Friday 21 September 2012

High Explosive From Aussie Plants - 1858 to World War One

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trinitrophenol molecule by Iomesus

In 2006 I was driving from the highly interesting Naracoorte Caves in South Australia to Melbourne. I came across an area where a bush fire had scorched the trees, some time before.

There were loads of weird (to me, a visitor) columnar plants growing throughout the sparse bush.

They are Xanthorrhoea, which were harvested in the past to make Botany Bay Gum. Just before the Great War, the gum was suddenly in demand by the Germans. It can be nitrated to make 246 trinitrophenol, or picric acid.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 26 September 1936

The Chemical gazette 1859, Volume 17 - Page 136

A note to any unstable folk contemplating the manufacture of unstable chemicals - Picric acid can be made by much easier & cheaper means, without killing any of these remarkable botanical curiosities.

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Unrelated to this post, below is an example of
eclectic science esoterica 

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WARNING - Many subjects outlined within this site are extremely dangerous and are provided here for information only. Please don`t experiment with high voltages or chemicals unless you are fully conversant with safe laboratory practices. No liability will be accepted for death, injury or damage arising from experimentation using any information or materials supplied.