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Silver Fulminate

Formula Weight VoD Drop Test score
AgCNO(s) 149.88504g/mol 3600m/s 10cm

Silver fulminate is quite a cool explosive, although it's very sensitive. Thus, it has no practical use in detonators and it should be kept that way. Fulminates are supposedly easy to produce, but for some reason I normally have a problem with getting the reaction to progress. If you're like me, I've included a little tip that works 100% of the time. Silver fulminate is the explosive found in those little toy snap-pops, dragon-snaps, noisemakers, or whatever you happen to call them. However, they are found in very small amounts, up to 0.8mg per tear-drop shaped device. Thats 0.0008g per peice.

2HNO3 + Ag ----> AgNO3 + NO2 + H2O

HNO3 + C2H5OH ----> CH3CHO + HNO2 + H2O

CH3CHO + HNO2 ----> CH2NOCHO + H2O






HNO2 ----> NO + OH- (The nitrogen monoxide will react with the air forming nitrogen dioxide which is why the reaction gives off nitrogen dioxide after a while)

HONC + OH- + AgNO3 ----> AgCNO + HNO3 + H2O

Materials Equipment
Silver Metal 20x150mm
70% Nitric acid 200ml RBF or equivalent
96% Ethanol (I consider absolute ethanol a waste for this) Funnel and filter paper

To a 20x150mm testtube, add 1.5g of silver metal. To this, add 5ml of distilled water. Place this testtube in an 80C water bath to begin warming it while you measure out the nitric acid. In a small graduated cylinder, or similar device, pour 10ml of nitric acid. Add this to the testtube, in a quick but careful manner to ensure complete mixing. The silver metal will start dissolving. Since this produces a little NO2, a poisonous gas, it is recommended to leave the area while it dissolves. Within half an hour, it will all be dissolved. At this point, add 25ml of 96% ethanol (or greater) to a 200ml round bottom flask, or similar. The type of flask, or size is of no importance, just as long as it's 200ml or bigger. Heat this to around 30-35C in the water bath from before. Remove from the water bath, and quickly add the solution in the testtube. Within the first minute or two, you should see bubbles beginning to form, or a reaction starting. If no reaction starts within that time period (which is common for me), then add approximately 2ml of nitric acid. The reaction should start very quickly and with great vigor. At this point, either equip yourself with blast rated safety equipment, or leave the area. Employ any ventilation available if you havn't already, as a poisonous gas will be formed.

Within half an hour, the reaction should be complete and you should be greated with a large amount of precipitate in the flask. Add distilled water to this and swirl it, to place all of it in a suspension. Run this through a filter to remove the silver fulminate. Add more distilled water to the flask and run this through the filter. Repeat the last step until most of the material has been removed from the flask. Run two more washes of distilled water through the filter - being sure to agitate it well by pouring the water in quickly (but don't splash it). After the last wash has completely drained, add 30-40ml of 96% ethanol, again be sure to agitate it to ensure complete contact with the ethanol. Once this has drained completely, press it dry between paper towels, then dry in a cool, dark place. Theoretical yeild is 2.08g. Yeild from last time I did this synth: 1.9g, which is a 91.4% yeild.

Note 1: If you are concerned about the sensitivity of this material, you can add 0.4g of regular baking flour to the flask after the reaction. This will desensitize it slight. I have never added flour however and have not had any problems before.

Note 2: This explosive is quite powerful. Combining its power with its sensitivity can be very dangerous, so please use great care when handling this explosive.


Silver Fulminate in suspension - This is a picture of the product after I added some distilled water

1.9g Silver Fulminate yeild - This is a picture of the yeild I acheived last time I attempted this synth.

I also performed a small test; I placed an empty glass bottle upside down in a vice, and placed 300mg (0.3g) of silver fulminate on the bottom of it. For a comparrison, the average aspirin tablet weights more than 300mg.

Glass bottle after blast - This picture shows what ground zero looked like after it was initiated. Warning: Never try this. Not at home, not with professionals, just don't do it.

Close up of remnants - Here you can see how the top was deleted from the bottle, and the bottom (which is normally the top) was disconnected.

The dammage - In this picture, you can see what it did to the bottle. By accident, I also advertised the product in this picture, so I may as well support it - It's delicious.