Fulminating Silver

Simple synthesis of explosives

Scientific name: Synthesis and decomposition with explosion of silver nitride



by Basco36


Wear eye protection goggles. Use gloves. Perform the reaction in a hood or outdoors. Work away from flammable objects.

Always follow general safety recommendations. Please note that conducting chemistry experiments you must comply with the relevant legal procedures in your country.

Reaction formula

3 Ag2O + 2 NH3*H2O → 2 Ag3N + 5 H2O

2 Ag3N → 6 Ag + N2

Step-by-step instruction

WARNING! This experiment is dangerous! You should NOT perform this at home. ONLY carry out this experiment, if you are a trained chemist, and you understand local safety and legal requirements, which are required to perform such experiments

  1. Place a small amount of silver oxide in a vial.
  2. Add a little aqueous ammonia in volume about 1.5 times greater than the volume of silver oxide.
  3. Stir the resulting mixture.
  4. Leave the mixture for 2 hours.
  5. Throw the vial from a great height onto the ground. Observe the explosion.

Scientific background

Often, due to the fact that silver is a noble metal, its compounds are unstable. In particular, the covalent bond between silver and nitrogen is weaker than, for example, silver-oxygen ionic bond. Therefore, silver nitride is explosive.


Published on 30 June 2015

  • Fire
  • Heating with fire
  • Explosion
  • Poisoned gas
  • Organic
  • Electricity
  • Solution
  • Oxidation reduction
  • Color change
  • Precipitate
  • Gassing
  • Catalyst