Mystery Compound

One of my friends,who runs a scrap yard,recently scrapped some items that were likely transformers of some kind. They contained some mercury switches, and the mercury from those switches combined with a white powder (possibly calcium) to make a material that when moved would burn, and when hit would explode. The explosions would get bigger if the material was hit harder. When in contact with skin, this material would burn the skin like a weak acid. The white powder that combined with the mercury was likely insulation material of some kind. Any idea what this was?

      • It’s tough to guess if you don’t know what the mercury is mixing with. There is a high explosive named mercury fulminate. I did find a website with a recipe, but I don’t have any experience with it myself. - MC


So, Isosleepy, you figure out all of these properties on your own? You sound like a scary person to hang out with. :slight_smile:

A wild shot in the dark from somebody who knows squat about chemistry:


Even though I am scary to hang out with, I didn’t in fact find out any of these properties. These guys played around with it for hours 'till it was all gone (apparently there’s a lot of quiet time on the scrap yard) I was frustrated that I could’n figure out what this compound was, so I asked a lot of questions. By the way, it wasn’t fulminate of Mercury (apparently some of these guys had a working knowledge of that, which scares me a little), and the white powder likely wasn’t Magnesium. (I can’t think of anyone using that for an insulator)