Most Explosive?

Discussion in 'Energy & Fuel' started by Hal Pollner, May 16, 2020.

  1. Hal Pollner

    Hal Pollner Very Well-Known Member
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    Other than energy released by Nuclear Fission or Fusion, which of the following explosives is the more energetic?

    Black Powder
    TNT
    Dynamite
    Fulminate of Mercury
    RDX
    Nitroglycerine

    (Frank will probably want to get into this!)
    Hal
     
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    Last edited: May 16, 2020
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  2. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Veteran Member
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    @Hal Pollner

    Black powder is, strictly speaking, not an explosive, as it will not detonate, no matter the pressure of combustion reached.

    TNT (Trinitrotoluene) is a high-explosive having unique properties: it can be melted and poured into shell-casings, thereby eliminating the possibility of "set-back" causing inertial detonation too early (like while still in the cannon barrel!). Of all those listed, it is the most difficult tom produce.

    Fulminate of Mercury was the standard explosive used for nearly 100 years as a "primer" for small-arms ammunition; it explodes readily by percussion. However, it is toxic (mercury) and corrosive (rusts out gun barrels if now cleaned immediately). Easily produced, though components are expensive.

    RDX is the common designation for Cyclotrimethylene-trinitramine, AKA Cyclonite, Hexogen, and T4. Formulated from inexpensive component materials, basis being an ages-old urinary tract medication known as Hexamethylinetetramine, or Urotropine. It acidifies the urine, killing bacteria; such use is now obsolete. It may be made from Formaldehyde and Ammonia. RDX is produced by nitrating it. RDX is a valuable high-explosive stockpiled in the armaments of most nations. Explosive power approximately = to TNT, and Nitroglycerine.

    Dynamite is listed separately, as it is actually Nitroglycerine (liquid) admixed with an absorbent material which may contain oxidizer or simply combustible material like sawdust. Thus, Dynamite of varying strength may be made by inclusion of more or less liquid per stick. Dynamite sticks are made of heavy waxed paper rolled into cylinders of approximately 1-inch diameter and 9-inch length, which are further dipped in wax after filling. Common Dynamite is available in 40% and 60% strengths, the nomenclature referring to the percentage by weight of Nitroglycerine contained. Nitroglycerine is shock-sensitive and may be detonated by the blow of a hammer on a solid surface. John Wayne exploded glass bottles of it in a movie by throwing them at his adversaries; this will usually not work. A pistol bullet will not detonate dynamite, whereas a rifle bullet of 2000+ feet per second velocity generally will.

    Detonation velocity of high explosives is a mind-boggling concept: Dynamite sticks laid end to end in a line 4 miles long, when the first in the line is detonated, the detonation will progress to the far end, 4 miles away, in ONE SECOND!

    Frank
     
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  3. Hal Pollner

    Hal Pollner Very Well-Known Member
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    I knew Frank could set us all straight on this!

    Even I learned something! (4 miles per second...that's 14,400 MPH!)
    Hal
     
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  4. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Veteran Member
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    @Hal Pollner

    [​IMG]

    A couple of fuse-type #8 blasting caps. Thin-walled aluminum tube, one end closed, a tiny amount of explosive material (2 grams) compressed in the bottom. Fuse is inserted into open end, tube crimped to keep it from falling out. Fired alone, they sound like a .22 cal. rifle round.



    The aluminum shrapnel from the tiny tube is propelled away at about 20,000 feet per second (M-16 bullets travel at about 2000-3000!). Thus, a cap exploding while held in the fingers drives tiny bits of metal into and through the hand, resulting in necessary amputation often.
     
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    Last edited: May 19, 2020
  5. Faye Fox

    Faye Fox Very Well-Known Member
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    @Frank Sanoica Quote: Detonation velocity of high explosives is a mind-boggling concept: Dynamite sticks laid end to end in a line 4 miles long, when the first in the line is detonated, the detonation will progress to the far end, 4 miles away, in ONE SECOND!

