German scientists developing green bombs

New environmentall friendly, nitrogen-based explosives could deliver more of a bang while being safer to handle than traditional charges, German scientists say.

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

New environmentally friendly, nitrogen-based explosives could deliver more of a bang while being safer to handle than traditional charges, according to chemists at the University of Munich in Germany.

When detonated, common explosives now used in military and industrial applications such as TNT and RDX generate toxic gases that pollute the environment. They're also dangerous to handle: They don't like to be dropped or bumped and are super sensitive to electrical sparks.

To make them safer and reduce environmental dangers, German scientists have turned to tetrazoles--synthetic compounds that derive most of their explosive energy from nitrogen instead of carbon, as do many conventional explosives. Tetrazoles are already used to generate the gas to fill the airbags in some cars.

Chemists at the University of Munich made tiny bombs from two tetrazoles called HBT and G2ZT, which not only proved more stable than conventional explosives but more powerful as well, according to researcher Thomas Klapötke. Here's a video that shows it in action.

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