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What's this talk of a chlorine bomb?

The Chlorine Bomb is an interesting piece of work. It makes a loud noise that rather resembles a hand grenade or howitzer shell, yet causes little to no damage to its nearest surroundings. It's a great device that doesn't cost much, is easily put together, and requires little skill to pull off properly. This isn't to say if you stand around and let it detonate while clutched closely to your chest that you won't tend to feel some soreness.

There are various recipes out there that call for various additives and methods. However after a good semester of experimenting, I have found a very ideal mixture and method. The recipe calls for simple things that can be picked up at a 24-hour Walmart for well under $10. It adds to the humour when you purchase chlorine tablets and rubbing alcohol alone at 4am at the lone checkout lane.

How to do it (properly)

You will need:

The steps are simple and most high school graduates can pull this off without the use of heavy mathematical equations or their organic chemistry notebooks.

  • Simply use the hammer to crunch up the four chlorine tablets into a powder. Chunks are acceptable, as long as the mixture is not predominantly huge chunks.

  • Funnel or otherwise place the powder into the 2-Liter Plastic soda bottle.

  • Be ready to place the bottle at its intended location and exit (if necessary) at this point. Pour in the bottle of rubbing alcohol until either gone, or the soda bottle appears 2/3 full.

  • Quickly, now! Screw on the bottle cap very tightly! Make sure it's not going anywhere. Now shake the bottle vigorously for a few seconds and place the bottle down. Run away.

  • There will be a buildup of gas inside the bottle, which will reach such high pressures that it will blow apart the soda bottle creating a ka-fucking-boom. If you make a few at a time, a succession of bangs might even give the effect of a shelling or air raid.

Holy shit man, What happened?!

The chlorine mixed with the isopropanol and the chemical reaction resulting created massive amounts of chlorine gas. The gas builds up at a fairly rapid rate, which means if done properly, your chlorine bomb will explode in about one minute, sometimes less sometimes more. This is not a precise science. The amount of active ingredients will vary from brand names and size of chlorine tablets, concentration of isopropyl alcohol, thickness of the soda bottle, and the amounts of which you placed in the bomb.

The gas builds up to a point where the plastic bottle can no longer contain all of the pressure. A hole blows out from the bottle at the weakest location (often on the neck of the bottle), and the gas escapes rapidly -- all of this causing your desired sound effect. If the cap wasn't secure, it may blow off and the bottle propelled in an unpredicatable direction.

So... why would I want to do this?

You're a smart cookie, you can figure that one out. Wake up your neighbors or dorm hall residents, if you are so inclined. It also functions very nicely as a diversionary tactic as the resulting soda bottle only looks like litter. Police, security, or whomever will be looking for (nonexistent) damage and shrapnel from this explosion whilst you do whatever it is you're not supposed to be doing. Curiosity is an even better reason. Just for the hell of it, go detonate one in a field. Place a handful strategically around a target's home to create Dolby Surround Sound. There are plenty of other ideas yet to be tried. I'm sure, since the device is sealed, a bottle could be weighted and submerged in water for an interesting effect. Be creative, but safe. (So dropping it out of 72-story windows or popping one off in a crowded area are probably not swift ideas).

The Chlorine bomb is a very versatile and amusing toy. I should not have to warn you of the consequences of doing things stupidly or with disregard for safety. If you blow your hand off because you wanted to shake it for 5 minutes straight, I will not cry. This is also probably illegal in most places, even with it being so harmless - so avoid doing your deed outside the local police department.

If you happen to set one off, feel free to /msg me with how it went. I'm always in for a good story. Have fun and please... think of the kittens.

Potential Dangers... as always

Consider the following before attempting. Things can go wrong, and it is a chemical reaction you are dealing with.
  • Bottle does not rupture, person gets curious and approaches bottle. Opening it up is a serious risk. Leaving it is also a serious risk for other people around. If it doesn't go off, don't approach the bottle immediately and dispose safely (i/e: outdoors trash dumpster).
  • Bottle filled with too much liquid, so there is not enough headspace. Pressure will buildup swiftly, and there is little to no time to release the bottle. Therefore, leave at least, if not more than, 1/3 of the bottle empty.
  • Tablets pulverized too finely. Overall reaction rate is increased. See above problem. Therefore, leave it chunky, but small enough to just fit in the bottle neck.
  • Risk of inhalation of toxic chemicals, especially when done indoors. Therefore, do this outdoors.
  • Risk of physical injury from bottle. Keep safe distance and know that this is a risk.
  • Potential damage to ears, and eyes. It could happen, so again - keep a safe distance
  • Potential damage to eyes from corrosive liquid - so wear eyeglasses, goggles, or just plain keep a safe distance.
If you're not hell-bent on setting off a chlorine bomb with your spare pool supplies, see dry ice bomb for a similar device that involves no chemical reactions and might be somewhat safer... given you can get your hands on dry ice. Just be smart, keep it away from people, and think before you do things. Isn't that the way it goes? Enjoy, and happy travels!

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