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  #1  
Old 12-29-2003, 09:03 PM
Gadfly Gadfly is offline
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Can orange juice concentrate and gasoline really make nitroglycerine?

It says so in the movie Fight Club, but I know not to trust everything I hear from movies. Hence..

Can it really make nitroglycerine?
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  #2  
Old 12-29-2003, 09:10 PM
Q.E.D. Q.E.D. is offline
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Not as far as I know. Commercially, nitroglycerin is prepared from glycerine, nitric acid and sulphuric acid, and must be kept cool during the process, because the reactions are exothermic (heat-producing). I doubt that concoction would make much of any explosive, since OJ concentrate isn't an oxidizer, nor is it particularly flammable. The best one could hope for is a sort of cheap napalm, though even that's doubtful.
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  #3  
Old 12-29-2003, 09:19 PM
Squink Squink is offline
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No.
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  #4  
Old 12-29-2003, 09:23 PM
scr4 scr4 is offline
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From the IMDB trivia for Fight Club:
Quote:
Brad Pitt's character was originally going to recite a workable recipe for home-made explosives. In the interest of public safety, the filmmakers decided to substitute fictional, dud recipes for the real ones.
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  #5  
Old 12-29-2003, 09:30 PM
KP KP is offline
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You know, I could spout a lot of chemistry here. but I think the best thing I could do for the SDMB would to try it, under various conditions.
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  #6  
Old 12-29-2003, 09:41 PM
Berkut Berkut is offline
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Re: Can orange juice concentrate and gasoline really make nitroglycerine?

Quote:
Originally posted by Gadfly
It says so in the movie Fight Club, but I know not to trust everything I hear from movies. Hence..

Can it really make nitroglycerine?
He said it was to make napalm, not nitroglycerine.
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  #7  
Old 12-29-2003, 09:54 PM
nameless nameless is offline
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Is the nitroglycerine recepie legitimate? That is, skim a layer of glycerin off of rendered fat, mix with nitric acid?
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  #8  
Old 12-29-2003, 09:56 PM
nameless nameless is offline
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I know the recepies aren't supposed to work, but that one just seems a lot more plausible, chemically speaking.
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  #9  
Old 12-29-2003, 09:58 PM
Squink Squink is offline
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You've got to have sulphuric acid in the mix too. It's tricky, and involves ice baths and such.
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  #10  
Old 12-29-2003, 10:01 PM
KP KP is offline
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Back from trial #1: thus far, it seems it'd make a piss-poor ham glaze, and practically nothing else.
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  #11  
Old 12-29-2003, 10:21 PM
Rex Fenestrarum Rex Fenestrarum is offline
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Maxim magazine (a bastion of scientific inquiry, to be sure) once had an article about gimmicks and gadgets in movies. I seem to recall that the Gas\OJ thing worked, but that the ratios were wrong. I can't remmeber if the version mentioned in the movie wasn't sticky enough or wasn't combustible enough... Maybe someone with back issues can answer??
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  #12  
Old 12-29-2003, 10:22 PM
Gadfly Gadfly is offline
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Right. Napalm. I thought not.
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  #13  
Old 12-29-2003, 10:32 PM
Roches Roches is offline
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Nitration isn't terribly difficult, but the method in the movie isn't entirely sound. In the book, they discuss making nitroglycerin several times. Sometimes they mention using sulfuric acid, sometimes they don't. One notable flaw is that they suggest that epsom salts can be used as a 'source of sulfate' for the nitration. This is wrong. Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) can be used as a source of sulfate, but that's not the role of sulfuric acid in the nitration reaction. Sulfuric acid is used as a proton source -- as a strong acid, and not a source of sulfate. Sulfate is a spectator ion that doesn't participate in the reaction.

