Mercury fulminate? Pah! With an energy of a mere 268 kJ/mole, it’s barely good enough to fracture the occasional test equipment. The discerning mad chemist will instead select a *real* explosive like CL-20 (http://pipeline.corante.com/archives/2011/11/11/things_i_wont_work_with_hexanitrohexaazaisowurtzitane.php). This compound is reportedly twice as powerful as fulminate. And this is the real stuff, too. Far from having the mild , forgiving nature of fulminate, with requires a shock to denotate, CL-20 will explode if the temperature changes, or the light is a bit too harsh, or if someone down the hall wears the wrong cologne. Heck, CL-20 is made more manageable by mixing it up with pure TNT.
Then again, few of your surviving readers are aware of the existence of this entertaining molecule, so you might be forgiven for preferring the more mundane fulminate.
Keep up the excellent work.
Fulminate of mercury is a compound on par in terms of explosive force with anything in the military arsenal, and used to be used for primers, until more stable and less toxic and corrosive formulae were worked out. The contents of that fabricator were, in effect, a demolition charge or about four grenades worth of explosive, using the enclosed space and shrapnel of the fabricator to complete the carnage.
Using Hexanitrohexaazaisowurtzinane would have been difficult, since the saboteur clearly wanted to destroy the entire room, and odds are the manufacturing process of the replicator technology would likely set the molecules off as fast as it made them, preventing any serious accumulation of explosive yield, though it does have the added benefit of not having to construct any element heavier than nitrogen and carbon. Using a more stable explosive compound like RDX or Trinitrotoluene might be preferrable. This sounds like an important point of evidence; a qualified demolitions expert could get a microwave sized replicator could put out a 10kg charge of something like Comp B, TNT or RDX and ruin things rather severely.
So “Why Mercury Fulminate?” indeed…
Oh, I love the ‘things I wont work with series’. He once described a chemical that set everything on fire and, if you poured wet sand on it, it would set the wet sand on fire. No, really.
He called it ‘Satan’s Kimchi’
It was like Fiend Fire from Harry Potter….
Chlorine trifluoride is the chemical you are thinking of.
My favorite one is FOOF though.
433 kcal(1,811.672 kilojoules) per mole when reacted with Hydrogen sulfide.
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