Hexamethylene triperoxide diamine

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Hexamethylene triperoxide diamine
HMTD structure.png
Identifiers
CAS number 283-66-9 YesY
PubChem 61101
ChemSpider 55052 YesY
ChEMBL CHEMBL346085 YesY
Jmol-3D images Image 1
Properties
Molecular formula C6H12N2O6
Molar mass 208.17 g/mol
Appearance White crystalline solid
Density 0.88 g/cm3
Melting point Decomposes at 75 °C
Ignites spontaneously at 133 °C
Explosive data
Shock sensitivity High
Friction sensitivity High
Detonation velocity ~4511 m/s
RE factor 0.8
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C (77 °F), 100 kPa)
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Infobox references

Hexamethylene triperoxide diamine (HMTD) is a high explosive organic compound. The theorised structure lent itself well to acting as an initiating, or primary explosive. While still quite sensitive to shock and friction, it was relatively stable compared to other initiating explosives of the time, such as mercury fulminate, and proved to be relatively inexpensive and easy to synthesise. As such, it was quickly taken up as a primary explosive in mining applications.[1] However, it has since been superseded by even more stable compounds such as tetryl.

Preparation and structure[edit]

First synthesised in 1885 by Legler,[2] HMTD may be prepared by the reaction of an aqueous solution of hydrogen peroxide and hexamine in the presence of citric acid or dilute sulfuric acid as a catalyst.

The molecule adopts a cage-like structure.[3]

Properties as an explosive[edit]

No peroxide has found practical use as an explosive, a consequence of the weak oxygen-oxygen bond leading to poor thermal and chemical stability and a high sensitivity to impact. HMTD is a more powerful initiating explosive than mercury fulminate but its poor thermal and chemical stability prevents its use in detonators.[4]

Like other organic peroxides such as acetone peroxide, HMTD is unstable, detonating upon shock, friction, and heat. It is however less unstable than many perioxides. Exposure to ultraviolet light increases this sensitivity. It also reacts with most common metals, which can lead to detonation. HMTD is chemically very stable when pure (free of acids, bases, and metal ions) and does not quickly sublime like its acetone counterparts.

Terrorism[edit]

Despite no longer being used in any military application, and despite its shock-sensitivity, HMTD remains a common home-made explosive and has been used in a large number of suicide bombings and other attacks throughout the world. For example, it was one of the components in the explosives intended to bomb Los Angeles International Airport in the 2000 millennium attack plots,[5][6] it was used in the 7 July 2005 London bombings,[7] and it was the planned explosive in the 2006 transatlantic aircraft plot.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Taylor, C. A.; Rinkenbach, W. H. Army Ordnance 1924. 5, 463–466[verification needed]
  2. ^ Legler, L . (1885). "Ueber Producte der langsamen Verbrennung des Aethyläthers". Berichte der deutschen chemischen Gesellschaft 18 (2): 3343–3351. doi:10.1002/cber.188501802306. 
  3. ^ Schaefer, William P.; Fourkas, John T.; Tiemann, Bruce G. (April 1985). "Structure of hexamethylene triperoxide diamine". Journal of the American Chemical Society 107 (8): 2461–2463. doi:10.1021/ja00294a043. 
  4. ^ Hodgson,Robert ; Agrawal,Jai P. (2007). Organic Chemistry of Explosives. Wiley. p. 414. 
  5. ^ U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (2 February 2010). "U.S. v. Ressam". Retrieved 27 February 2010. 
  6. ^ "Complaint; U.S. v. Ressam". NEFA Foundation. December 1999. Retrieved 26 February 2010. 
  7. ^ "London bombers used everyday materials" Reuters, 4 August 2005, Retrieved 16 April 2006
  8. ^ Van Natta, Don, Jr.; Elaine Sciolino and Stephen Grey (28 August 2006). "Details Emerge in British Terror Case". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 February 2009. 

External links[edit]