Explosion: Grad student looses both hands, face burned

Sad news coming out of Warsaw today. A 27-year old graduate student at Wojskowa Akademia Techniczna (Military University of Technology) suffered severe injuries while performing experiments towards his thesis. He lost both hands and received severe burns on his face. The explosion did not cause a fire. Apparently, his research was on explosive materials. Link to article: here (Sorry, Polish only)


If I had to guess, I would point my finger at a shock sensitive material (peroxides?). Hopefully, the mainstream press will pick-up and follow-through with the story so we can learn from this incident.

Note 1: Thanks to Borek, the ChemBuddy guy, for the tip.



  1. I did a quick Poltran on the original article, it says nothing more about the materials in question, but there is a reference to his not losing consciousness. There’s nothing on the Academy’s website yet. I will try and get hold of a press officer and investigate further.


  2. Edited, it looks like your translator is better than my translator.

  3. That is really sad…and leaves you kind of speechless. Assuming this man recovers, I hope they arrange a way for him to finish his degree.

  4. Nano explosives are the rage, but the problem is that there is a very real limit to the size of an explosive before it becomes non-functional (critical mass). A shockwave must propagate through a certain amount of material (i.e., there is a ‘run time’) for it to fully form, and without this, it doesn’t go bang. Now, on the nanoscale, this won’t fly, so they have to go for materials that do detonate on the nanoscale, and you are unfortunately left with primary HEs. Those are dangerous monsters, and some are even point detonants. One material I saw was a true point detonant; 8 mcg completely destroyed a DSC pan and analyzer (or whatever that name of the thing the pan sits in). Had to buy a new part for the instrument. Suck.

    Point being (heh, no pun intended), if he was doing nano explosives, he may have been working with VERY sensitive and powerful material. Not a good combination.

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