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Picric acid is described in science journals as a highly sensitive explosive that can be detonated by heat, flame, shock or friction.
Picric acid is used by the department for metal etching and is relatively safe when stored as a liquid.
Picric acid can be used in small quantities for booby traps, such as exploding cigarette packets, or in greater amounts to blow up bridges.
Because picric acid was available in the chemistry room of the lab," he said.
TNT, DNT, TETRYL, TNB- PICRIC ACID ITS SALTS, RDX, PLASTIC EXPLOSIVES C-4, SEMTEX, PETN, DYNAMITE, NITROCELLULOSE, SMOKELESS POWDER, NITRATE SALTS (ORGANIC NITRATE, AMMONIUM NITRATE AND UREA NITRATE)
Lead, brass and other metals from ammunition along with all the constituents of the propellants, including trininitrotoluene, picric acid, diphenylamine, nitrocellulose, nitroglycerin, potassium nitrate, barium nitrate, tetracene, diazodintrophenol, phosphorus, peroxides, thiocarbamate, potassium chlorate, vinyl fluoride, vinyl chloride, sodium fluoride and sodium sulfate.
A police spokesman said the chemical was 7oz (200g) of picric acid 2-4-6 trinitrophenol.
The dye used, picric acid, is not harmful to the birds and will last the winter - disappearing as the birds naturally shed feathers.