Which is stronger, a secondary or primary explosive?

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Offline taregg

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same question
« Last Edit: 16/01/2012 19:15:19 by chris »


Offline Geezer

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Are you developing explosives?
There ain'ta no sanity clause, and there ain'ta no centrifugal force Šther.


Offline CliffordK

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All the explosive info is available in mainstream WWW locations with a little hunting.

Wikipedia has a good description of Primary and Secondary Explosives (Lots of information in US Government websites and non-classified materials.


The distinction seems to be based on ease of ignition. 

This page lists relative effectiveness factor (RE factor).

Primary and secondary explosives seem to be similar in strength, but with a big difference in stability.

Nitroglycerin is listed as a primary explosive, but is also often used as a component in dynamite.  It has a greater RE factor than TNT, but less than RDX.

Tetryl is also a primary explosive, slightly more powerful than TNT, but less than RDX. 

ANFO, as a tertiary explosive is cheap and stable, but less powerful than most of the primary and secondary explosives.

Under Tertiary Explosives, Wikipedia writes:
Tertiary explosives, also called blasting agents, are so insensitive to shock that they cannot be reliably detonated by practical quantities of primary explosive, and instead require an intermediate explosive booster of secondary explosive.

So, strong, or not, you just don't want to use too much primary explosive.


Offline explosci

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Re: Which is stronger, a secondary or primary explosive?
« Reply #3 on: 01/04/2012 00:47:36 »
I design new explosives for my PhD work

Secondary explosives are, for the most part, more powerful, when explosive power is measured in terms of detonation velocity and detonation pressure.

Primary explosives are the odd one out.  traditional ones like lead azide, mercury fulminate, or lead picrate have low detonation velocities, often below 4000 m/s.  However metal-free primary explosives like cyanuric triazide or azobis(tetrazole) ( newbielink:http://www.explosci.com/azotetrazole/ ) [nonactive] possess both the very high sensitivity of primary explosives, and in the case of the latter, a higher detonation velocity and detonation pressure than RDX, a common secondary explosives.