From The Chemistry of Explosives, Second Edition


The heat of explosion Q can be increased by adding to the explosive composition another fuel which has a high heat of combustion ? H c. Such fuels can be found with the lighter elements of the periodic table as shown in Table 5.17.

Table 5.17: Heats of combustion of some light elements


Relative atomic mass

? H c /kJ mol ?1

? H c /kJ g ?1





























Beryllium has the highest heat of combustion of the solid elements, followed by boron and aluminium. Aluminium is a relatively cheap and useful element, and is used to increase the performance of explosive compositions, such as aluminized ammonium nitrate and aluminized TNT. Aluminium is also used in some commercial blasting explosives, particularly in water-based slurry explosives, which contain a high percentage of ammonium nitrate.

Addition of Aluminium

The oxidation of aluminium is highly exothermic producing ?1590 kJ, as shown in Reaction 5.13.

In an explosive composition the aluminium reacts with the gaseous products particularly in oxygen-deficient compositions where no free oxygen exists as shown in Reaction 5.14.

The volume of gas does not change in the first two reactions, i.e. 3 moles ? 3 moles. Consequently, the increase...

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Topics of Interest

FORCE AND PRESSURE OF EXPLOSION This chapter has so far described the total chemical energy released when a chemical explosion takes place. This energy is released in the form of kinetic energy and...

Introduction A chemical explosive may be defined as a compound or mixture of compounds that reacts very rapidly to produce relatively large amounts of gas and heat. The rate of detonation is very...

NITRATION Nitration plays an important role in the preparation of explosives. For example, the most commonly used military and commercial explosive compounds such as TNT, RDX, nitroglycerine, PETN,...

EXPLOSIVE POWER AND POWER INDEX In an explosive reaction, heat and gases are liberated. The volume of gas V and the heat of explosion Q can both be calculated independently but these values can be...

OXYGEN BALANCE By considering the structural formula of TNT (5.1) and of nitroglycerine (5.2) the proportion of oxygen in each molecule can be calculated and compared with the amount of oxygen...