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The optimal approach to DDNP manufacturing
This guide reflects the suggestions and requirements for the manufacturing of 3 batches of DDNP totaling approx 20-45g of pure DDNP crystals within 45 hours. This should be enough for four detonators (5-8g per detonator) and some additional material for testing.
General information and comments:
DDNP or dinol stands for Diazodinitrophenol and has the reputation of being one of the best primaries out there when it comes to performance.
VoD: 7000 m/s @ 1,63g/cc.
Despite all the misinformation out there, stating it is so difficult to make... - DDNP IS an EXTREMELY easy primary explosive to manufacture. I managed to create it on the first try and none of my batches failed. Sure, there are many steps to follow, but each step is very simple requiring only basic lab equipment. I must admit I was discouraged reading all the misinformation out there regarding the difficulty level and the dangers involved, seeing that I had ZERO experience from chemistry. But seriously, If I can make it with ease, then ANYONE can! Sure enough, the 4 individual guides I located were lacking and incorrect. But after merging them, and correcting with my personal experience acquired, it proved surprisingly easy. DDNP is around 10 times as stable as AP and I believe it is the primary explosive used by armed forces worldwide atm. Good properties for storage. Used to detonate a secondary high explosive such as picric acid. The following guide will result in high grade DDNP with very few impurities. I found synthesizing picric acid to be more difficult than that of DDNP, even though PA is probably the easiest secondary you can manufacture.
Suggested equipment used:
· 6 x 2L beakers (required if you want to complete all DDNP manufacturing within 45 hours)
· 4 x 1L beakers, 2 x long glass temperature rods (works excellently as stirring rods as well)
· 6 funnels, filter paper (coffee filters are ok)
· 1 x standard electric heating source
· 1 x hot plate stirrer with 2 x stir bars
· 3 x 1ml plastic one-time-use syringes (used to drip sulfuric acid)
· 1-2 rubber scrapers
· 1 x 10L regular plastic bucket used as ice bath container (these have a thin bottom and a 2L beaker fits nicely in them, with enough room for ice, water - placed on hot plate stirrer),
· 1 x 500ml graduated cylinder is a bonus although most beakers now a days are graduated
· Several small plastic containers to keep the various chemicals in
· Fume hood with fan is a bonus but not necessarily required if you have a good 3M mask with acid/vapour filter (nr. 60923 - multifilter) and good ventilation
· 3M mask with acid/vapour filter (nr. 60923 - multifilter)
· Nitril gloves (regular washing up gloves are fine)
· 1 x hot plate stirrer with 2 x stir bars is not necessarily required but will save you a lot of grief - highly recommended
· 3 x 1L conical flasks (for purification of DDNP)
· 3x 70-150ml porcelain dishes (boiling dishes for purification of DDNP)
· + 2 x heat sources (purification of DDNP)
Total chemicals required:
· 120g of pure wet PA or 80g of pure dry PA (I suspect this is a bit of an overkill though)
· 87g of caustic soda
· 70g sulfur powder
· 90ml sulfuric acid (90%+)
· 51g sodium nitrite (not nitrate)
· >20L distilled water
· 1,35L acetone (for purification of DDNP)
1. Into a 2L beaker, pour 300ml of dist. water and heat up to 70-80C.
2. Add either 27g of pure dry picric acid (or 40g if wet) to this and swirl it a little bit. It will not all dissolve however, so don't assume you're getting anywhere by swirling it for 24 hours. Optional: I did this on a hot plate stirrer with magnetic stir bar.
3. Now add 4,5g of caustic soda to this. Swirl this mixture around until everything inside dissolves. Yes, it will all dissolve just keep swirling. The solution will turn to an orangish/red color. This is a sodium picrate solution. Keep this on low heat (I placed it on the far end of a regular heater) and add water as it evaporates. This is solution 1.
4. In another beaker, pour 900ml of water and add 24g of caust soda. Bring the solution to a rolling boil.
5. Measure out 22,5g of pure sulfur, and crush it finely. Sieve it into the boiling caust. soda solution making sure to get as little sulfur on the sides of the beaker as possible. Let this boil for 60-120 min (1-2 hours), adding water as necessary. After this amount of time, most if not all of the sulfur should be dissolved. If you sit and watch it the whole time, you will notice a color change from clear to green to blue to puke green, to pea green, then to a very dark color and once all the sulfur dissolves it will be a very very dark red color. Set this on a towel or similar device and let it cool down until it stops boiling. The reason for the towel is so that it doesn't come in direct contact with any room temperature (or colder) surface. This is solution 2. Note: I tried just boiling it this way but ended up waiting 4 hours with half the sulfur left. So I changed the approach by placing the beaker on a hot plate stirrer. Yes, you will get sulfur on the sides this way but just wipe it away with a napkin once all the sulfur dissolves. Using a hot plate stirrer (max heat, max stirring power) it took around 1,5 hours before everything had dissolved.
