Secondary High Explosives

Section 14. SECONDARY HIGH EXPLOSIVES

TNT 14-1

Description: TNT (Trinitrotoluene) is produced from toluene, sulfuric acid, and nitric acid. It is a powerful high explosive. It is well suited for steel cutting, concrete breaching, general demolition, and for under¬water demolition. It is a stable explosive and is relatively insensitive to shock. It may be detonated with a blasting cap or by primacord. TNT is issued in 1-pound and Vj-pound containers and 50-pounds to a wooden box.

Comments: This material was tested. It is effective. TNT is toxic and its dust should not be inhaled or allowed to contact the skin.

References: TM 9-1900, Ammunition, General, page 263.

FM 5-25, Explosives and Demolitions, page 3.

NITROSTARCH 14-2

Description: Nitrostarch is composed of starch nitrate, barium nitrate, and sodium nitrate. It is more sensitive to flame, friction, and impact than TNT but is less powerful. It is initiated by detonating cord. Nitrostarcn is issued in 1-pound and Impound blocks. The 1-pound packages can be broken into Vi-pound blocks. Fifty 1-pound packages and one hundred Impound packages are packed in boxes.

Conwients: This material was tested. It is effective.

Reference: TM 9-1900, Ammunition, General, page 263.

TETRYL 14-3

Description: Tetryl is a fine, yellow, crystalline material and exhibits a very high shattering power. It is commonly used as a booster in ex-

Comments: This material was tested. It is effective.

References: TM 9-1900, Ammunition, General, page 265.

FM 5-25, Explosives and Demolitions, page 8.

MILITARY DYNAMITE 14-7

Description: Military (construction) dynamite, unlike commercial dynamite, does not absorb or retain moisture, contains no nitroglycerine, and is much safer to store, handle, and transport. It comes in standard sticks inches in diameter by 8 inches long, weighing approximately % pound. It detonates at a velocity of about 20,000 feet per second and is very satisfactory for military construction, quarrying, and demo-lition work. It may be detonated with an electric or nonelectric mili¬tary blasting cap or detonating cord.

Comments: This material was tested. It is effective.

References: FM 5-25, Explosives and Demolitions, page 7. TM 9-1910, Military Explosives, page 204.

AMATOL 14-8

Description: Amatol is a high explosive, white to buff in color. It is a mixture of ammonium nitrate and TNT, with a relative effectiveness slightly higher than that of TNT alone. Common compositions vary from 80% ammonium nitrate and 20% TNT to 40 % ammonium nitrate and 60% TNT. Amatol is used as the main bursting charge in artillery shell and bombs. Amatol absorbs moisture and can form dangerous compounds with copper and brass. Therefore it should not be housed in containers of such metals.

Comments: This material was tested. It is effective. References: FM 5-25, Explosives and Demolitions, page 7. TM 9-1910, Military Explosives, page 182.

PETN 14-9

Description: PETN (pentaerythrite tetranitrate), the high explosive used in detonating cord, is one of the most powerful of military ex¬plosives, almost equal in force to nitroglycerine and RDX. When used in detonating cord, it has a detonation velocity of 21,000 feet per second and is relatively insensitive to friction and shock from handling and transportation.

Comments: This material was tested. It is effective.

References: FM 5-25, Explosives and Demolitions, page 7. TM 9-1910, Military Explosives, page 135. TM 31-201-1, Unconventional Warfare Devices and Tech¬niques, para 1508.

BLASTING GELATIN 14-10

Description: Blasting gelatin is a translucent material of an elastic, jellylike texture and is manufactured in a number of different colors. It is considered to be the most powerful industrial explosive. Its char¬acteristics are similar to those of gelatin dynamite except that blasting gelatin is more water resistant. Comments: This material was tested. It is effective. Reference: TM 9-1910, Military Explosives, page 204.

COMPOSITION B 14-11

Description: Composition B is a high-explosive mixture with a relative effectiveness higher than that of TNT. It is also more sensitive than TNT. It is composed of RDX (59%), TNT (40%), and wax (1%). Because of its shattering power and high rate of detonation, Composition B is used as the main charge in certain models of bangalore torpedoes and shaped charges.

Comments: This material was tested. It is effective. References: FM 5-25, Explosives and Demolitions, page 7.

TM 9-1900, Ammunition, General, page 57. TM 9-1910, Military Explosives, page 193.

COMPOSITION C4 14-12

Description: Composition C4 is a white plastic high explosive more powerful than TNT. It consists of 91% RDX and 9% plastic binder. It remains plastic over a wide range of temperatures (—70° F. to 170° F.), and is about as sensitive as TNT. It is eroded less than other plastic explosives when immersed under water for long periods. Be¬cause of its high detonation velocity and its plasticity, C4 is well suited for cutting steel and timber and for breaching concrete.

Comments: This material was tested. It is effective.

Reference: TM 9-1910, Military Explosives, page 204.

AMMONIUM NITRATE 14-13

Description: Ammonium nitrate is a white crystalline substance that is extremely water absorbent and is therefore usually packed in a sealed metal container. It has a low velocity of detonation (3600 fps) and is used primarily as an additive in other explosive compounds. When it is used alone, it must be initiated by a powerful booster or primer. It is only 55% as powerful as TNT, hence larger quantities are required to produce similar results. Comments: This material was tested. It is effective.

Caution: Never use copper or brass containers because ammonium nitrate reacts with these metals.

References: TM 9-1900, Ammunition, General, page 264.

TM 9-1910, Military Explosives, page 119.

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