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Methyl ethyl ketone peroxide (Molecule of the Month for March 2007)

MEKP, Ethyl methyl ketone peroxide

Methyl ethyl ketone peroxide (MEKP) is an organic peroxide, a high explosive similar to acetone peroxide, and is very dangerous to prepare. MEKP is a colorless, oily liquid at room temperature and pressure, while acetone peroxide is a white solid. It is slightly less sensitive to shock and temperature than acetone peroxide, and more stable in storage. It is prepared from butanone and hydrogen peroxide.

Dilute solutions of MEKP are used in industry and by hobbyists as the catalyst which initiates the polymerization of polyester resins used in glass-reinforced plastic, and casting. MEKP does this through the production of free radicals.

It has been reported that MEKP might be the explosive that was to be used in the alleged 2006 transatlantic aircraft plot to destroy planes flying from the United Kingdom to the United States. Acetone peroxide, TATP, is another reported possibility.

Formal Chemical Name (IUPAC)




Picture of Methyl ethyl ketone peroxide

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Methyl ethyl ketone peroxide structure
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Picture of Methyl ethyl ketone peroxide

C6 H14 O4

Update by Karl Harrison
(Molecule of the Month for March 2007 )