    That is theoretically correct, but side to side would be a better scenario. The force of a dynamite blast is spherical and around the length of a stick. The end power is much less. That side spherical blast always takes the path of least resistance. For example if 10 dynamite sticks are laid out end to end in a rock trench open at the top, the majority of the blast will go up, breaking little rock. It would be unusual for all 10 sticks to blow if end to end unless packed in a tube. If we pack the top with heavy mud, then the force will have more power to the sides and break some rock, but still, the majority of the force is up and send mud flying high. If we drill a hole slightly bigger than the dynamite stick in solid rock to accommodate those 10 sticks, load them end to end, then compress them with a tamp rob to insure contact, then all ten sticks will blow within microseconds of the cap exploding in the first primer stick. The primer stick is always in first. Let's say the primer and 2 sticks are inserted and a small rock gets between the last stick in and the other 7 sticks. Chances are the last 7 sticks will never blow. When I first studied explosives, we had all kinds of demos showing the power and force pattern of dynamite. It is amazing how much power it takes to detonate a FRESH stick as you stated with the pistol VS rife velocity. Now take a stick very old and covered with nitro crystals and I wouldn't advise shooting it with a slingshot. Dynamite even heavy crystalized doesn't explode in a fire, in fact that is how it is disposed of. It does make a hot fire.
     
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  6. Lon Tanner

    Lon Tanner Veteran Member
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    Does anyone really give a Rat's Ass which one is more energenic? Alka Seltzer!
     
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  7. Hal Pollner

    Hal Pollner Very Well-Known Member
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    Do not belittle the interests of others, Lon...it's bad form for a Forumite, especially one of mature years such as yourself.

    Observe the learned dissertation of lovely, intelligent Faye Fox...there's someone who knows the importance of explosive physics!

    Harold
     
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  8. Lon Tanner

    Lon Tanner Veteran Member
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    You are right and I apologise. The post just struck me wrong.
     
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  9. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Veteran Member
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    @Faye Fox

    "Chances are the last 7 sticks will never blow."

    That may or may not be true, given the number of circumstantial parameters. I saw demonstrations in which individual sticks were detonated by a single one spaced several feet apart.

    Frank
     
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  10. Faye Fox

    Faye Fox Very Well-Known Member
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    @Frank Sanoica It all depends on the orientation of the sticks. @Hal Pollner Which will displace the most water if dropped in a pond and detonated ... 3 sticks end to end pushed tightly and taped together for solid contact or 3 sticks taped together side by side in a triangle?
     
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    Last edited: May 24, 2020
  11. Faye Fox

    Faye Fox Very Well-Known Member
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    First to answer your original question @Hal Pollner dynamite (nitro based) has more power per weight than TNT and RDX is more energetic than TNT. By dynamite I am guessing you mean the nitroglycerine based sticks. Some call other sticks that are ammonia nitrate-based (ANFO) dynamite. Do you mean velocity by energetic? The breaking power of explosives depends on what you are trying to break. The energy in explosives consists of the shock wave and gas pressure. The useful energy produced may differ depending on the application. Here is how explosives work in a borehole slope blast. The choice of explosives depends on the rock. With softer rock a slower velocity may be a better choice. With harder rock a higher velocity is in order. For rock such as solid granite, my personal choice was 60% nitro sticks boasting a velocity of 23,000 feet a second where an ammonia nitrate might have a velocity of 10,500 fps. Now, if clay seams are present throughout the rock, then a slower velocity would be chosen because the clay might absorb more of the shock wave energy from a high-velocity blast, and the gas pressures follow the path of least resistance (the clay seam).

    fig-2.jpg
    f1.jpg
     
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  12. Hal Pollner

    Hal Pollner Very Well-Known Member
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    Whichever configuration allows the sticks to be detonated simultaneously.

    Hal
     
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    Last edited: May 24, 2020
  13. Faye Fox

    Faye Fox Very Well-Known Member
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    Assuming in both presentations that all 3 sticks are detonated instantly, which will displace the most water?
     
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  14. Hal Pollner

    Hal Pollner Very Well-Known Member
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    I'd say the triangular arrangement will displace the most volume of water.

    If I'm wrong, I'll feel embarrassed.....:(

    hal
     
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  15. Faye Fox

    Faye Fox Very Well-Known Member
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    I would agree because assuming the side force is equal in both, the end power of the 3 in series is the same as 1 stick, but in parallel the end power is 3 times greater. Also since the 3 in series produce an elongated pattern this might not displace as much water as the parallel pattern, but I am not studied enough to say this is a fact.
     
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