I’m at Boomershoot Mecca today and among other things I started work on a Boomerite experiment.
The hypothesis being tested was that water from the Ethylene Glycol (it’s part of the manufacturing process) was degrading the mix over time. “Doc Brown” from work, as well as others, suggested I use a desiccant to remove the water. Ammonium Nitrate is a desiccant and I have tons of that laying around, would that work? Doc Brown said, “Tons? TONS!” I had a hard time getting him to stop obsessing over the quantity an focus on my question but ultimately he insisted that silica gel might be better. Because it probably won’t react with the Ethylene Glycol. He wasn’t sure what would happen with the AN. “But we mix the AN with the EG all the time now. I just want to grind it up some of it first, then mix it with the EG, rather than use it in prill form like we do now. He kept repeating “Tons!” and I had to change the subject.
Today I got to start the experiment.
I thought I had a bunch of silica gel laying around but it turns out it was Desiccite 25. Oh well, I’ll work with whatever I have. I cut open the bag and spread the content on a electric frying pan set at about 230 F. It was amazing the amount of water than condensed on the lid covering just half of the pan. After about 45 minutes no more water was condensing and I put the contents in a zip lock bag.
I put a couple of cups of AN prills in the blender and ground that into a fine powder then put it in the frying pan at about 200 F for about five minutes. No condensation so I put it in a zip lock bag as well.
I put about 3/4 of an inch of the two chemicals in the bottom of some paper cups and poured EG over the chemicals. I mixed the EG and the chemicals, put lids on them, and let them set for an hour.
While those were setting I made two batch of Boomerite. One was the original mix with no attempt to dry the EG. In the second batch I put 3/4 cup of the powdered AN in the bottom of the mixing bowl and put I the usual amount, 45 mL, of EG and mixed it into something which looked like a slushy. I then added 1500 grams prilled AN, mixed for a five seconds, added 400 grams of Potassium Chlorate, mixed for 30 seconds, add the mystery ingredient, and mixed for another 30 seconds. I called this mix Powdered Ammonium Nitrate Mix.
I then used the EG I poured off of the two paper cups I had set aside and mixed as usual.
All Boomerite was put in 3” boxes and closed up using heat shrink bags. The shrink was done using the electric skillet set at 225F.
That gave me four different batches of Boomerite:
- OM: Original Mix
- DD: Dried with Desiccite 25
- DAN: Dried with Ammonium Nitrate
- PANM: Powdered Ammonium Nitrate Mix
A couple hours later stored at a temperature of about 80F I tested them with CCI Stinger ammo from 25 yards away.
The original mix failed to go boom from 25 yards while the other three mixes detonated with solid hits. I moved to 15 yards and then the OM target detonated as well.
That was interesting. It was a sample size of one for the OM, but it appears that all three of the other mixes were more sensitive after two hours than the OM. That’s a good sign as long, as brother Doug pointed out, I don’t end up creating a contact explosive.
I’ll do the ~1 day storage detonation test tomorrow morning and report sometime after I get home tomorrow night.
It appears we may be filling in some of the columns on the spreadsheet.