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Also by Seymour Lecker: Deadly Brew: Advanced Improvised Explosives Improvised Explosives: How to Make Your Own Incendiaries: Advanced Improvised Explosives Professional Booby Traps: Special Devices and Techniques Shock Sensitive Industrial Materials: Advanced Improvised Explosives

Explosive Dusts: Advanced Improvised Explosives
by Seymour Lecker Copyright ©1991 by Seymour Ledcer ISBN 0-87364-587-1 Printed in the United States of America Published by Paladin Press, a division of Paladin Enterprises, Inc., P.O. Box 1307, Boulder, Colorado 80306. USA. (303) 443-7250 Direct inquires and / or orders to the above address. All rights reserved. Except for use in a review, no portion of this book may be reproduced in any form without the express written permission of the publisher. Neither the author nor the publisher assumes any responsibility for the use or misuse of information contained in this book.

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The dusts and fine powders of all materials described in this manual are deadly explosives. Many of these materials are also extreme fire and explosive hazards in their natural forms, and some are deadly poisons. Whenever dealing with high explosives or hazardous materials, special precautions should be followed in accordance with industry standards for experimentation and production. Failure to strictly follow such industry standards may result in harm to life or limb. Therefore, the author and publisher disclaim any liability from any damage or injuries of any type that a reader or user of information contained within this manual may encounter from the use of said information. Use this manual and any end product or by-product at your own risk. For information purposes only. »Between 1910 and 1960, over two hundred fatalities were recorded as a result of explosions of agricultural dusts. In the same period, over one hundred additional fatalities were attributed to dust explosions in the plastics industry.«

National Fire Prevention Association

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. Recommended Reading . . . . . 33 –4– . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Carbonaceous Materials . 5 6 CHAPTER 1 CHAPTER 2 CHAPTER 3 CHAPTER 4 CHAPTER 5 APPENDIX Industrial Chemicals Metals . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26 Agricultural Products Devices . . . . . . . . . .Preface . 28 29 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

but dusts can also be detonated when loosely packed in a nonconfining container. food processing plants. static electricity. or other means. and other types of facilities. It is difficult for the ordinary person to comprehend the degree of explosive power of dust deposits. Each dust has a different optimal particle size for maximum explosibility. They can be detonated or ignited by heat. All dusts should be considered potentially hazardous and toxic. Experiments by the United States Department of the Interior Bureau of Mines have shown that dusts composed of irregularly shaped particles represent a greater explosion hazard than those composed of spherical particles. The extent of the hazard of any given dust is related to its ease of ignition and the severity of the ensuing explosion.Dust explosions account for a significant percentage of the industrial fire deaths that occur every year in mines. All the dusts described in this manual are deemed to be severe explosive hazards by the Bureau of Mines. flame. chemical plants. spark. –5– . but generally the finer the particles the higher the explosive capability. grain elevators. Dusts represent the most severe danger when the air in an enclosed space is saturated.

Uses Manufacture of Hansa and benzidine yellows. Can release highly toxic fumes upon heating. water mist. Slightly burning taste. Description Fine white granular powder. Fire Fighting Alcohol foam. dry chemical. N-Phenyl- Description White. Alpha-Acetyl Acetanalide. Additional Information Can react vigorously with oxidizing materials. Avoid inhalation. odorless crystalline powder or solid. cellulose ester coatings. dyestuffs. Uses Manufacture of penicillin and other Pharmaceuticals. acetamide. –6– . ACETOCET-O-TOLUIDIDE C11H13O2N Synonyms None. Hazards Highly toxic.INDUSTRIAL CHEMICALS ACETO ACETANILIDE C10H11O2N Synonyms Alpha-Ketobutyranilide. CO2. rubber. Hazards Moderately toxic. synthetic camphor.

Acetol. Avoid inhalation. O-Acetoxybenzoic Acid.Fire Fighting Water. CO2. Description White crystals or powder. Additional Information Combustible. CO2. ACETYLSALICYLIC ACID C9H8O4 Synonyms Aspirin. Description Crystalline powder. ACETOACET-P-PHENETIDIDE C12H15O3N Synonyms None. Can react with oxidizing materials. Uses Medicine. dry chemical. foam. Fire Fighting Water. –7– . dry chemical. Hazards Moderately toxic. foam. most commonly aspirin tablets. Uses Intermediate for azo pigments. Slightly bitter taste. Additional Information Combustible.

