MERCURY FULMINATE 2 - Exodus -
Mercury fulminate is perhaps one of the oldest known initiating
compounds. It can be detonated by either heat or shock, which would make it of
infinite value to a terrorist. Even the action of dropping a crystal of the
fulminate causes it to explode. A person making this material would probably
use the following procedure:
5 g mercury glass stirring rod
35 ml concentrated 100 ml beaker (2)
ethyl alcohol (30 ml) adjustable heat source
distilled water blue litmus paper
funnel and filter paper
Solvent alcohol must be at least 95% ethyl alcohol if it is used to make
mercury fulminate. Methyl alcohol may prevent mercury fulminate from forming.
Mercury thermometers are becoming a rarity, unfortunately. They may be
hard to find in most stores as they have been superseded by alcohol and other
less toxic fillings. Mercury is also used in mercury switches, which are
available at electronics stores. Mercury is a hazardous substance, and should
be kept in the thermometer or mercury switch until used. It gives off mercury
vapors which will cause brain damage if inhaled. For this reason, it is a
good idea not to spill mercury, and to always use it outdoors. Also, do not
get it in an open cut; rubber gloves will help prevent this.
1) In one beaker, mix 5 g of mercury with 35 ml of concentrated nitric acid,
using the glass rod.
2) Slowly heat the mixture until the mercury is dissolved, which is when the
solution turns green and boils.
3) Place 30 ml of ethyl alcohol into the second beaker, and slowly and
carefully add all of the contents of the first beaker to it. Red and/or
brown fumes should appear. These fumes are toxic and flammable.
4) After thirty to forty minutes, the fumes should turn white, indicating that
the reaction is near completion. After ten more minutes, add 30 ml of the
distilled water to the solution.
5) Carefully filter out the crystals of mercury fulminate from the liquid
solution. Dispose of the solution in a safe place, as it is corrosive and
6) Wash the crystals several times in distilled water to remove as much excess
acid as possible. Test the crystals with the litmus paper until they are
neutral. This will be when the litmus paper stays blue when it touches
the wet crystals
7) Allow the crystals to dry, and store them in a safe place, far away from
any explosive or flammable material.
This procedure can also be done by volume, if the available mercury
cannot be weighed. Simply use 10 volumes of nitric acid and 10 volumes of
ethanol to every one volume of mercury.