6. Once it stopped boiling (but is still hot) add it to the sodium picrate solution in the other beaker, in 6 portions.
7. Once all of it is added, place the beaker in a refrigerator until it reaches about 4C. This took around 8 hours for me since I have a small refrigerator. On a couple of occasions I added a couple of sheets of ice cubes in the fridge to speed up the chilling process. Once at 4C, there should be a healthy amount of red crystals in the bottom of the beaker.
8. Filter the whole solution into the 2L beaker that was used in the last step. Discard the filtrate/liquid and clean that beaker out.
9. Pour 900 ml of water in it and bring it to a boil. Add the red crystals in the filter (and everything else) to the boiling water and boil it for 2-3 min while stirring a little bit. While it is still boiling; clean out the other 2L beaker which should be empty.
10. Filter the boiling solution into the clean 2L beaker. Discard the filter and its contents and let the filtrate/liquid cool to room temp. This will take around 5-8 hours. This is now a sodium picramate solution.
11. When the sodium picramate solution is at room temp, drip concentrated sulfuric acid in there with stirring (I used a hot plate stirrer during this addition). Ensure good ventilation as H2S and SO2 will be released. Keep dripping it in there until it just barely tests acidic on litmus paper. This will take 3-6ml (I couldn't be arsed to use my litmus paper so I just added 6ml, drop by drop using a 1ml syringe). You will also notice that the color has changed from a deep red color to a sort of rusty color (orange-brown-red). There is also a precipitate in the beaker and a lot of it. This is picramic acid.
12. Measure out aprox 25ml (I used around 30-35ml) of sulfuric acid and add it to this beaker. Mix the beaker up. Add another 300 ml of water to this.
13. Place this beaker in an ice bath and bring the temperature down below 5C. It took me aprox 20 minutes and 4 sheets of ice to get the temp down to 4C. This is solution 3.
14. In another 2L beaker, pour 750 ml of water and add 17g of sodium nitrite. Swirl it until its dissolved. This is solution 4.
15. Place the ice bath on top of a magnetic stirrer and drop a spin bar in the beaker. Use a thermometer in the beaker. Now slowly add solution 4 to the picramic acid solution (orange-brown solution 3) in the 2L beaker, keeping the temperature below 5C (use thermometer). Ensure there is no sudden rise in temperature. Be sure to stir almost constantly during this part. You can stop stirring if you're not adding anything if you need a break though. Once all of it is added, continue stirring for a couple more minutes then remove it from the ice bath. I spent around 30-40 min adding this by pouring 100ml every 5 minutes. Let it slowly warm up to room temp (this will take 9-12 hours). You will see a brown precipitate (the shade of brown varies sometimes). The solution should be brown.
16. Once it is up to room temperature, filter the solution out. There is a lot of DDNP crystals in here, so use 3-4. Try to even the amounts of DDNP on each filter paper when filtering.
17. Once all the crystals are filtered out, run 60ml of ice water through each filter to wash out some of the very soluble products (not needed if you are going to purify it later). Remember, the DDNP is slightly soluble in water so make sure it's very cold. The DDNP formed can be used as is, or it can be further purified.
End note: by using my guide, I had minimal impurities and all batches were successful. Don't be discouraged by the seemingly "long" process. Just follow all the steps and you practically can't go wrong. 90% of the time it takes will be "waiting" for the temperature to decrease/increase after each of the 3 stages. The only way you can fail is if you have very poor quality or incorrect chemicals (f example some who attempted tried with sodium nitrate instead of the correct; sodium NITRITE). If you have all the suggested equipment you will complete all three batches (for a total of 15-45g of DDNP) within 45 hours.
Purification of DDNP:
· The optimal way is the following; Dissolve 1/3rd of a batch of wet DDNP (equivalent to 5g dry) with 150ml acetone (regular room temped) in a 250ml or 600ml beaker. Swirl it around well to dissolve as much as possible. There will be some impurities that are un-dissolved. The solution should be cloudy brown. Filter into another 600ml beaker using a lab filter or 2 x coffee filters. In my batch; there was not as much impurities as expected, grey powder like substance (I suspect this is sulfur residue). After filtration, discard the filter with content and pour 50-80ml into the porcelain boiling dish that is placed on top of your 1L conical flask. Ensure excellent ventilation at this point (turn on fume hood-fan if you have one). After around 30 minutes most of the acetone should be boiled away. Scrape it off gently into a plastic container and store, perhaps adding a little water. Dry immediately before use.
