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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 11:15 am 
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What are liquid explosives?

The best place to start is with the term "high explosive"; these can be either solid or liquid. Of course, the most famous ones are solid, such as Dynamite and TNT.

One liquid explosive is a general use explosive that is used in quarries.

However, I would not be surprised if it is possible to produce solid explosives in liquid form.

How do they work?

Usually when something burns, it is subsonic and there is very little pressure effect.

With high explosives, the rate of burning is extremely rapid and exceeds the speed of sound. As a result of that there is something called "overpressure" - pressure greater than the surrounding atmospheric pressure.

Massive overpressure is not needed to cause damage. An excess of 1% can break windows, and an overpressure of 10% can harm or kill people and cause structural damage to buildings.

How are they made?

There are such things as liquid explosives that are high explosives and they behave in exactly the same way as solid explosives, such as TNT.

But there are also explosives that are made by mixing a solid and a liquid - one being the oxidant and the other being the fuel. Unlike most high explosives, they do not contain the fuel and oxidant in the same molecule but they do contain them in sufficiently close contact to cause a blast.

Are the components difficult to get hold of?

No, it is very easy. Ordinary household substances could be used.

Are specialist knowledge or equipment needed to make them?

If someone wanted to obtain a solid high explosive in a liquid form, it would not be difficult for a trained chemical technologist.

But if someone was using a backyard laboratory it is more likely they would go for the two component approach.

Not a lot of experience is needed, the principles are quite simple but it would be a hazardous process of trial and error.

I would not want to be messing about these things. It has been known for schoolboys to go home and attempt this and blow their house up.

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