Saturday, October 30, 2004

Explosives As WMD Components

It has been interesting to see how the technical issues of explosives have been mangled in recent days. The key point in the discussion of explosives is the speed of propagation. TNT has a speed of about 7 kilometers/sec. RDX has a speed of about 100 KM/sec. It is that higher speed which leads directly to higher blast pressures. The reason RDX is considered a component of WMD is that it can create enough pressure to implode the “pit” of a nuclear device enough to initiate a fusion reaction. Slow explosives are good for blunt tasks like earthmoving. Fast explosives are useful for cutting, as demonstrated by the explosive demolition of old buildings. You cut the steel girders in the building and let gravity do the rest.


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