· Filter the solution into a 2L beaker containing 1,5L of distilled ice water with ice cubes while rapidly stirring the liquid (magnetic stirrer). This will convert it into bright yellow crystals. The ice cubes are scooped out and the liquid filtered again. The filter papers will contain purified DDNP crystals. (Important; this method does not work, according to three forum sources as the DDNP is partly soluble in water, so you will get little if any yellow DDNP crystals)
DO NOT SCRAPE DRY PURIFIED DDNP OFF ANY SURFACE (I've done this many times but anyway...<3). Get as much as you can of the loose crystal, but don't scrape at the layer as it is friction sensitive. One guide says: load moist in detonator while another guide states; must be dried before it will explode. It seems to detonate while slightly moist from acetone but Im going to completely dry it. Does not detonate when unconfined unless the sample is larger than 6g. Will not detonate by fire when unconfined, unless more than 6g, but will burn with a quick flash. Commonly initiated using black powder safety fuse (Tried it and it works, although I used a couple of grams of gunpowder taken from a shot gun shell, dunno how it affects etc.). It can be compressed substantially without detonation. Compressed samples can still be easily detonated.
Good properties of storage. DDNP is best stored with 25% water. Dry immediately before use. I stored my DDNP in regular plastic boxes, in darkness, at 8,5C. Ended up just darkening the boxes with a black permanent marker. I had several amber glass bottles but figured it would be a pain to get the substance in/out, due to the relatively small openings on the bottles. Store away from light. It decomposes when exposed to direct sunlight and explodes violently when heated to 150C. Detonates easily by sparks, fire, percussion or friction. Long term storage: submerged in water free kerozene in tightly sealed amber glass away from light.
At one point in time; I dried 3g of unpurified DDNP in the oven at 60-70C for 4 hours. I have not tested if this is an appropriate way of drying when handling larger batches or purified substance, but I will soon find out... Alternative drying methods; Drying will take 24 hours if done in room temp or 2 hours if beaker is suspended in a hot water bath. Since Im purifying the DDNP using acetone I think ill either use the oven or boil it dry on the porcelain plate on top of the conical flask with boiling water.
April - 2011
On April 6th I leased a car (short term lease), from AVIS; a silver grey Fiat Doblo van with 735kg of carrying capacity. They would charge my credit card with 810 euro per month. I needed this car as I had an introduction meeting with a farm owner the next day. I removed all the AVIS insignias so the car would pass as my own.
I had previously made initial contact with the owner of an appropriate farm through an online real estate forum for farms etc. At this point in time I had regularly searched for farms with 30-100 decare of farmland the past 6 months and had around 10 potential leads, all within 4,5 hours driving from the capital.
I had an introduction meeting with the owner, Petter and his girlfriend Tonje, around April 7th. They were around 37 years old and it turned out Petter was renting out the farm for the next 2,5 years due to the fact that he was going to jail for the specified period. He was reluctant to state exactly what he was being incarcerated for but he mentioned something about renting the place to someone who had used it as a marijuana farm. So I assumed that he was somehow implicated. I presented myself in an optimal way and it paid off; the couple seemed to love me, considering me to be the ideal candidate. It is times like these that your acquired experience/competence in sales will pay off. A good salesperson is also a very talented psycho-analyst. So it's all about identifying the persons pains/problems/worries and saying what the individual wants to hear.
I wanted to move in as fast as possible, f example from April 1st, but as he was scheduled to leave for prison on April 19th and Tonje wanted to live there until May 1st, this wasn't a possibility. Petter came to Oslo on April 10th and we signed the contract. I was now significantly closer to initiating the manufacturing phase...!
At this point in time I lived with my mom, in order to conserve as much of my funds as possible.
On April 9th, I was inflicted with a virus by my mother and I came down with something that later appeared to be a very resilient throat infection. FFS, this is what happens when you live with people hanging out with hypochondriacs...! It was the third time she had infected me the last two years and I was very pissed off and frustrated. The manufacturing phase was SO close, in only 20 days and now I'm potentially neutralized for the next three weeks... I decided to ride the illness out as I thought it would pass within the week, but it proved to be very resilient. My energy levels dropped by more than 50% and I eventually ended up with an antibiotics treatment.
It was now April 25th and I was finally back to normal. I had spent the past couple of weeks playing through Dragon Age II and a couple of other newly released games. Awesome! The good news was also that I would practically immune to any bacteria's and viruses for the next 3 months, in the most critical of all phases, as my immunity system had been boosted and rejuvenated significantly by the virus. My training regime had suffered and I had lost a couple of kilograms of muscle mass but most if not all other practical things were now in place for the manufacturing phase.
On April 27th I made the order for the fertilizer which were to be delivered a week later. Prior to making this order I had officially registered my company as an agricultural entity, with emphasis on the growing of specific crops, and I had gotten my official production number (a farming number) allowing me to make orders from the national farming supplier. If they were to screen me they would see that my company was linked to a farm that had 90 decares of fertile land so all was well.
The last week in the capital I spent a lot of time with friends, partying and attending various social events. I knew that it would be the last chance, for a very long time, I would enjoy their presence.
I had somewhat of a liquidity problem though, as I had to transfer a deposit equivalent to three months rent - 3750 euro in addition to the rent for May; 1250 euro.
This payment ate up a great deal of my remaining liquidity so I would shortly solely rely on my 10 credit cards with a total of 29 000 credit... As the weekly cap on all credit cards are capped at around 800 euro, I started withdrawal of funds from 3 cards.
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