Another problem is the scene where the narrator gets lye on his hand. Tyler says 'you can go to the sink and run water over it', then goes off talking all badass about how that would be stupid and result in further injury. (I think the author's argument has something to do with the reaction being exothermic.) Tyler, being a genius as well as a badass, suggests using vinegar. This is not recommended procedure. The correct treatment for chemical burns is always flushing the affected area with large amounts of water. Using an acid to neutralize the base is highly unwise. It takes a lot of 5% acetic acid to neutralize even a relatively small amount of a strong base such as NaOH, and the reaction is still exothermic. The burn occurs so quickly that there's really no time to worry about neutralizing the base. The best thing to do is dilute it and rinse it off.
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  #14  
Old 12-29-2003, 11:24 PM
AskNott AskNott is offline
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Using movies as a source of information, truth, philosophical wisdom, or life direction is often a bad idea. I wouldn't write it off completely, but the odds are not so hot.
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  #15  
Old 12-29-2003, 11:52 PM
kp_72110 kp_72110 is offline
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I guess if you really want to make a known deadly potion just try mixing bleach and ammonia. And like Pooh, you too can be a bear of very little brain.

Seriously though, don't try that mixture. It really is very dangerous.
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  #16  
Old 12-30-2003, 12:41 AM
Meeko Meeko is offline
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Not to steal Cecil's Thunder, but perhaps the "MythBusters" (US TLC TV show) should take this one.
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  #17  
Old 12-30-2003, 01:05 AM
netscape 6 netscape 6 is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by kp_72110
I guess if you really want to make a known deadly potion just try mixing bleach and ammonia. And like Pooh, you too can be a bear of very little brain.

Seriously though, don't try that mixture. It really is very dangerous.
yeah I know when I was in the 4th grade I decided to see what I could make with the stuff under the sink. I was hoping to make something make a model valcano for school with. First it started to boil and I thought whoa it works followed by hack hack coff coff, and running to my mom whom flushed it and called poison control. There solution? a glass milk and a hot shower.
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  #18  
Old 12-30-2003, 02:22 AM
Blown & Injected Blown & Injected is offline
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Q.E.D. nailed it
May have well have finished the deal by mentioning the baking soda and salt bath to stabilize the stuff.

Of course this is of no use unless you have a cap to set it off. Acetone, hydrogen peroxide and sulfuric acid should do it.

I do believe that experimentation is legal in a few areas, so check your local laws and still then do not try it. Extreme danger!
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  #19  
Old 12-30-2003, 06:57 AM
pool pool is offline
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I remember reading in th3e anarchists cookbook (although everyone knows half that stuff doesnt work) that you could put styrofoam in gasoline and that was supposed to make napalm but I doubt it works
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  #20  
Old 12-30-2003, 07:48 AM
ghostman ghostman is offline
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gasoline and styrofoam: it works. Lots of Styrofoam, little bit of Gasoline. It also burns nice n hot. When we were kids, we poured a little on the parking lot of my school and lit it in the middle of December (probably around 15 degrees F). After the blacktop started boiling we decided to leave.
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  #21  
Old 12-30-2003, 08:36 AM
KidCharlemagne KidCharlemagne is offline
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The whole idea behind the OJ and gasoline recipe for napalm was that frozen OJ was "gloopy"--nothing more. Gasoline and polystyrene certainly does work--the US military version is kerosene and polystyrene.
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  #22  
Old 12-30-2003, 11:32 AM
chaoticbear chaoticbear is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Roches

Another problem is the scene where the narrator gets lye on his hand. Tyler says 'you can go to the sink and run water over it', then goes off talking all badass about how that would be stupid and result in further injury. (I think the author's argument has something to do with the reaction being exothermic.) Tyler, being a genius as well as a badass, suggests using vinegar. This is not recommended procedure. The correct treatment for chemical burns is always flushing the affected area with large amounts of water. Using an acid to neutralize the base is highly unwise. It takes a lot of 5% acetic acid to neutralize even a relatively small amount of a strong base such as NaOH, and the reaction is still exothermic. The burn occurs so quickly that there's really no time to worry about neutralizing the base. The best thing to do is dilute it and rinse it off.
I think the idea behind that was the fact that the NaOH solution on his hand was of course saturated, since whatever moisture on his skin would be the only solvent there... and when he went to the sink to put water on it, it would create more solution, and thus more OH-, but it neglected to say anything about the fact that it would then dilute it once all of the lye was dissolved.
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  #23  
Old 01-01-2004, 09:43 AM
gcarroll gcarroll is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by AskNott
Using movies as a source of information, truth, philosophical wisdom, or life direction is often a bad idea. I wouldn't write it off completely, but the odds are not so hot.
Not always true. At work I sometimes consider the lament from "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid": “Morons! I’ve got morons on my team!”
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