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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

 

Triacetone Triperoxide (TATP)

‘Left to its own devices, TATP can decompose to oxygen or ozone and acetone. However, TATP is so unstable that it can spontaneously explode in an unpredictable and catastrophic manner.

TATP is especially dangerous because it is constrained in a ring like structure, the carbon and methane groups which are shown in gray and white in the images below do not allow for the elimination of the unstable extra oxygen atoms and the retention of the ring like structure at the same time. When the rings of TATP fall apart the rearrangement is necessarily wholesale and dramatic.

The mixing solvents like acetone and peroxides like hydrogen peroxide happens mistakenly on occasion in laboratories. On this occasional basis the inherent and dangerous instability of TATP is rediscovered inadvertently and explosively in a refluxing vessel or a when a precipitate is being dried in an oven. If you work in a laboratory, be very careful when working with peroxides.’




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