Picric acid?

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Feb 9, 2005
Anyone know about this stuff? I know what it's used for and in a general way what it is. What about as a fuel additive? Could it be helpful? Any info is appreciated, especially from the "brains." [Smile]
Well, I am no chemist, but I do know that it was used as the initiator in WW2 German bombs. I also know that the main reason German WW2 electrical bomb fuzes are generally not removed from the fuse pocket by RAF bomb disposal even today is that the picric acid seems to form crystals on the locking ring thread, which can lead to vaporized EOD personnel when turning the locking ring causes friction on the crystals. If you see the bomb fuze design, the actual picric acid pellet is at least about 3 inches down from the locking ring, so it would seem the crystals can form some distance away. The procedure generally is to trepan the whole fuse pocket out of the bomb case and blow it up. I would think it would be, er, irritating, to turn a gas cap and have the gas tank explode. I don't have the faintest idea if it would form crystals when mixed with fuel and I wouldn't volunteer to find out.
Title Catalytic fuel additive for jet, gasoline, diesel, and bunker fuels Creator/Author Webb, H.M. Publication Date 1978 Dec 12 OSTI Identifier 6229774 Report Number(s) US 4129421 Resource Type Patent Resource Relation Pat. File: Filed date 24 Jun 1977 Subject 020500 -- Petroleum-- Products & By-Products; ;AUTOMOTIVE FUELS-- ADDITIVES;DIESEL FUELS-- ADDITIVES;JET ENGINE FUELS-- ADDITIVES; ALCOHOLS;IRON SULFATES;PICRIC ACID;TOLUENE;WATER Related Subject AROMATICS;CHEMICAL EXPLOSIVES;EXPLOSIVES;FUELS;HYDROCARBONS;HYDROGEN COMPOUNDS;HYDROXY COMPOUNDS;IRON COMPOUNDS;NITRO COMPOUNDS;ORGANIC COMPOUNDS;ORGANIC NITROGEN COMPOUNDS;OXYGEN COMPOUNDS;PHENOLS;SULFATES;SULFUR COMPOUNDS;TRANSITION ELEMENT COMPOUNDS Description/ Abstract A fuel additive for jet, internal combustion, and diesel engine fuel is described.^The additive consists of an active ingredient formulation consisting of a mixture of picric acid: ferrous sulfate of 17:1 to 70:1 in a solvent consisting of about 60% by volume of methanol, ethanol, and isopropanol, 2% by volume of toluene, and 38% by volume of water.^The additive may also contain a small amount of nitrobenzene.^The additive may be added to the fuel when the fuel is liquid, or the additive may be introduced directly into the engine in vaporized form. Country of Publication United States Language English Format Pages: 8 Rights Natural Resources Guardianship International, Inc. System Entry Date 2001 May 13 http://www.osti.gov/energycitations/product.biblio.jsp?osti_id=6229774
BIOCIDAL ACTIVITY OF FTC COMBUSTION CATALYSTS Microbiological growth in distillate fuels can be a problem and in recent months the manifestation of such growths in fuel with resultant filter blockage has been quite prevalent. The microbial colonies propagate at the fuel-water interface and if water can be totally eliminated, the problem of microbial growth is also eliminated. However, total elimination of water is difficult to attain in practice. One of the active components of FTC combustion catalysts is picric acid, a recognised anti-microbial agent (phenol coefficient = 6). At the recommended level of treatment fuel treated with FTC-1 or FTC-3 contains only about 5 ppm of picric acid — a safe level for handling, and not requiring certification by Australian health authorities. Published independent laboratory tests on simulated samples and actual filters used in the field show that picric acid concentrates in any water present in the fuel and/or filter and can attain levels to prevent microbial growth. The picric acid then becomes a biostat in the fuel tank and filter, preventing growth of colonies in the fuel system. The level of picric acid extracted from filters submitted for analysis was in the range 75 ppm to 300 ppm, depending on the water content of the filter. The Ferrous Corporation of the USA has published a report of a controlled laboratory study which involved making up three aqueous picric acid solutions containing 88, 176 and 294 ppm of acid, and testing for biocidal effect. These concentrations correspond to the probable range of picric acid encountered in practice and the results are summarised below. Samples of distilled water were inoculated with bacteria and treated with varying amounts of picric acid. These results are also shown below. http://www.fpc1.com/tests/ftc/ftpl/tb103-97.htm
I was doing some much needed cleaning at a lab that I use work at, and way in the back of a cabinet I found a good sized bottle of some old picric acid. It had a nice old label on it. The professors didn't want it around and we disposed of it. It doesn't seem like the ideal stuff to use around flammable liquids, even in small concentrations, as sometimes stuff precipitates out of solution in a concentrated manner.
I use picric acid in my lab as a metallographic etchant. It's a very popular etchant. John isr right. If it dries out, it chemically becomes very similar to nitroglycerine and can explode if jarred. Mixed with at least 10% water, it's harmless. A lot of labs have banned the presence of picric acid. I was able to convince our safety people that I can keep picric acid in the lab.
Yeah, I knew about it as a high explosive (higher energy than TNT; I don't know about brisance(sp?)). I also knew it is easily converted to chlorpicrin, a very effective agricultural fumigant. The stuff I have is fairly dilute in a petroleum distillate solution, and that solution gets diluted at a 1:5000 rate in gasoline or diesel as a catalyst. I was thinking that the compound itself could potentially increase fuel economy because it seems to have its own source of oxidizer built in, but the company says it's a catylist. So, I was musing about that aspect of things and wondering how that may be.
I've got some books (somewhere [Roll Eyes] ) that have picric acid as a fuel additive for performance. I'll try to find it and post back later.
It was popular in school for pranking. You would put some on a desk drawer adn when it dried it formed crystals. When someone would open the drawer "boom". Some kids would coat the inside of a lightbulb and once it had dried out they would throw them! Again they got a big "boom"! Oh the good old days!!! Back then we even played around with mercery in school and at home!!! Now you preety much have to be in a large city with a chemical supply house to get it easily! All of these things are also tracked now as well!
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