Monday, August 14, 2006

PEROXIDE BOMB: TATP synthesis methods, from the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS), January 2005

Updated -- Zazi case discussion, link at footer

Lay readers of Dick Destiny blog may be surprised to find syntheses of triacetone peroxide, validated in the peer-reviewed scientific literature, have been on the web for some time. And I'm not talking about the ones which invariably rise to the top in Google, provided by the enthusiastic amateur chemists and hoarders of anarchy files.

Many peer-reviewed articles are available through the digital object identification (or DOI) tracking/catalog code used by scientific library services. You can, for example, find that dogs can be trained to sniff TATP but that volatility of the scent homed in on presents a challenge. Clever and even not-so-clever Google Fu returns many scholarly papers quickly.

But sometimes you don't even have to go that far. One article of particular interest was published free and clear on the web by the Journal of the American Chemical Society in January of last year. Received by JACS for consideration in June of 2004 and authored by a team of chemists from La Jolla, California, to Jerusalem and Haifa in Israel, it is part of the work of Ehud Keinon, an Israeli scientist who distributed a press release on peroxide bombs after the news broke late last week.

"Decomposition of Triacetone Peroxide is An Entropic Explosion" is a study of the explosive degradation of TATP. The explanations of kinetics and methods discussed in the reaction are beyond the average reader, but the syntheses of TATP, as taken from original literature and shown in the graphic at the end of this article, are not so opaque.

The original syntheses, which the authors utilize, shed light on why stories of terrorists throwing together acetone, peroxide and a little acid from the household into an insta-bomb inside an airplane washroom needed better editing. Can you purchase 50 percent hydrogen peroxide at your pharmacy? Do the syntheses cited mix up instantly? No and no.

See here, where "1" is equivalent to TATP:

Coincidentally, the original Journal of the American Chemical Society paper by Milas, duplicated and referenced in method above, is also on the web. While I can't ascribe a date to its electronic arrival, the abstract was published through the auspices of the American Chemical Society.

And you might also want to read this --> still more on the technology of liquid bombs versus the newsmedia's ideas on them. Make a vodka or gin bomb!

Update! Confiscate all hexamine campfire tablets!

The Beauty Parlor Supply Store Bomb at GlobalSecurity.Org here. With some photos.


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