decomposes at 75 °C
HMTD, or hexamethylenetriperoxidediamine, is a somewhat unstable primary explosive compound. Its extreme sensitivity to heat, shock, and friction make HMTD a poor choice for the lesser skilled home chemist. This lab uses hydrogen peroxide at 30% concentration, it is possible to use the more common 3% concentration by adding ten times as much. The hexamethylenetetramine used here, also called hexamine, methenamine, or urintropine, can be purchased as "heating tablets." As to what heating tablets are... They are used in camping and in the military for heating meals, or hand warmers. It is very unlikely that you will find this anymore, so synthesize your own as described in the chemical synthesis section. HMTD has been used as a detonator, it is safer and more powerful than mercury fulminate or acetone peroxide. It is stable when compared to other primary explosives, and it is one of the safest explosive peroxides. HMTD should be kept cool and dry as it may evaporate or decompose, it should also be kept away from metals as it will corrode them. HMTD will detonate if struck, but will only burn if heated.
|citric acid||200-mL beaker|
|hydrogen peroxide||stirrer/stirring rod|
Dissolve 14 g of methenamine in 50 mL of 30% hydrogen peroxide in a 200-mL beaker while stirring vigorously with a magnetic stirrer or with a stirring rod. You must also cool this solution by placing the beaker in a salt-ice bath. While stirring, slowly add 21 g of powdered citric acid in small portions to the beaker making sure the temperature stays at or below 0 °C at all times. After adding the citric acid, keep stirring for 3 hours and continue to hold the temperature at 0 °C. Next, remove the beaker from the cooling bath and let it stand at room temperature for 2 hours, discontinue stirring as well. Finally, pour the solution over a filter to collect the crystals of HMTD, wash them thoroughly with water, and rinse with methyl or ethyl alcohol so they can dry faster at room temperature. Dry by setting in a cool place. HMTD does not store well, so deal with it immediately. You will need a graduated cylinder for measuring liquids, and a thermometer to monitor the temperature.
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