…when you have the NYT giving you pointers on how to make explosives
Making TATP typically requires meticulous, time-consuming work, adding the catalyst, drop by drop, to a mixture that must be stirred and kept cool, often with a large quantity of ice.
Without specialized equipment, little can be rushed. Adding the catalyst too quickly can lead to aggressive bubbling and rising temperatures. If the reaction gets too hot, it can cause inadvertent explosions.
Even after TATP precursors are acquired, its manufacture can attract attention, because some of the chemicals often involved can generate strong odors.
Drying TATP at room temperature, a last step after rinsing and filtering, also requires a fairly large area, another American official said, unless a vacuum drying chamber is involved. At that point, the TATP would be stored in a relatively airtight container, but if pure, it could not be stored long. After a few weeks, it would be much less powerful.
The intelligence on the explosives suggested that the attack could have been more lethal, the first official said, because two improvised explosive devices constructed with TATP, ammonium nitrate, and a mix of metal bolts and nails were found in suitcases, undetonated, at the airport. A suicide belt was also recovered at the airport, and two more suitcases with bombs were later confiscated during a sweep of a residence used by the suspects.
…The officials noted that in the Paris attacks, TATP had been used as a main charge — packed into smaller, plate-like bundles that were sealed with tape and inserted in suicide vests. The tape was apparently intended to limit the explosive’s exposure to oxygen and slow its decay.
Now class, any questions?