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Another Floor Wax And Desert Topping

If you have heart problems, your cardiologist may prescribe a vasodilator like pentaerythritol tetranitrate [C5H8N4O12] or glyceryl trinitrate [C3H5N3O9]. They both do a competent job, and save lives in emergency situations.

The two have something else in common – they explode. The first, PETN, is used in C4, Semtex, and the shorts of the sons of Nigerian bankers. The second, nitroglycerin, is the active ingredient in Dynamite.

Any system that accurately detects PETN is going to flag heart patients carrying their Lentonitrat pills, as they are almost pure PETN. This also means that you can buy/steal PETN from pharmacies. I’m sure everyone remembers that the number two man in al Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, is a surgeon, as are a number of Islamic whackos.

Isn’t chemistry wonderful?

2 comments

1 Kryten42 { 12.30.09 at 10:51 pm }

Yup! Knowledge of Chemistry is wonderful! I learned a lot about the uses of chemical compounds. 😉

I see the US Gov is still an invaluable detailed resource on using Chemistry to make things go *bang*, and on doing so safely! 😉
A new insensitive explosive that has moderate performance and is low cost: 2,4-Dinitroimidazole

It’s also known as RX51 (in fact, as with C4 and RDX, there are several *grades*). We used this in a .50cal cartridge for an AMR (called the Raufoss Mk 211). It was a copper jacket cartridge with an incendiary in the nose, followed by a high-explosive (RDX or RX51), followed by a tungsten-carbide penetrator surrounded by zirconium powder in a mild-steel cup. Made a lovely *bang* when it hit something solid. 😉

If a terrorist group *really* wanted to terrorize, they would do the job nicely, and from a long safe distance! These cartridges will go through the wall of most buildings before detonating and causing a great deal of mayhem on the other side. I can assure anyone, nobody known more about *terrorizing* others than any half-decent Military, including the USA.

2 Bryan { 12.31.09 at 12:04 am }

The Dupont Blasters Handbook is the standard reference for blowing stuff up. They cover it all, including the use of fertilizer, and where to place charges. It’s not like almost any rifle cartridge can’t be used as a detonator.

Yes, the expensive stuff from high quality labs is better and more destructive, but you can be suitably impressive after a visit to most feed stores.

The only way to stop this sort of thing is to take these people out of circulation before they arrive at the ticket counter. A damn airport terminal is a pretty good target on its own.

I’m tired of the theater. It’s expensive, and really isn’t worth the money that is spent. You have to wonder when people will figure out that they need to start carrying radiation badges if they fly a lot, because all of the imagining is not good for your long-term health.