Re: CHEM: Nitrogen Buckyball explosives...

From: James Rogers (
Date: Tue Jul 31 2001 - 11:11:09 MDT

On 7/31/01 4:17 AM, "Anders Sandberg" <> wrote:
> Best thing?! :-) Actually, doesn't more and more airports use neutron
> scanners that look explicitely for nitrogen compuntds? That would
> definitely show N60.

I believe the TNC scanners actually are looking for N-O bonds, which in very
high densities are a pretty sure indication of explosives; nothing else
would be sufficiently general across common explosives to be reliable. What
they are actually looking for is a secret, but they probably aren't looking
for chlorates as those are found in all sorts of common items or organic
peroxides (too unusual), both of which could be practical alternatives in
the hands of someone who knew what they were doing. In fact, there are vast
numbers of really odd detonables that don't contain any nitrogen at all.
The chlorate in chlorate explosives can generally be replaced with a very
broad range of metallic and non-metallic ions, if more expensive or not as
well-known. And then there are metal catalyzed liquid explosives (add a
specific metal to a specific organic liquid and watch the organic liquid
undergo an extremely exothermic spontaneous decomposition/reorganization),
some of which can be done with very ordinary non-nitrogen organics. The
energy density for these is relatively low, but the reaction is extremely

Barrel of monkeys, I tell ya...

-James Rogers

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