explodes at 170 °C
|silver fulminate||molecular mass
Silver fulminate is a very sensitive primary explosive compound. It is most often found in "bang snaps" and other novelty pyrotechnic objects. Only very tiny amounts of silver fulminate should be prepared at once, the weight of the crystals can cause them to self detonate. Silver fulminate was first prepared in 1800 by Edward Howard in his research project to prepare a large variety of fulminates. For 200 years it has been only useful as a curiosity explosive in toys and tricks.
|ethyl alcohol||100/500-mL beaker|
|nitric acid||graduated cylinder|
Heat 8 mL of 70% nitric acid in a 100-mL beaker to 35-38 °C. Add 1 g of silver metal to the acid. While the silver is dissolving it will produce toxic nitrogen dioxide fumes, use a fume hood or get to a well ventilated area. Some heating may be required to get all of the silver to dissolve. Put 15 mL of 95% ethyl alcohol in a 500-mL beaker set into a salt-ice bath. After the silver has dissolved, slowly add the solution to the alcohol while keeping the temperature below 18 °C. More toxic nitrogen dioxide will be released. The reaction should require about 25-30 minutes to complete, after which 200 mL of cold water is added to precipitate the silver fulminate. Decant off as much of the liquid as possible then drown the crystals with water. Filter to collect the crystals and wash them with 30 mL of ethyl alcohol. Flour or starch can be added to the crystals before filtering to add some degree of stability. Store the silver fulminate away from sunlight as it can decompose. You will need a graduated cylinder for measuring liquids, and a thermometer to monitor the temperature.
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