odorless crystals. Uses Antiseptic. Hazards Moderately toxic. Fire Fighting Water. and Pharmaceuticals. Description Yellow. needle-like crystals. –8– . BENZETHONIUM CHLORIDE C27H42ClNO2 Synonym Hyamine 1622. ANTHRANILIC ACID C6H4(NH2)(CO2)H Synonym O-Amino Benzoic Acid. drugs. Avoid inhalation. Fire Fighting Water. Very bitter taste. Additional Information Combustible. Uses Manufacture of dyes. Heat or contact with acid or acid fumes can lead to the release of toxic gas. Fire Fighting Water. Hazards Highly toxic. C02 foam. Description Colorless. Avoid inhalation of dust. dry chemical. perfumes.Hazards A 10-gram dose can be fatal to an adult. cationic detergent. alcohol foam. Sweetish taste.

Description White powder or white needle crystals. Hazards Mildly toxic. 1. Benzene Azimide. crystalline powder or needlelike crystals. flavors.2. Additional Information Combustible. antifungal agent. Additional Information Can detonate under vacuum distillation. alkyd resins. chemical intermediate. dry chemical. seasoning tobacco. dry chemical. CO2. Fire Fighting Water. Fire Fighting Water. food preservative. Benzenecarboxylic Acid.1%. Can release highly toxic fumes when heated. –9– . odorless. Use in foods is restricted to 0. Uses Plasticizers. Avoid skin contact or ingestion. Uses Photographic restrainer. Description White to light tan.3-BENZOTRIAZOLE C6H4NHN2 Synonyms Aziminobenzene. Can react with oxidizing materials.BENZOIC ACID C6H5COOH Synonyms Carboxybenzene. Phenylformic Acid. perfumes. Hazards Highly toxic.

DEHYDROACETIC ACID C8H8O4 Synonyms 3-Acetyl-6-Methyl-l. Avoid inhalation. or skin contact. odorless. Fire Fighting Water. ingestion. Fire Fighting Water. 2-Pyran-2. plasticizer. Additional Information Mildly combustible. Description Colorless. 1-Napthyl Methyl Carbamate.CARBARYL C10H7OOCNHCH3 Synonyms Sevin. but avoid ingestion. Hazards Highly toxic. Description White crystals. 1-Napthyl-N-Methylcarbamate. bactcricidc. medicated toothpastes. chemical intermediate. 24(3H)-Dione Methylacetopyranone. – 10 – . Uses Fungicide. foam. Hazards Highly toxic. Uses Insecticide. DHA. Permitted as a food additive. tasteless crystals.

plasticizers. HEOD. Hazards Highly toxic. dry chemical. Octalox. Uses Insecticide. Description White crystalline powder. Fire Fighting Alcohol foam. CO2 Additional Information Can detonate if heated or shocked. Can release toxic fumes when heated.DIAZOAMINOBENZENE C6H5N3HC6H5 Synonyms (Alpha) Diazoamidobenzol. organic synthesis. Hazards Mildly toxic. and protective coatings. dyes. Uses Intermediate for epoxy resins. DICYCLOPENTADIENE DIOXIDE C10H12O2 Synonyms None. 1. Description Golden-yellow crystals. – 11 – . Fire Fighting Dry chemical foam. 3 Diphenyl-triazine. Avoid inhalation. DIELDRIN C12H10OCl6 Synonyms Compound 497. Benzeneazoanilide.

DIMETHYL TEREPHTHALATE C6H4(COOCH3)2 Synonyms DMT. DIPHENYL C6H5C6H5 Synonym Biphenyl. – 12 – . dry chemical. plant disease control. 4-Benzene-Dicarboxylate. Hazards Extremely toxic. Uses Organic synthesis. Fire Fighting Alcohol foam. dyeing assistant for polyesters. Fire Fighting Water. foam CO2. Pleasant odor. Hazards Highly toxic. Description White scales. Dimethyl-1. heat transfer agent. Uses Insecticide. Can release extremely toxic fumes when heated. Avoid inhalation or ingestion.Description White odorless crystals. fungistat in packaging of citrus fruit. Avoid inhalation. Description Colorless crystals. Uses Polyester resins for film and fiber production. Hazards Moderately toxic.

fuel tablets. Can release toxic fumes when heated. CO2. fungicide. FERRIC DIMETHYL DITHIOCARBAMATE [ ( C H 3) 2N C S S ] 3 Fe Synonyms Ferbam. protein modifier. corrosion inhibitor. manufacture of pharmaceuticals. Additional Information Combustible. Aminoform. Can release highly toxic fumes when heated. Hazards Moderately toxic. Uses Fungicide. adhering rubber to textile. Hexamethy- – 13 – . lustrous crystals or white crystalline powder. Metramine. organic synthesis. Uses Curing of phenolformaldehyde. dry chemical. Fire Fighting Water. Formamine. Can react with oxidizing materials. Description Dark to black fluffy powder. Hexamine Urotropin. dry chemical.Fire Fighting Water. antibacterial. Description Colorless. Fennate. HMTA. and shrinkproof textiles. Often erroneously called leneamine. HEXAMETHYLENETETRAMINE (CH2)6N4 Synonyms Methenamine. Hazards A skin irritant. May be compressed to solid.

