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Shock Sensitive Chemicals

The classes of chemicals listed below may explode when subjected to shock or friction. Therefore users must have appropriate laboratory equipment, information, knowledge and training to use these compounds safely.

  • Acetylenic compounds, especially polyacetylenes, haloacetylenes, and heavy metal salts of acetylenes (copper, silver, and mercury salts are particularly sensitive)
  • Acyl nitrates
  • Alkyl nitrates, particularly polyol nitrates such as nitrocellulose and nitroglycerine
  • Alkyl and acyl nitrites
  • Amminemetal oxosalts: metal compounds with coordinated and hydrazine, or similar nitrogenous donors and ionic perchlorate, nitrate, permanganate, or other oxidizing group
  • Azides, including metal, nonmetal, and organic azides
  • Chlorite salts of metals, such as AgClO2 and Hg(ClO2)2
  • Diazo compounds such as CH2N2
  • Diazonium salts, when dry
  • Fulminates such as mercury fulminate (Hg(CNO)2)
  • Hydrogen peroxide (which becomes increasingly treacherous as the concentration rises above 30%, forming explosive mixtures with organic materials and decomposing violently in the presence of traces of transition metals
  • N-Halogen compounds such as difluoroamino compounds and halogen azides
  • N-Nitro compounds such as N-nitromethylamine, nitrourea, nitroguanidine, and nitric amide
  • Oxo salts of nitrogenous bases: perchlorates, dichromates, nitrates, iodates, chlorites, chlorates, and permanganates of ammonia, amines, hydroxylamine, guanidine, etc.
  • Perchlorate salts (which can form when perchloric acid mists dry in fume hoods or associated duct work. Most metal, nonmetal, and amine perchlorates can be detonated and may undergo violent reaction in contact with combustible materials)
  • Peroxides and hydroperoxides, organic
  • Peroxides (solid) that crystallize from or are left from evaporation of peroxidizable solvents (see the following Section 3)
  • Peroxides, transition-metal salts
  • Picrates, especially salts of transition and heavy metals, such as Ni, Pb, Hg, Cu, and Zn
  • Polynitroalkyl compounds such as tetranitromethane and dinitroacetonitrile
  • Polynitroaromatic compounds especially polynitrohydrocarbons, phenols, and amines (e.g., dinitrotoluene, trinitrotoluene, and picric acid)

Note:  Perchloric acid must be used only in specially-designed perchloric acid fume hoods that have built-in wash down systems to remove shock-sensitive deposits. Before purchasing this acid, laboratory supervisors must arrange for use of an approved perchloric acid hood.

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