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Is it possible to create acetone peroxide??

 
 
Reply Thu 17 Aug, 2006 01:05 pm
Several folks I know say it would have been impossible to create the explosive (which I believe has been identified as acetone peroxide) by unskilled persons without sophisticated equipment in an airplane lavatory. What is the truth of this?
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Aug, 2006 02:56 pm
How sophisticated do they think it needs to be?

If the components used are measured out in advance and stored in seperate containers until the desired time and then the containers are opened and the components mixed it wouldn't seem to be all that hard.

A liter of peroxyacetone would easily take down a plane. Even if they got the mixture slightly off and only got 80% of the maximum available power form the explosive it would still acheive their objective.

Wikipedia has some decent info (they mention that there are some conspiracy theories but don't seem to go into detail about them)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acetone_peroxide

I haven't run into the conspiracy claims yet so I don't know what they are countering with.
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neologist
 
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Reply Thu 17 Aug, 2006 03:24 pm
What about the 10 degree Celsius requirement? Could a full liter be produced without the mixture detonating at lower force?
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fishin
 
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Reply Thu 17 Aug, 2006 03:38 pm
The 10c refrigeration requirement is only if you want to convert the liquid over to crystaline form. The liquid itself will explode without it.

If you read any of the several sites on the WWW that give directions for making up this concoction they all warn that if you allow the crystals to form at temps above 10c you will end up with a very unstable form.

In the case of someone building a bomb in an aircraft lavatory I fail to see why this would be a concern though. Their entire intent would be to mix the concoction and then detonate it. How long do they need it to be stable for? 2 minutes? 3?

They're blowing up a plane fer chrissakes! I don't think they are to concerned with storing this stuff for weeks on end. If I were a terrorist and it was my intent to blow up a plane I'd think I'd prefer the less stable concoction. There is a much higher chance that it WILL explode - which would be my desired goal.
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timberlandko
 
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Reply Thu 17 Aug, 2006 03:44 pm
Trust me, Neo - its very doable. Ya wanna be real careful if you intend to do much other stuff - like live - after mixing up a batch, but ain't no trick to getting a detonatable mixture, no trick at all.
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farmerman
 
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Reply Thu 17 Aug, 2006 03:54 pm
The ingredients are already covered by FAA and international restrictions on HAZMATs.Acetone (and any ketone has an ability to volatilize and would set off the gas alarms in a plane bathroom almost as soon as the bottle were opened. I wouldnt carry around a50% solution of HsO2 on a bouncy plane)

We used to make TATP and(NH4)3I 3 in in prep labs to test pressure sensors(and when we were just screwing around blowing **** up). The main thing against its being formulated in a plane is that the TATP is a crystal that must sublimate. We had lowP/T lab equipment and it still took a week or more to sublimate. Acetone itself is about equally explosive in an O2 atmosphere(like in a plane), but itd be a painful firey explosion, like gasoline.

other ketone explosives are liquids and Im not gonna say any more except any yahoo that would carry MEK and reactive H2O2 to make a bomb out of themselves are just nuts. Its easier to mold C-class explosives into painted figurines and?or boxes of chocolates and many other non threatenning shapes. (The only thing is that the Ammonia compounds and Nitrate compounds would be easily sniffable.

The only way to be 100% sure is to fly nude. even then one could swallow a bunch of C-4 loads in condoms and then a small squibb using a cell phone.

I would make everyone take off their shoes upon entering a restroom, or else put all restrooms on inside walls of planes so the blast wont rupture the fuselage . But thats just me.
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neologist
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Aug, 2006 06:06 pm
Are you saying it would be possible to cover or otherwise disable the gas alarms in a plane's restroom?
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stuh505
 
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Reply Thu 17 Aug, 2006 06:12 pm
Mmm yes indeed, do tell. And when you're finished with this conversation perhaps you should spiral-bind it and ship it over to the terrorists. :wink:

Seriously now, if it's possible to do in a lab it's possible to do out of a lab! And it's possible to disable a piece of electronics! But there's nothing scientific about that.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Aug, 2006 06:14 pm
I long worked in the security equipment and systems industry. If those detectors don't have tamper alarms, then somebody has been ripping off the airline companies who had them installed.
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Aug, 2006 06:16 pm
neologist wrote:
Are you saying it would be possible to cover or otherwise disable the gas alarms in a plane's restroom?


What gas alarms?? They have smoke detectors in aircraft bathrooms. That's it. There aren't any alarms that would detect an invisible gas.