Description White crystalline powder. Odor of formaldehyde. PARAFORMALDEHYDE (CH2O)X Synonym Paraform. foam. manufacture of Hazards Unknown. flakes. alcohol foam. bactericides. contraceptive creams. Can react with oxidizing materials. waterproofing agent for gelatin. hardener. disinfectants. 2-Amino-4-(methylthio)butyric acid. Reacts violently with Na2O2. Permitted as a food additive for humans. Releases oxides of carbon and formaldehyde gas – 14 – . Fire Fighting Water. Hazards Moderately toxic. vegetable pharmaceuticals. METHIONINE CH3SCH2CH2CH(NH2)COOH Synonyms Methionine. Uses Fungicides.Fire Fighting Water. Uses Feed additive. Description White crystals. A nutrient. or powder. Additional Information Combustible. adhesives. oil enrichment. Additional Information May react violently with powerful oxidizers or acids.

– 15 – . Description White crystalline needles. Thiophosphoric Description Light yellow or greenish yellow crystalline mass. Will react with water. Can release highly toxic fumes when heated. Sulfide. Combustible. snow. Additional Information Can react vigorously with oxidizing materials. PHTHALIC ANHYDRIDE C8H4O3 Synonym Phthalandione.when heated. intermediate for lubrication oil additives. ignites by friction. dry chemical. Reacts violently with O2 liquid. dyes. chlorinated products. steam. Odor similar to hydrogen sulfide. Uses Insecticides. Uses Manufacture of resins. or acids to produce toxic and flammable vapors. Hazards Highly toxic. plasticizers. PHOSPHORUS PENTASULFIDE P2S5 Synonym Phosphoric Anhydride. Mild odor. sand. float agents. dry chemical. safety matches and other ignition compounds. Additional Information Can react with oxidizing materials. CO2. Fire Fighting CO2. Fire Fighting Alcohol foam. Phosphorus Persulfide.

3-Isoindoledione. Additional Information Combustible. Additional Information Combustible. dry chemical. Hazards Can release toxic fumes when heated. Explodes on contact with HNO3. Description Transparent solid. Description Light tan to white powder. Fire Fighting Water. A common air contaminant. dry chemical. Uses Fungicide. Other toxic properties are unknown. manufacture of synthetic indigo. laboratory reagent. POLYCARBONATE [COOC6H5C(CH3)2C6H5O]X Synonyms None. Avoid inhalation. and insecticides. PHTHALIMIDE C6H4(CO)2NH Synonym 1. Fire Fighting CO2. Hazards Moderately toxic. Uses Heavily used in the manufacture of molded plastic products. Can react with oxidizing materials. – 16 – . organic synthesis.pharmaceuticals.

nonwoven disposable filters. artificial turf. dry chemical. synthetic paper. – 17 – . and strapping. Styron.particularly those where strength of construction is of high importance. As a foam it is a commonly used insulation. POLYSTYRENE (C6H5CHCH2)X Synonyms Polystyrol. Hazards Mildly toxic. Fire Fighting Water. but slow burning. POLTPROPYLENE (C3H5)X Synonyms None. Uses Manufacture of molded plastic products. Additional Information Combustible. Styrene Polymer. Description Translucent. white to yellow solid. Fire Fighting Self-extinguishing. Reacts violently with strong oxidizing agents. Hazards Mildly toxic. Permitted additive in food for human consumption. packaging film. Styrofoam. Uses Manufacture of molded plastic products. acid-dyed clothing. Avoid inhalation or ingestion. Description Transparent to light yellow solid. surgical casts.

