How do party snaps work? — Boris, New York, N.Y.
Marshall Brain Answers:
The video shows you party snaps, also called snap-n-pops, in action:
Here’s what happens if you snap one in your mouth:
Of course, most kids immediately imagine making a bomb out of them, by unwrapping the paper and combining them together. Here is what happens:
So what’s inside? One thing you could use is nitrogen triiodide, as seen here:
The problem is that nitrogen triiodide is a little too sensitive. So snap-n-pops usually use silver fulminate (AgCNO) instead, as shown here:
As he mentions, sand particles are coated in the silver fulminate, giving the pop a little weight when you throw it. The sand also makes the explosion even less dangerous than it would be if the explosive was concentrated.