Explosive Theory

This website is contains information about the chemistry behind explosives

Saturday, August 19, 2006


I have not made this one yet, due to cost. I will hopefully make it in the future, but if someone out there could make it, and inform me on it's properties, that would be great. There is little know about this explosive including detonation velocity.

The source report for this info is MHSMP-71-880, from LLNL.

Benzotrifuroxane (BTF)

Formula: C6N6O6
Melting point: 195° C
Boiling point: decomposes at 265° C
water: insoluble
95+% ethanol: soluble

Benzotrifuroxane (BTF) is a stable explosive investigated by the US explosives labs. It has a base structure of a hexane ring, the pi bonds of the TNTAB's benzene ring being broken in forming the trioxane rings.

1,3,5-Trinitro-2,4,6-triazidobenzene (TNTAB)

Formula: C6(N3)3(NO2)3
Melting point: unknown
Boiling point: unknown
water: insoluble to slightly soluble
95+% ethanol: soluble

TNTAB is an intermediate in the production of Benzotrifuroxane (BTF). It is likely a shock sensitive explosive, but no information in unclassified literature is available about this.

Synthesis (TNTAB):

1) A 500 ml 3-neck flask is fitted with a mechanical stirrer, a thermometer, and a graduated addition funnel. A circulating water bath is used to maintain the reaction at a constant temperature.

2) 5.3 g of 1,3,5-Trinitro-2,4,6-trichlorobenzene (TNTClB, also designated in other reports as TCTNB) is added to 150 ml of ethanol in the flask.

3) Prepare, in a beaker, add 20 ml of water to 60 ml of 95+% ethanol. To this, add 3.2 g of sodium azide and stir until disolved. Pour this solution into the addition flask.

Note: The report mentions elsewhere that not all of the sodium azide or TNTClB will go into solution.

4) While stirring, slowly add, over 30 minutes, the sodium azide solution to the TNTClB solution. Continue the stirring for the next 6 hours. Adjust the water bath flow to maintain a 20° C temperature for the solution.

5) When complete, add 150 ml of water to the solution with stirring. The TNTAB intermediate will precipitate out of solution.

6) Filter out the TNTAB and wash with 100 ml of water (the last is their recommendation).

Note: It is recommended that the purification process mentioned in the LLNL report not be followed. The people who were performing the experiment used 10 washings of the product with 95% ethanol, and discovered that they were washing away the product (even the pros screw up). They used a final wash consisting of 75 ml of ethanol and 75 ml of water, which did not appear to disolve much of the product. This was followed by a wash of 100 ml of water. I suspect that washing out the unreacted sodium azide and resultant sodium chloride can be done with water only. The implications of the report are that TNTAB is only slightly soluble, or insoluble, in water.

Synthesis (BTF):

1) Dissolve 10 g of TNTAB (above) in 45 ml propanoic acid, and place the solution in a reflux apparatus on an oil bath at 135° - 140° C for 30 minutes. As the solution is warmed, all solids will go into solution at approximately 80° C. Considerable N2 gas is evolved as the azo groups break down and form the furoxane rings.

2) The solution is allowed to cool, and is poured into 400 ml of water. The BTF precipitates out of solution

3) Filter off and dry the BTF.

Note: The report recommends refluxing in xylene, but also mentions that they do not have a viable method to recover the BTF from the xylene. The refluxing in propanoic acid has the advantage of recovery of the product by precipitating the BTF by adding water.


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