Avoid inhalation or ingestion. slimicide. Fire Fighting Water. Fire Fighting Alcohol foam.4-Hexadienoic acid. Avoid inhalation or ingestion. mold inhibitor in food products. dry chemical. SORBIC ACID CH3CHCHCHCHCOOH Synonyms 2. Additional Information Combustible. Salinidol. dry chemical. Description White or slightly pink. odorless crystals. Can release toxic fumes when heated. Hazards Moderately toxic. SALICYLANILIDE C6H5NHCOC6H4OH Synonyms Anasadol.Hazards Mildly toxic. intermediate for plasticizers and lubricants. Description Colorless needles. CO2. alkyd resin coatings. Fire Fighting Water. cold rubber additive. Uses Fungicide. Hazards Mildly toxic. Uses Fungicide. antimildew agent. – 18 – . Will irritate skin.

fibers. and films by combination with glycols. Slight odor and taste of tallow.Additional Information Can react with oxidizing materials. Uses Manufacture of lubricants. Hazards Highly toxic. Avoid inhalation. crystalline polyester resins. shoe polish. cosmetics. TEREPHTHALIC ACID C6H4(COOH)2 Synonyms P-Phthalic Acid. Description White amorphous solid. Additional Information Combustible. STEARIC ACID CH3(CH2)16COOH Synonyms Octadecanoic Arid. metal polish. or skin contact. Avoid inhalation or inges-tion. pharmaceuticals. dispersing agent and softener in rubber compounds. Fire Fighting CO2. reagent for alkali in wool. This was the twenty-first-highest chemical produced – 19 – . Hazards Moderately toxic. Uses Additive in poultry feeds. Description White crystals or powder. soaps. TPA. production of linear. N-Octadecanoic acid. Benzene-p-dicarboxylic acid. dry chemical. and ointments. Fire Fighting CO2. dry chemical. ingestion.

– 20 – .by volume in the United States in 1985.

Avoid inhalation of powder. corrosion-resistant equipment. Description Silver white lustrous metal. Additional Information Will react violently with powerful oxidizers.METALS ALUMINUM Al Synonyms None. high-frequency cores. Hazards Nontoxic. protective coating. Description Silvery white crystalline solid. The most abundant metal in the Earth's crust. Iron powder is used in manufacture of magnets. die-cast auto parts. Fire Fighting Specially prepared dry powder. power transmission lines. packaging foil. Uses Manufacture of steel. Uses Building and construction. and auto parts. Used as a catalyst in ammonia synthesis. – 21 – . paints. IRON Fe Synonym Ferrum.

die-cast auto parts. Avoid inhalation. zinc. Fire Fighting Special mixtures of dry chemicals. moisture. MAGNESIUM Mg Synonyms None. photoelectric cells. antiknock gasoline additives. Additional Information Can react vigorously with oxidizing materials. Will release toxic fumes when heated. Description Silver white crystals of metal. and steel. zirconium. titanium. or metals. Additional Information Combustible. Will react violently with oxidizing materials. Fire Fighting Powdered talc. production of iron. THORIUM Th Synonyms None. Uses Sun lamps. Uses Flash photography. nickel.Hazards Dust is highly toxic. optical mirrors. Hazards Moderately toxic. powdered graphite. Description Silver white soft metal or powder. target in X-ray tubes. reducing agent. Dusts from aluminum-magnesium alloys are extremely explosive. dry and wet batteries. – 22 – . nuclear fuel. sand. Iron oxide fumes are also highly toxic.

Additional Information Dust can ignite at room temperature. Can react violently with a wide variety of chemicals. Description Dark gray or black metallic powder or crystals. manufacture of alloys for a variety of special applications. Can react with oxidizing materials. Fire Fighting Dry chemical. Fire Fighting Powdered talc or sand. Additional Information Combustible. – 23 – . Uses Production of pure hydrogen and foamed-metals solder for metalglass composites. powdered talc.Hazards Radioactive. TITANIUM Ti Synonyms None. Dust is considered to be in the nuisance category. reducing atmosphere for furnaces. Hazards Nontoxic. graphite. Dusts from titanium-iron alloys (ferrotitanium) are extremely explosive. TITANIUM HYDRIDE TiH2 Synonyms None. Uses X-ray tube target. Description Dark gray powder or white lustrous metal. electrodes in chlorine batteries.

Uses Corrosion-resistant alloys. Can react with oxidizing materials. Hazards Moderately toxic. special welding fluxes. Description Gray black metallic powder. ZIRCONIUM Zr Synonyms None. metal foaming agent. – 24 – . ZIRCONIUM HYDRIDE ZrH2 Synonyms None. nuclear moderator. salt. flashbulbs. powdered talc. sand. sand. source of hydrogen. Fire Fighting Dry chemical. Avoid inhalation of powder. manufacture of steel. May react violently with oxidizing materials. Additional Information Combustible. getter in vacuum tubes.Hazards Moderately toxic. Description Grayish white lustrous metal. lab crucibles. reducing agent. Additional Information Combustible. Uses Getter in vacuum-tube. Fire Fighting Dry powder. Avoid inhalation. Dusts must be kept dry or completely soaked.

