(2016-04-27) (Not) Blowing Stuff Up
(Not) Blowing Stuff Up
Summary: Mon retires to the high school's chem lab to practice making higher order explosives than she previously has. She emerges with a cast nitrocellulose plug of approximately the right chemistry for smokeless gunpowder, and a fresh bottle of fuming nitric acid. And no Earth Shattering Kaboom.
Date: 2016.04.27
Related: None

<FS3> Monica rolls Chemistry: Failure.
Monica spends 1 luck points on Reroll a bad chemistry roll. My rolls seem to suck for any skill I have less than three dice in.
<FS3> Monica rolls Chemistry: Success.

Monica is behaving, Doctor Eli. really. She's not lifting anything heavy, not working with large, powerful machinery or anywhere she could fall down easily. She's just doing some chemistry in the high school chem lab. Of course, this being Mon, she's not doing chemistry any high school teacher would approve of. She's using strong sulfuric acid (scavenged from a car battery) to extract red fuming nitric acid from ammonium nitrate fertilizer. So… strong acids, fumes, and of course, nitric acid is the basis for /serious/ naughtiness. But she's done this before. Lots of times. It goes without a hitch.

<FS3> Monica rolls Chemistry: Failure.

Today, Mon is trying to nitrate cellulose. Paper, in this case. She's made nitrated paper before. It's the basis of her paper cartridges for her pistol and her Sharps. The original caseless ammunition, but what she's trying to make today is sterner stuff. Guncotton was the first stable nitrated explosive (Even Mon's not fool enough to make nitroglycerine). It was also one of the first plastics known to humanity, when dissolved in acetone, molded, and allowed to dry. She's wearing safety goggles for sure, since there were some handy, and a labcoat (also handy) and nitrile gloves. Burn me once, shame on me. Burn me twice… er… ouch. Things don't go as planned, however. The polished paper absorbs almost none of the nitric acid. When she tests it (light with lighter) she discovers she's made exactly what she's made before. Flash paper. Bright and flashy, not useful as an explosive.
<FS3> Monica rolls Chemistry: Good Success.

Monica sits next to the window and reads her Anarchist's Cookbook a while longer, then takes newspaper, grinds it up into tiny shreds, then mixes more nitric and sulfuric acid, and adds it slowly to water. "Good thing that didn't take. That'd have been waaay too brisant for ammunition." She writes down this mixture in a notebook, along with its temperature, and stirs the newspaper shreds into the acid mixture. Much washing and some drying later, she lights a shred of the paper with her lighter. It puffs out of existence with gratifying speed. "Now I just need some acetone. Wonder if there's a dry cleaner in town." She checks the chem lab first, just to be sure.

<FS3> Monica rolls Search: Good Success.
<FS3> Monica rolls Chemistry: Good Success.

Monica giggles as she finds a nice bottle of the stuff in the chem lab closet. "Gotta learn to make this stuff too." She dissolves the newly made nitrocellulose, more properly called pyro-collodion in the acetone and presses it and some string into an empty cartridge she picked up somewhere along the way. She lets it set, then pulls it out. "Yeah… first test. Is it stable? Let's find out outdoors." She takes it outside and tosses it on the ground. Nothing happens. "Okay. Safe to handle at least today." She picks it back up and takes it back to the machine shop, where she sets it in a heavy, wide piece of pipe with a paper roof over it to let it sit and dry for the next few days.

Monica spends the rest of the day in the library reading about ABE fermentation, the World War I way of making acetone that also results in butanol and ethanol. The former of which can be directly substituted for gasoline. She ruefully imagines Eli's face when she walks in and says "I need some bacteria from the clostridia family. Acetobutyilicium, preferably.

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