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From: (Arno Hahma)
Newsgroups: rec.pyrotechnics
Subject: Re: Story! (was Re: Some misconceptions about "Nitrogen Iodide"
Message-ID: <>
Date: 11 Nov 92 20:20:45 GMT

Andre Beck ( wrote:

: Btw, is there a chance to nitrate Sorbit (a hexa alcohol, cheaply avail-
: able as a replacement sugar for diabetics) into a kind of hexanitrate ?

Yes, it is possible and has been done. However, sorbitolhexanitrate is
not easy to make. To nitrate sorbitol to the hexanitrate one requires
very concentrated nitric acid, that has to be absolutely free of
nitrites. Still, the product tends to be impure, i.e. contain much of
the pentanitrate. If so, the product will be a wet mass of crystals,
as the mixture of hexa- and pentanitrates melts relatively low. That
makes the purification particularly difficult. Also, the pentanitrate
is not as stable as the hexanitrate. That is one reason, why
sorbitolhexanitrate is not very stable, but easily starts giving off
red fumes on storage. The compound is also very sensitive to shock and
friction, about as sensitive as nitroglycerine.

A better choice is to nitrate mannitol, an isomer of sorbitol.
Mannitolhexanitrate is much easier to make, it crystallises nicely and
is easily purified by recrystallization from acetone. MHN is much more
stable than sorbitol hexanitrate, but it still requires a
stabilisator, such as akardites or centralites for prolonged, safe

MHN is very sensitive as well, although not as much as the sorbitol
derivative.  MHN has been used as the base charge for blasting caps,
as it is very easy to ignite even with such a weak initiator as
tetracene. I would still prefer using PETN for caps, though.

: stated above, this may be (if somewhat stable) an incredible bristant
: explosive... Its an idea from my school time, but i never tried

You are right, sorbitol and mannitol hexanitrates are extremely
powerful explosives, more powerful than PETN or RDX. I can't remember
the detonation velocity exactly, but it is in the order of 8500 m/s.
The heat of explosion is more than that of the two explosives
mentioned above.

: I dark remember to have read something like this in one of the
: "Kitchen manufacturing of ..." books but i dunno exactly.

MHN and SHN are not something you want to do in your kitchen. Both of
the explosives are close to the primary explosives in their
properties. In addition, you need really concentrated acids in large
excess to gain any yield and such acids might do some severe damage to
average kitchen furniture. Nitration with 99,5+% nitric acid evolves
incredible amounts of nitric acid fumes.

: | Andre' Beck            |   TCP/IP-Mail: |


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