Naked Science Forum

Non Life Sciences => Chemistry => Topic started by: thedoc on 27/05/2010 11:38:39

Title: How do you make an explosive insensitive?
Post by: thedoc on 27/05/2010 11:38:39
Meera Senthilingam explores how munitions are designed and tested to ensure they only detonate when they're supposed to!
Read a transcript of the interview by clicking here (
or [chapter podcast=2407 track=10.01.24/Naked_Scientists_Show_10.01.24_5463.mp3]( Listen to it now[/chapter] or [download as MP3] (
Title: How do you make an explosive insensitive?
Post by: CliffordK on 29/11/2010 13:58:45
What we need is more research on how to build better bombs.
Although, I guess there are many uses for explosives other than bombs.

The best way to make an "insensitive" explosive would be to make one that either requires an exceptionally high activation energy, or one that requires the mixing of two parts. 

I was reading about Thermite recently.
Perhaps not a true "explosive", although it could certainly be used as part of an explosive fuse.
It is made of two relatively inert materials, plain iron oxide (rust) and aluminum.  Transported separately, they should be relatively safe.  Combined and heated, they can burn very very hot.

Black Powder is also just a mixture, although apparently the ingredients are typically mixed wet and allowed to dry.

Even still, one generally needs some kind of primer to set off gunpowder.