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Newsgroups: alt.war,rec.pyrotechnics,alt.folklore.military
From: (Arno Hahma)
Subject: Re: "Red Mercury" Bomb
Organization: University of Turku
Date: Wed, 5 Jul 1995 16:08:38 GMT
Lines: 56

In article <>,
Allen Thomson <> wrote:

>>1 - Red mercury is an explosive substance invented in the USSR
>>(status in USA less clear) with an explosive yield intermediate

>>2 - Red mercury (as described in #1) is a fantasy invented by
>>semi-clever con-artists, who substitute all kinds of red powders

Version 3: Red mercury is a code name for nuclear material, that can be
used in nuclear weapons. If I remember it correctly, the gas diffusion
enrichement process uses large amount of mercury to trap the U-235
into. Also, storing the nuclear material as a solution on pure mercury
would be quite possible, since mercury has many isotopes, that are not
radioactive nor poison the nuclear material (low neutron absorption
cross section). Also, Hg is easy to separate by distillation.

Version 4: RM is a new nuclear material more potent than the U-235 or
Pu-239. There has been values for the density of it (20.2 g/ccm), which
is the density of Np. Looking at the element data from
literature, Np-236 happens to have a _very_ large neutron capture cross
section for fission and a relatively long half life. Also, it doesn't
seem to decay through spontaneous fission, at least I found
no mention about such. I wonder how well you could build a device out
of that...

This would also explain, why a "powerful nuclear reactor" is needed.
Np-236 could be made from U-235 by neutron irradiation, so you'd
need a reactor to do that. In addition, the yield is going to be low,
since U-235 likes to fission from neutrons and the resulting Np-236 is
likely to do that even more easily. So, very large amounts of material
would be needed to get even some yield -> a large reactor. Hmm... how
about irradiating U-235 dissolved in Hg? That could make the separation
process easier afterwards.

>  There's version 1.5: that R.M., whatever it is, is a powerful
>enough explosive to squish DT or DD to fusion.

This possibility is not too remote. Unfortunately, I don't have any
examples to point at (maybe somebody has), but nitrated metal complexes
are being studied as candidates for high performance explosives. As the
amount of chemical energy loadable into a molecule is limited, another
approach might be more useful: increase the density.  The density of an
explosive is about as important as its energy content, when the
detonation velocity and pressure are to be maximized.

So, if you could make an explosive with a density, say, twice that
of RDX and the same energy content per unit weight, then you'd have
something that is going to outperform any present explosives.

>  I really hope that isn't so. Give me version 2 any day.

Well, the other possibilities are far more interesting ;).


From: (Gerald L. Hurst)
Newsgroups: sci.chem
Subject: Re: Red Mercury
Date: 9 Jan 1996 20:35:23 GMT

In article <>, (Thallion) says:

> YS> It appears that there is colorable evidence
> YS> that "Red Mercury" is an actual substance,
> YS> and a strategic one at that.
> Sw> I have seen this so called 2020 (refering to its density) on a TV
> Sw> recording. According to the formula it is a free radical. Who ever
> Sw> invented this (meta?) stable substance should apply for the Nobel
> Sw> Price in both physics and chemistry! I don't belive such a substance
> Sw> excist.
>According to a documentary I saw once, the data on the compound was the
>following; they didn't show it explicitly, but it was readable on some
>papers on some professor's desk if the VCR was paused.
>   Melting Point: -37.87?C
>Molecular Weight: 756.61 u
>         Density: 20.20 Kg/dm3
>          MC (?): 196.0127 ? 2%
>         Formula: Hg2Sb2O7
>Can someone synthesize this compound, and see if it is red? :)

Salts of the general type M2As2O7 are known where M is a divalent 
metal. There seems to be no reason why the mercuric salt should 
not exist, but one would hardly expect it to have a low melting
point or a density anywhere near 20. Whatever MC is, they certainly
seem to know how to measure it accurately.

Jerry (Ico)

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