To bring down a building, you need something that will cause it to explode or implode. The same applies to any structure. This is true whether it is a rock wall in a mine or railway trestle. In movies, television and in real life, explosives are the way to accomplish the takedown of various barriers to progress, the money in a vault or other economically valuable products. Yet, what exactly is an explosive? More particularly, what is a chemical explosive?
What Is a Chemical Explosive?
We tend to think of an explosion as any material or device that goes boom and creates a loud noise, blasting away the obstacle in its path. However, a chemical explosive is
* A mixture of substances
* Requires heat or shock
* Uses the heat or shock to produce a large volume of gas
* The gas expands swiftly
The result of this chemical reaction by the material is an explosion. The damage results when the energy from the explosive device or item is transferred from it to the target.
A chemical explosion occurs quickly. The release of the energy contained is both rapid and violent. The process involves simple chemical reactions. They are also limited. A major ingredient to success hinges on one element – oxygen. To produce chemical explosions requires oxidation.
Some professionals categorize explosives according to their use. According to this method, explosives fall into the following classes or groups:
* Primary or Initiating – The characteristics of this type of explosive material include the following: high energy, fairly sensitive, unstable e.g. mercury fulminate
* Secondary – This type of explosive is characterized by the following: medium high-energy, high speed of detonation but not sensitive, relatively stable, high density, requires initial blast before exploding e.g. TNT
* Blasting Agents – Companies must use this type of chemical explosive in copious amounts to move large mounds or amounts of material e.g. oxyliquits, ammonia nitrate-based substances
In addition, companies can also arrange for the preparation of special types of explosive materials. Pyrotechnics, for example, can turn to custom-made chemically prepared explosive mixtures.
Mining concerns, construction companies and other business entities and individuals can employ different chemical explosives to accomplish everything from the blasting away of a building or to create a hole in a wall. Among the more common types of explosive material in use today are the following:
* Ammonium nitrate
These are not the only types of explosive material available. Technology continues to provide consumers with a variety of options, many based on traditional chemical explosives, but others venturing into previously uncharted chemical waters.