Monday, December 28, 2009


Heavy PETN

Unlike most gun nuts, I am not into explosives and only have the most basic knowledge about some of them. I did not know what PETN was, even though it is the terrorist explosive of choice lately--both Richard Reid, the shoe bomber, and the more recent underpants bomber, used it and it failed to ignite--Thank the Lord. It is also the main ingredient in Symtec, another explosive of choice with terrorists, usually from the Middle East. PETN stands for Pentaerythritol tetranitrate, and it has been around for about 120 years. It is usually used as a detonator itself and is the explosive found in detonation cord. It is very powerful.

Here is one funny thing Wikipedia had to say about it:

It is difficult to detonate, as dropping it or setting it on fire will typically not cause an explosion.
No kidding.


I could go into lab this afternoon and make a large batch of PETN with materials I have on hand already.

Anyone with a little training could make several kilos, at the risk of losing a few fingers or a face, of course. The cost to make a kilo would be about $100.

I thought it was Semtex.

I hope you're kidding Chemgeek, but thanks for the info. It's sulfuric and nitric acid, right? Have you ever read Neal Stephenson's "Zodiac"?

T, it probably is, but could that be the British spelling?
I can't speak to PETN, but making miscellaneous 'splody stuff (technical term) is pretty easy. The tricky bit, as Chemgeek alluded, is making it not blow up until you want it to.
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