Explosives & Ammunition: What is ....?

TRINITROTOLUENE (TNT)

This type of high explosive is one of the principal constituents of many explosives . It is one of the most stable explosives and can be stored over long periods of time (when properly purified) . It is relatively insensitive to blows or friction, dissolves readily in Ether, Acetone, Alcohol and various other solvents, it is however practically insoluble in water . When ignited by flame in the open, TNT burns rapidly w/o explosion . It has powerful brisant properties and is readily detonated by Mercury Fulminate, Tetryl and other similar high explosives . It resembles light brown sugar, and when pure it is crystalline and has a very pale straw color . Ammunition loaded with TNT can be stored, handled, and shipped with comparative safety . It will be used for bursting, demolition, blasting, and general detonation . Its velocity of detonation is 21,000 feet per second .


AMATOL

This explosive is a mechanical mixture of Ammonium Nitrate and TNT . It is crystalline and yellow or brownish, moisture-absorbing, insensitive to friction, but may be detonated by severe impact . It is readily detonated by Mercury Fulminate and other high explosives . Amatol 50/50 has approximately the same rate of detonation and brisance as TNT . Amatol 80/20 (used in Bangalore Torpedoes), produces white smoke on detonation, while Amatol 50/50 produces a smoke, less black than straight TNT . Amatol is used as a substitute for TNT and is to be mainly found in large caliber shells .


TETRYL

While it is commonly known as Tetryl it is in fact Trinitrophenylmethylnitramine (derivative of Benzene) . This is a standard booster explosive . It is a yellow crystalline solid powder material, practically insoluble in water but soluble in Acetone, Benzene and other solvents . It burns readily and is more easily detonated than TNT or Ammonium Picrate (Explosive D), being about as sensitive as Picric Acid . It is detonated by friction, shock, or spark . It remains stable at all temperatures which may be encountered in storage . It is generally used in the form of pressed pellets, and has been approved as the standard bursting charge for small-caliber projectiles, since it gives much better fragmentation than TNT . It also has greater shattering ability than any other military high explosive, and must be properly protected from bullet fire . Its rate of detonation is 23,600-23,900 feet per second . Tetryl is the basis for the service Tetryl blasting caps necessary for positive detonation of TNT . A mixture of Fulminate of Mercury and Potassium Chlorate is included in the cap to insure detonation of Tetryl .

Remark : 70% Tetryl 30% TNT = Tetrytol


E.C. POWDER

E.C. smokeless or E.C. blank fire powder is used as a bursting charge in fragmentation handgrenades . It consists of granulated Nitrocellulose powder with inorganic Nitrates, is usually orange or pink and resembles coarse sand, though it remains soft and light. It is sensitive to friction, shock, or heat and readily absorbs moisture . It is usually exploded by flame from a primer or a fuze, i.e. by ignition rather than detonation . It further burns extremely rapidly in the open, but explodes if confined . Grenades loaded with this material can be issued fuzed, ready for use, and they are, in general, not susceptible to mass detonation .

Remark : E.C. means Explosive Company .


PENTAERYTHRITETETRANITRATE (PETN)

This is one of the most powerful military explosives, almost equal to Nitroglycerine . PETN is very much used in Detonating Cord of which it is the explosive core (Primacord), where it develops a velocity rate of 21,000 feet per second . Detonating cord is insensitive to friction and ordinary shock, but may be exploded by rifle fire . It also detonates sympathetically with the detonation of an adjacent high explosive.