Date: Wed, 1 Apr 2009 19:52:51 -0400
Reply-To: George Walton <g.c.walton**At_Symbol_Here**REACTIVES.COM>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: George Walton <g.c.walton**At_Symbol_Here**REACTIVES.COM>
Organization: Reactives Managment Corporation
Subject: Re: 4 Re: [DCHAS-L] Picric acid
Comments: To: List Moderator
In-Reply-To: <E00F7CC0-2FDB-45FA-90E1-E8D3CFA8CABD**At_Symbol_Here**>
We have been working with these types of materials (tri-nitrated aromatics)
since 1976.

1. Remote opening is the best procedure.
2. Picric acid is not all that soluble so simply dunking the container in
water is not a particularly effective way to clean the threads.
3. In some states (such as Virginia), changing a DOT hazard class is
considered hazardous waste treatment.  Dry picric acid is a DOT class 1
(explosive) while wet picric acid is a DOT class 4 (flammable solid).
Virginia charges $2,390.00 for the permit to conduct the treatment.  If a
public safety official declares an emergency, the permit fee is waived (plus
you get to wave at all the TV reporters who show up for the emergencies)
4. Because of (3), sometimes a small, well shielded detonation is cheaper
that messing around with waste treatment, manifesting, etc.  No residues, no
noise, less cost.
5. I think this is in the Picatinny (spelling?) Arsenal Encyclopedia of
Explosives -- if TNT will detonate under an initiating force of 1, picric
acid will detonate under an initiating force of about 0.92.  If TNT produces
a force of 1 upon detonation, picric acid produces a force of about 1.06

George Walton
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Sent: Tuesday, March 31, 2009 1:26 PM
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Subject: [DCHAS-L] 4 Re: [DCHAS-L] Picric acid

From: Ken Simolo 
Date: March 31, 2009 11:43:54 AM EDT (CA)
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Picric acid

When I was an undergraduate, a bottle of picric acid blew up in the  
middle of the night in the stockroom.  The top of the bottle blew up  
(I assume crystals drying out at the lid) and the bottle next to it  
broke.  The bottle was not jarred, etc. but it also had not been used  
for a few years.  So I am not sure the risk is as minimal as some have  
stated.  Having said that, I have immersed picric acid bottles behind  
a blast shield before opening them.



From: "Ellison, Mark" 
Date: March 31, 2009 10:57:43 AM EDT (CA)
Subject: RE: [DCHAS-L] Picric acid

 >Lyle Phifer, Russ' father, taught me a technique for opening  
containers of peroxide formers.

I'm sorry, but I must vigorously disagree with this technique.  Our  
first efforts must always be toward safety and this method misses, in  
my opinion.  No disrespect intended to Mr. Phifer.  All of my dealings  
with picric acid happened in abandoned labs with little or no on site  
resources.  Even then, we had a plan and made sure we limited ANY  
exposure by using safe work practices.

Mark Ellison
"Plan Safety - Work Safely"
P Please consider the environment before printing this email

From: David Roberts 
Date: March 31, 2009 10:59:42 AM EDT (CA)
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Picric acid

OK, get a vice, some superglue, a long string, and some boards.  Take  
your dangerously explosive thing, drive it out to the country (avoid  
potholes) where there is nothing that will get blown up should  
something go wrong (that's the rub - while I do have a vice and think  
this might work - I don't want to blow up anything right next to my  
organic stockroom or anywhere in our building to be quite honest).   
Put the vice in the middle of a big cornfield (or something like  
that).  Glue the boards to the container of interest so that you can  
then put the whole thing in a vice with no turning possible.  Glue the  
string to the cap - and follow the instructions below.  Should work  
just fine.

Sorry - couldn't resist.  Didn't mean to sound crass, but it's Tuesday  
and I'm a bit on edge today.  No worries.

I personally hate pressure (and the sudden release of).  As a result,  
I avoid anything that may explode at all costs.  I agree with all the  
picric acid things thus far - we had some that was bone dry for many  
years - called the bomb squad (I'm on the fire dept as well).  Bomb  
experts showed up who knew how to handle these things (so they claimed  
- didn't show me their union papers though).  They handled it properly  
getting it out of the building.  Threw it in the trunk of their car -  
drove it to the police post, and shot some rounds at it to blow it up  
(I think they may have surrounded it with some sort of explosive that  
they had on hand.  Surprised they made the 10 mile drive on our county  
road system.  In hindsight, I would have put it under water and gently  
loosened the cap over a several day/week period.  I would have felt  
better - and it would have been much safer.  Metal picrates are the  
worry (biggest worry - not only worry), and so as long as the cap is  
plastic, it should be OK to place under water over a long period,  
loosening the cap slowly over time.  Just put a brick or something on  
it to keep it submerged initially.

Good luck



From: "Ben Ruekberg" 
Date: March 31, 2009 11:01:13 AM EDT (CA)
Subject: RE: [DCHAS-L] Picric acid

Just a thought.  Since the invention of crazy glue, gorilla glue and  
similar products, opening a bottle from a distance might be  
simplified.   Assuming the bottle can be moved without danger, why not  
glue it to an oversized piece of wood that can be held in the vise and  
glue a yard stick to the cap. Then attach the string to the yard  
stick, get far away and ever-so-gently slowly pull on the string.  The  
yard stick will provide better leverage than wrapping the string  
around the cap and the wood will keep the vise from squeezing the  

Ben Ruekberg

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