisant to be suitable for rock blasting. >Astrolite G is formed by mixing 2 parts by weight of Ammonium Nitrate and 1 >part by weight of anhydrous hydrazine. As far as I know, the ammonium nitrate here is a 1:1 (molar ratio) mixture of ammonium perchlorate and ammonium nitrate. >Astrolite A-1-5 out performs blasting gelatin by 3-5 times Definitely not. Blasting gelatine (in a borehole) outperforms TNT by a factor of about 2. In the open the above is likely to be true. >Astrolite A-1-5 is about 2 times more powerful than TNT >Astrolite A-1-5 is 40 times safer than Nitroglycerin explosives under > adiabatic compression and impact shock. >Astrolite produces a crater 3 times greater than C-4 >Astrolite produces a crater 1.5x greater than PBXN-1 >Astrolite G has a det velocity of 8600 MPS >Astrolite A-1-5 has a det velocity of 7800 MPS Impressive figures, and all true. The effective compounds here are hydrazine nitrate and perchlorate. >Considering I'm going to be drilling vertical bore holes, would this be good >to use? In my thinking, using a liquid explosive that is easily manufactured >has several bonuses... No. It is too brisant as such. Maybe, if you dilute it with water (it dissolves very well) or use it as a slurry sensitizer. >1 - Safety - Individual components can be stored separately and you only mix > the amount you need on site. This is only one part of the truth. The AN is safe, but the anhydrous hydrazine or hydrazine hydrate is not. A drop of it on your hands and it burns like a drop of molten solder. The burns heal slowly. Also, it rapidly destroys rubber, so wearing rubber gloves only makes it worse. It is poisonous, comparable to cyanides in that respect. It is a cancerogen. So, you still have to be careful with this, although the components are not explosive - in fact this is the problem with almost any two-component explosive. This is also why they are seldom used, with the exception of some two-component slurries. >2 - Power - It would seem that a liquid explosive would perform better than > a composite explosive due to a more uniform density and more contact with > the walls of the borehole. Also partly true. You do get a better contact, but it may be even too good. Think about any possible cracks in the rock - the stuff will flow into them. Then, you will get quite surprising results, as a few or more holes are set off simultaneously and large chunks of rock fly in the air. Also, the stuff is highly brisant causing small splinters to be formed - they are the worst you can imagine, your rock becomes a large scale shrapnel with both large and small, very fast fragments. Usually, you only get medium sized ones, whose flight path can be well controlled. Astrolites are still rather sensitive explosives and very prone to symphatetic detonation. This with the explosive in the cracks makes it pretty sure you get erratic ignitions while trying to blast rock. The cracks are not a problem with liquid slurries, since the slurries are used with large boreholes (50 mm and up) and with larger distances from hole to hole. Also, slurries are not sensitive and do not detonate symphatetically unless large amounts are in contact with each other. In fact, in this case it is advantageous, that the cracks in the rock are filled, since detonation of the other boreholes is not likely due to the insensitivity and large distances of the adjacent holes. >any and all comments would be appreciated. Just for comparison, as powerful a binary explosive is the mixture of nitrobenzene with concentrated nitric acid (25/75 by weight approximately). It is also corrosive but still more comfortable to handle than Astrolites. It does not evolve gaseous ammonia on mixing, like the astrolites do and it is about as sensitive as freshly prepared Astrolite G. For rock blasting you need a relatively slow detonating explosive with a large gas volume. The detonation only initiates the cracking of the rock and the gas pressure does most of the work. Astrolites do generate really lots of gas - in this respect they are ideal for rock blasting. But, they detonate too fast. If you slow them down, like impregnating an inert stuff with them or diluting them with an inert solvent, then they are suitable for blasting. >Thomas H Homan _______________________________________________________________________________ _____ _____ _____ | |__| |__| | A. Hahma | | Research Centre of the Defence Forces |_________________| Department of Chemistry | . | Laboratory of Propellants and Explosives | . . | BOX 5 | . | SF-34111 LAKIALA _| . . |_ Tel. +31-492177 | . | | | |_________________|