Synthetic Routes to New and Improvised High Explosives
F1-A1 (Phase 1)

Download the 2013 Project Report

The project deals with alternative routes for synthesis of triacetonetriperoxide (TATP) without the use of liquid peroxides. The research aims to explore commonly available chemicals which can be used as precursors along with ‘over the counter’ materials which have the ability to produce TATP. One of the most promising chemicals for the synthesis of TATP are percarbonates giving yields higher than with liquid peroxides Commonly available cleaners containing percarbonates were investigated. Full analytical characterization of these materials; x-ray diffraction (XRD), nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), mass spectrometry, thermo-gravimetric analysis (TGA) is being conducted. This effort will be conducted in close collaboration with ALERT partners. We are also closely coordinating with industrial contacts from the United States, Canada (University of Alberta), and Europe (Cambridge University). Transition and accomplishments of previous efforts will also be described. The relevance to the DHS for this work is to readily identify new precursors for the synthesis of illicit explosives.


We hope to provide DHS with a better method for collecting explosive vapors, provide a technical capability of chemical synthesis of energetic compounds to ALERT, and investigate basic science aspects of high explosives on initiation, propagation and deflagration.
F1-A1 Research Objectives
Project Leader
  • Brandon Weeks
    Associate Director
    Texas Tech University

Faculty and Staff Currently Involved in Project
  • Louisa Hope-Weeks
    Texas Tech University

Students Currently Involved in Project
  • Xin Zhang
    Texas Tech University