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Author Topic: What happens if you chew explosive material?  (Read 8480 times)

nixietube

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What happens if you chew explosive material?
« on: 11/12/2009 11:19:39 »
http://uk.news.yahoo.com/5/20091209/tod-exploding-chewing-gum-blows-off-stud-870a197.html

"A chemistry student has been found dead with his jaw blown off by what is believed to be exploding chewing gum, reports have said."

It appears the student had explosive material and chewing gum. He somehow managed to confuse the two.

What kind of material was this?
If it was that volatile, would it not have required such careful handling that confusing it with regular chewing gum was unlikely?
Is there something else in combination with the  mechanical act of chewing that could have triggered it? - the story mentions citric acid. Saliva?


 

Offline chris

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What happens if you chew explosive material?
« Reply #1 on: 11/12/2009 16:04:45 »
Some blow job and a half!
 

Offline Madidus_Scientia

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What happens if you chew explosive material?
« Reply #2 on: 11/12/2009 16:21:19 »
Whatever explosive it was must have had jaw-dropping power
 

Offline chris

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What happens if you chew explosive material?
« Reply #3 on: 11/12/2009 17:27:24 »
From that the report says it was more than jaw-dropping!
 

Offline SeanB

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What happens if you chew explosive material?
« Reply #4 on: 11/12/2009 18:20:29 »
Explosives range in sensitivity, from stuff that literally will explode if exposed to light, to explosives that will not detonate even if hit with a hammer. Most commercial explosives fall in the latter category, and many are very safe to handle until they are fused. The fuses are generally a much more sensitive item, using rather noxious chemicals that are sensitive to shock, temperature, moisture, chemicals and pressure. This is needed to get them to initiate the main explosive they are inserted into.

From the little I read, this chemist made some relatively sensitive explosive, and the combination of this, and probably the silver mercury amalgam in his fillings combined with the jaw pressure, caused it to detonate. Not a good day for him at all.

In the world there are still daily discoveries of old war era ordinance, most giving concern due to the age of the triggers making them very sensitive to disturbance, the main charge still being dangerously effective after all this time, especially as you do not know why it initially failed to detonate.



 

nixietube

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What happens if you chew explosive material?
« Reply #5 on: 11/12/2009 19:40:42 »
Thanks SeanB.
 

Offline Bored chemist

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What happens if you chew explosive material?
« Reply #6 on: 12/12/2009 15:14:56 »
I'm not sure that I believe this story but...
The mechanical disturbance of chewing it might well have set it off. It would have needed to be an uncommonly sensitive explosive to go off even though it was wet and also a very powerful one to cause that much damage even though it would have been present in only a small amount.

Cordite is (so my dad told me) chewy. It has a rubbery texture and is quite satisfying to chew.
However this is a foolish thing to do as the nitroglycerine leaches out of it and gives you a severe headache.
 

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What happens if you chew explosive material?
« Reply #6 on: 12/12/2009 15:14:56 »

 

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