According to The Register, the recent attempts to bring down several planes over the Atlantic was going to employ the use of TATP. The article linked says this would have been nearly impossible to do in an airplane environment without severe risk of first killing yourself before even getting on the plane.
I’ve put this in GQ because I want to avoid all the other political commentary that would surely follow in any other forum.
Also, my question is NOT how to make a bomb using hydrogen peroxide, acetone, and sulfuric acid, but rather if the summary given in the above link is a reasonable summary.
My limited understanding is that the reaction has to be performed very cold and uses high concentration H[sub]2[/sub]O[sub]2[/sub] as one of its reactants. Something like 70% or 80%. Rocket fuel strength. Stronger than anything you can buy easily, and extremely dangerous in and of itself. I think most labs use 30% hydrogen peroxide (which in itself requires some special precautions - bottles designed either to vent any oxygen released or to expand to accomodate it in order to prevent the bottle from bursting if it becomes contaminated), which means this particular reactant would be hard to find, hard to smuggle onto a plane, and dangerous to carry.
Basic chemistry says that outside of a good lab, you are more likely to blow yourself up than you are to cause any significant damage to an aircraft. TATP is mightily unstable and a bitch to work with. Good luck mixing it all up in an aircraft bathroom.