There are oxygen and CO2 sensors in the pass. cabin that are connected to cockpit alarms but they won't alarm on anything other than Oxygen or CO2 levels. (i.e. you could open a bottle of methane in the pass. cabin and no alarm will go off.)
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stuh505
 
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Reply Thu 17 Aug, 2006 06:25 pm
Yeah and anyway those gas detectors won't detect anything if the gas is well contained (obviously)
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farmerman
 
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Reply Fri 18 Aug, 2006 05:13 am
we have gas detectors and smoke alarms in the RV and they go off if the cat takes a dump in the litter box. They also go off if I paint something in enamel . The little ionizing radiation detector is like an FID or PID , it doesnt discriminate too well. The only thing Id do as a design change is to put detectors at floor level as well as on the ceilings.
If the airplanes dont already have more sophisticated detectors on board, then shame on them. FID's and PID's are an industry standard for gas detection of almost any organic substance that can cause ionization.
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Aug, 2006 08:10 am
farmerman wrote:
we have gas detectors and smoke alarms in the RV and they go off if the cat takes a dump in the litter box. They also go off if I paint something in enamel . The little ionizing radiation detector is like an FID or PID , it doesnt discriminate too well. The only thing Id do as a design change is to put detectors at floor level as well as on the ceilings.
If the airplanes dont already have more sophisticated detectors on board, then shame on them. FID's and PID's are an industry standard for gas detection of almost any organic substance that can cause ionization.


In an RV you have gas in the "passenger compartment" with normal use. You have a propane stove and/or furnace for example, which can both leak and occupants need protection from that. Where are the sensors in your RV? In the bathroom or in proximity to the kitchen and furnace?

On an aircraft you don't have any source of gases like that in the passenger cabin. Those types of sensors are located in proximity to the fuel tanks and lines and in the cargo holds but outside of the passenger cabin so that they'll alert the crew before the gases get to the passengers. An aircraft lavatory would be one of the last places to put a sensor of that type. It's a small space, the door is almost always closed and there is nothing within the lavatory as a source for gases.
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farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Aug, 2006 08:42 am
RVs arent normally considered targets of terror either. The fact that we have PIDs and smoke detectors is kind of immaterial to the plane issue, its a known fact that because gases can be a safety concern, the RV industry added these features (also after Fed prodding). The main question Im answering is that it IS possible to detect ionizing organic gases by existing everyday technology. Where we deploy it is a choice left to the agencies and plane builders. A bathroom in a plane moves a lot of air because there is an exhaust fan in each bathroom. Now we could install detectors there or in the air return lines, machts nichts.
I have no idea what the cost of retrofiiting a plane with PIDs would be. Airlines always play "mort" games where they weigh the costs of a safety feature against the costs of a lawsuit from a single incident if that feture were NOT installed. In the case of terrorism (and illegalsmoking) the bathrooms are a likely prep spot. It occurs to me that, while were at it , several detectors could be placed around the plane along the floor races as well as in overhead areas or bathroom spaces.
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stuh505
 
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Reply Fri 18 Aug, 2006 08:48 am
I think once the gases are on the plane and out of their containers it's kinda too late...
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neologist
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Aug, 2006 10:08 am
Gulp!
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farmerman
 
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Reply Fri 18 Aug, 2006 10:15 am
TATP will cause flash fire but not an explosion until the sublimated crystals are dried. That can take weeks. Other ketone peroxides arent as powerful Getting on a plane with any flammable liquid can be easily detected by inspection and opening the containers near a detector at the gates.(if everybody took their jobs seriously).
Theres really only a small window of opportunity to catch any explosive before its on a plane. If its on a plane, the opportunity is to catch the perps, like they did with Richard Reids show bomb. Theres a bit of work to getting an explosive ready to detonate. ALL that is precious time that can be used to thwart it. Its either that or let it happen. I dont like that option much.
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neologist
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Aug, 2006 10:28 am
Are you certain the liquid can't explode?
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Aug, 2006 10:41 am
farmerman wrote:
The main question Im answering is that it IS possible to detect ionizing organic gases by existing everyday technology.


I don't think the question was ever whether or not the technology to detect exists. That, IMO, was never in doubt.

The question that was asked was:

Quote:
Are you saying it would be possible to cover or otherwise disable the gas alarms in a plane's restroom?


That question is derived from an assumption that the existing technology was/is present.

After recent events I suspect that sensors will be installed throughout the passenger compartment in the near future like you mention.
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timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Aug, 2006 10:50 am
neologist wrote:
Are you certain the liquid can't explode?

Sorta depends on your definition of "explode" - the liguid form readilly will provide an extremely energetic deflagration, with some overpressure, even if not developing the extreme overpressure characteristic of the blast effect of a detonation. Either one within the cabin of a plane, especially if at cruising altitudes common to commercial aircraft, would be very, very bad news for the plane and its payload.
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