Wikipedia's censored guide to nitroglycerin

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Wikipedia used to have a guide on how to make nitroglycerin. This made concerned mothers everywhere get their panties in a knot. A decent amount of arguing was had on the talk page which consisted of people repetitively making the claim that the information was too dangerous to let fall into the wrong hands and being told over and over about WP:NOTCENSORED which surprisingly enough was not promptly ignored. Much to the delight of many wikipedians who want to keep you ignorant of all the awesome things in life the information was finally removed when WP:NOTMANUAL was finally pointed out by someone who actually bothered to read the rules.


Quotes from the talkpage

you don't want fools blowing themselves up


—who says we don't?

I am concerned, however, about idiot kids using wikipedia as a bomb-making guide.


—A concerned mother

you are neither a parent nor censor in your capacity as a Wikipedia editor.


—One of only two people in the discussion who think the rules should be followed.

You can't blow yourself up with homosexuality.


—a gay terrorist denier

homosexuality is even worse since it damns you to eternal suffering


—taking stuff out of context is always fun

Overlooking this discussion a clear majority is also in favor to remove the detailed synthesis.


—Some idiot failing to understand Wikipedia is not a democracy

Surely, mere numbers shouldn't override Wikipedia policy?


—This guy must really like arguing with brick walls

all too often these days I see people self-editing information about the dangers of chemicals one uses in every day life under the pretense that this information could be used as a weapon of some kind in the hands of dangerous people but where do you sotp?


—censorship is bad mkay

The banned section


Required chemicals / apparatus

  • HNO3 (nitric acid)
  • H2SO4 (sulphuric acid)
  • Glycerol
  • Salt-ice bath
  • 1000 mL beaker
  • Jug of ice water
  • Glass burette
  • Separatory funnel
  • Glass rod
  • Thermometer
  • Safety equipment, minimally including heavy leather gloves, impact-resistant goggles, hearing protection, and face shield.


The following describes an extremely dangerous process. The risk of explosion during the production process is one of the reasons even skilled professionals purchase their nitroglycerin rather than make it themselves. Do not attempt without having received the necessary training.

Nitroglycerine is prepared by nitration of glycerol (also known as glycerin).

First, you must create a nitrating solution. Slowly mix 200 ml of 98 to 100% nitric acid with 300 ml of 98-100% sulphuric acid into a 1000 ml beaker which is submersed in a salt-ice bath. Make sure to cool down the mixture to 10 °C before the next step.

Next, add 112 ml of glycerol, which has previously been cooled to 15 °C, very slowly (i.e. drop by drop using a burette suspended over the beaker) to the nitrating solution. Slowly stir it, with extreme care not to tap the stirring device against the side of the beaker, as the impact of the stirring rod against the container has been known to create enough pressure to detonate the nitroglycerin. Carefully monitor the temperature while adding the glycerol; the temperature should never rise above 20 °C and should be kept below 15 °C as a safety precaution. If the temperature starts rising, stop adding glycerol and stir slowly until the temperature goes back down.

Keep a jug of ice water nearby and if at any time the temperature rises above 20 °C or red fumes are noticed, carefully dump the solution into the ice water immediately. Once all of the glycerol has been added, let the mixture cool down to 15 °C and let it stand for 15 minutes. Then pour this mixture into a large container containing an equal amount of water at room temperature. Add this mixture to a separatory funnel. The nitroglycerine will settle onto the bottom of the funnel.

Drain out the nitroglycerine layer and then add to a clean funnel, with plenty of water at approximately 38 to 45 °C and wait for it to separate. Then, drain out the nitroglycerine layer again. Repeat the washing process above with a 4% sodium carbonate solution instead of water. Then wash with water again three more times. Give it one more wash with a concentrated sodium chloride solution and then test with litmus for acidity. It should be neutral or it will explode. Keep washing until it tests neutral with litmus.

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