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Mercury(II) fulminate

Mercury(II) fulminate

mercury (II) oxidoazaniumylidynemethane
IUPAC name
Chemical formula Hg(ONC)2
Molar mass 284.624 g/mol
Shock sensitivity High
Friction sensitivity High
Density 4.43 g/cm³
Explosive velocity 4,250 m/s
RE factor  ?
Melting point N/A
Autoignition temperature 150 °C
Appearance Grey crystalline
CAS number 628-86-4
PubChem 12359
SMILES [C-]#[N+][O-].[C-]

Mercury(II) fulminate (Hg(ONC)2) is a primary explosive. It is highly sensitive to friction and shock. It is mainly used as a trigger for other explosives in percussion caps and blasting caps. Mercury(II) cyanate, though its formula is identical, has a different atomic arrangement; cyanate and fulminate are isomers.

Today mercury fulminate tends to be replaced by other primary explosives which are less toxic and more stable over time: lead azide, lead styphnate and tetrazene derivatives.

Used in percussion caps, this compound quickly replaced flints as a means to ignite a black powder charge in a firearm.


It is prepared by dissolving mercury in nitric acid and adding ethanol to the solution. It was first prepared by Edward Charles Howard in 1800.[1]

Silver fulminate can be prepared in a similar way, but this salt is even more unstable than mercury fulminate. It can even explode under water.  


  • W. Beck, J. Evers, M. Göbel, G. Oehlinger and T. M. Klapötke (2007). "The Crystal and Molecular Structure of Mercury Fulminate (Knallquecksilber)". Zeitschrift für anorganische und allgemeine Chemie 633 (9): 1417-1422. doi:10.1002/zaac.200700176.
  1. ^ Edward Howard (1800). "On a New Fulminating Mercury.". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London 90 (1): 204-238.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Mercury(II)_fulminate". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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