Re: Chem: Silicon Explosives now

From: Christian Weisgerber (
Date: Thu Aug 02 2001 - 19:00:51 MDT

<> wrote:

> An accidental explosion in a German physics lab has led to the identification
> of a superpowerful explosive.

I just caught that on the TV news as well and was underwhelmed.
Pour liquid oxygen on porous silicon and you get a bang. Duh.

> Because the silicon is sponge-like, it has a very high
> surface-area-to-volume ratio and this creates a very efficient burn.

Surprise. Liquid oxygen plus coal dust, sawdust, etc has already
been used as an explosive in mining around the time of WWI.

> Porous silicon has a layer of hydrogen just one atom thick covering its
> surface. This creates a barrier between oxygen atoms and the silicon atoms
> beneath. But when a single hydrogen bond breaks, an oxygen atom can bind to
> the silicon, starting a chain reaction that rips through the structure like
> wildfire.

Well, maybe that is special.

Christian "naddy" Weisgerber                

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