– 25 – . Additional Information Combustible. sand. Fire Fighting Dry chemical. powdered talc. especially when wet. Avoid inhalation. Can react with oxidizing materials.Hazards Moderately toxic.

CARBONACEOUS MATERIALS ASPHALT Synonyms Bitumen. energy. Fire Fighting Foam. sealants. Uses Heat. Fire Fighting Foam. roof and road coatings. – 26 – . CO2. Uses Hot-melt adhesives. Hazards Moderately toxic. Avoid inhalation or inges-tion. Additional Information Can react with fluorine. Can irritate skin. Hazards Moderately toxic. CO2. dry chemical. Additional Information Can react with oxidizing material. Petroleum Pitch. Description Black powder or chunks. COAL Synonym Anthracite. dry chemical. production of synthetic crude oil and fuel gas. Description Black or dark brown mass.

LIGNITE Synonym Brown Coal. Fire Fighting Water foam. Additional Information Can react with oxidizing materials. Uses Wire insulation compounds. dry chemical. diluent in lowgrade rubber compounds. Hazards Moderately toxic. Can release toxic fumes upon heating. – 27 – . May contain 40-percent water before drying. alkali. insulation. May be used in the future to produce methanol. Description Solid black asphaltic material. production of polymer resins. Description Brown peat-like material. lacquers. Hazards A nuisance dust.GILSONITE Synonym Uintaite. linoleum and floor tile. paving. Uses Fuel. Avoid inhalation. Fire Fighting Water. CO2. baking enamels. black varnish. and waterproof coatings. add.

► ► ► ► ► ► ► ► ► ► ► ► ► ► ► ► ► ► ► ► ► ► ► ► ► ► ► ► ► ► Apricot pit Barley Brown sugar Cake flour (25-percent commeal) Cherry pit Cinnamon Cocoa bean shell Coconut shell Corn Corncobs Cornstarch Dehydrated citrus peel Filbert shell Hemp Oats Pea flour Peach pit shell Peanut hull Pecan shell Pectin Potato starch Rice Safflower Skimmed milk Soy Sugar Walnut shell Wheat Wheat starch Yeast – 28 – .AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS Dusts of these agricultural products represent severe explosive dangers.

Container 2. Spring – 29 – .DEVICES 1. Wedge (aids duet flow) 3.

As the dust flows from the container. Pressure-release firing system 9.5 lbs. Spout and plug 10. Do not tamp the dust. 1/4 lb. The weight of the dust keeps the pressure-release firing system in the open position. Dust will flow from the container and form an extremely explosive mixture with the air. Remove the plug from the container. of dust (minimum) Fill the container with a minimum of five pounds of dust. the pressure on the springs will weaken and the pressure-release firing system will detonate the charge. Optional second firing system 6. explosive charge 8. Battery 7. – 30 – . Place the device in the center of a closed room in an elevated position.4. Safety plug 5.

1. of explosive charge 3. Plastic jerry can containing 5 lbs. Electrical firing system 2. (minimum) of dust – 31 – . 1/4 lb.

explosive charge Electrical firing system and charge should be wrapped in plastic and placed in the center of the carton. Set timer to detonate at the appropriate time. Allow enough time to leave the vicinity but not enough time for the dust to settle in the jerry can. Cardboard carton containing 5 lbs. Electrical firing system with 1/4 lb. Dust should not be allowed to settle and compress itself. (minimum) of dust 2.Pour the dust into the jerry can at the last possible minute. 1. Allow enough time to leave the vicinity but not – 32 – . Set timer to detonate at the appropriate time.

enough time for the dust to settle in the box. – 33 – .

Bureau of Mines Report #6597 Dust Explosibility of Chemicals.H. Dyes.S. Price and H. Brown National Fire Protection Association – 34 – .S. Drugs. and Pesticides U.S.S.J. Bureau of Mines Report #5753 Explosibility of Metal Powders U. Bureau of Mines Report #7132 Explasibility of Miscellaneous Dusts U.S. Bureau of Mines Report #6516 Explosibility of Carbonaceous Dusts U. Bureau of Mines Report #7208 Report of Important Dust Explosions (1957) National Fire Protection Association Theory and Nature of Dust Explosions D. Volume I Frankford Arsenal (available from Paladin Press) Special Forces Demolition Techniques Paladin Press Explosibility of Agricultural Dusts U.RECOMMENDED READING Improvised Munitions Black Book.

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