Dry guncotton heated in ammonia gas detonates at about 70°, and ammonium hydroxide solutions of all strengths slowly decompose it, yielding somewhat complex products.
If gradually heated it begins to vaporize and decompose at about 130°, and as a rule it detonates when heated slightly above this temperature, previously giving off some red fumes.
The liquid when soaked into a porous combustible substance like blotting-paper burns rapidly and quietly, and when struck with a hammer on a hard surface violently detonates; when a little of the liquid is spread on an anvil and struck, the portion immediately under the hammer only will, as a rule, detonate, the remainder being scattered.
Dr P. Wolff has found that when this is used on the large scale there is a risk of the ammonia present in the acetylene forming traces of chloride of nitrogen in the purifying-boxes, and as this is a compound which detonates with considerable local force, it occasionally gives rise to explosions in the purifying apparatus.
With the other elements it unites to form bromides, often with explosive violence; phosphorus detonates in liquid bromine and inflames in the vapour; iron is occasionally used to absorb bromine vapour, potassium reacts energetically, but sodium requires to be heated to 200° C. The chief use of bromine in analytical chemistry is based upon the oxidizing action of bromine water.