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Some Tannerite technical questions

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by chris in va, Apr 27, 2007.

  1. chris in va

    chris in va Mentor

    Mar 4, 2005
    Louisville KY
    First off, can someone explain exactly how the chemical reaction happens? The catalyst gets mixed with the AN, then a high speed bullet does...what exactly?

    Also if AN is legal to buy (or is it regulated now?) and that zinc catalyst can be had, is it not fair to say you can formulate your own 'Tannerite' binary targets instead of blowing insane $$$ on the stuff? The ingredients can't cost much.

    I've gone through probably 20 bottles so far but still don't exactly understand it.
  2. CNYCacher

    CNYCacher Participating Member

    Apr 29, 2006
    Auburn, NY
    I thought the catalyst was dark aluminum flake. . . :confused:

    Yeah but either way, I know people do mix their own. I think it's something like 9 parts ammonium nitrate to 1 part catalyst.

    I have always wondered how difficult it is to obtain AN, do they carry it at most farm supply stores? Do they think you are the next McVeigh when you want to get some?
  3. shooting time

    shooting time Member

    Jul 11, 2005
    Buy the AN at home depot or a farm supply you have to put it in a blender and grind it up first then mix 9 parts AN to 1 part 500 mesh dark aluminum powder (you can get it on EBAY) about 25.00 a pound
  4. kellyj00

    kellyj00 Active Member

    Apr 12, 2007

    Tannerite consists of two components, a sensitizer and a bulk material. The bulk material is a mixture of ammonium nitrate and ammonium perchlorate, while the sensitizer is a mixture of dark flake aluminum powder and a small amount of zirconium hydride. Simpler mixtures of ammonium nitrate and aluminum powder are also known to work, but are less sensitive and harder to reliably detonate.
  5. RNB65

    RNB65 Senior Member

    Apr 19, 2006
    Richmond, VA
    It's been a long time since I last took a chemistry class, but I'll take a shot at it. Even when the AN and the catalyst are combined, Tannerite is a very, very stable product which does not detonate easily. It takes a lot of energy (such as being hit with a bullet traveling at supersonic speeds) to trigger the reaction. You'll have to find someone with explosives experience to get a more technical description.

    There are homemade tannerite formulas available on the web. They can be a bit hard to find, but they're out there. Dan Tanner doesn't have any great secrets that no one else knows about -- binary explosives are a pretty straight forward combination of AN and a catalyst (usually aluminum powder).

    And man are they fun! :)
  6. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Senior Elder

    Dec 24, 2002
    I am just amazed that the BATFE and the anti gunners have not taken notice of Tannerite and clamped down on its sale to American Commoners.
    Ammonium nitrate and about any sensitizer is classified as a blasting agent and some combinations are explosives.
  7. Dr. Dickie

    Dr. Dickie Participating Member

    Apr 19, 2006
    Jacksonville Beach, FL
    I would suspect that the reaction is between the oxidant (the nitrate) and an easily oxidized substance (aluminum).
    The aluminum is protected by an inert layer of oxide (aluminum oxides --rusts--so fast that this provide the anti-rust properties).
    A bullet entering this system, would expose the aluminum (scraping through the aluminum to expose fresh aluminum) and provide the energy to get the reaction started.
    Look up the termite reaction (iron and aluminum). Takes a lot to get that one started (no good oxidant present), but boy does it go once in gets past the hump.
  8. MD_Willington

    MD_Willington Senior Member

    Oct 13, 2005
    Canuck in SE WA State.
    Keep in mind AN sucks up moisture like no tomorrow, so once you crush it, you need to use PDQ...

    I was fortunate enough to have a buddy in College that was ticketed & used to run a powder company with his family, and he had some neat recipes!

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