Initiator for Dust Explosions

An initiator which will initiate common material to produce dust explosions can be rapidly and easily constructed. This type of charge is ideal for the destruction of enclosed areas such as rooms or buildings.


  • A flat can, 3 in. (8 cm) diameter and 1-1/2 in. (3-3/4 cm) high. A 6-1/2 ounce Tuna can serves the purpose quite well.
  • Blasting cap
  • Explosive
  • Aluminum (may be wire, cut sheet, flattened can or powder
  • Large nail, 4 in. (10 cm) long
  • Wooden rod - 1/4 in. (6 mm) diameter
  • Flour, gasoline and powder or chipped aluminum

NOTE: Plastic explosives (Comp. C-4, etc.) produce better explosions than cast explosives (Comp. B, etc.).


1. Using the nail, press a hole through the side of the Tuna can 3/8 to 1/2 inch (1 to 1-1/2 cm) from the bottom. Using a rotating and lever action, enlarge the hole until it will accommodate the blasting cap.

2. Place the wooden rod in the hole and position the end of the rod at the center of the can.

3. Press explosive into the can, being sure to surround the rod, until it is 3/4 inch (2 cm) from top of the can. Carefully remove the wooden rod.

4. Place the aluminum metal on top of the explosive.

5. Just before use, insert the blasting cap into the cavity made by the rod. The initiator is now ready for use.

NOTE: If it is desired to carry the initiator some distance, card¬board may be pressed on top of the aluminum to insure against loss of material.


This particular unit works quite well to initiate charges of five pounds of flour, 1/2 gallon (1-2/3 liters) of gasoline or two pounds of flake painters aluminum. The solid materials may merely be contained in sacks or cardboard cartons. The gasoline may be placed in plastic- coated paper milk cartons, plastic or glass bottles. The charges are placed directly on top of the initiator and the blasting cap is actuated electrically or by fuse depending on the type of cap employed. This will destroy a 2,000 cubic feet enclosure (building 10 x 20 x 10 feet).

NOTE: For larger enclosures, use proportionately larger initiators and charges.

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