Explosives And Demolitions

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If you are interested in a career dealing with explosives there are many jobs out there for you with great pay. There is a significant amount of study material here for the serious student persuing a career as a pyro technician, EOD technician, bomb-squad technician to name a few.

Explosives are not something to be fooled around with lightly. If you make a mistake, you can injure or kill yourself.

You should research all applicable Federal, State, and Local laws and you should have a good understanding of the basic principles and practices of chemistry before getting into this profession.

Specific Explosives

Plastic Explosives

C-4, PENO, Primasheet, RDX, and Semtex


An RDX-based plastic explosive


A plastic explosive based on both RDX and PETN


A plastic explosive and ingredient in other plastic explosives


A very unstable high explosive


A nitroglycerine based high explosive

Explosives Industry Associations

The Institute of Makers of Explosives

The safety association of the commercial explosives industry in the United States and Canada

International Society of Explosives Engineers

The International Society of Explosives Engineers (ISEE) was formed in 1974 as a professional society dedicated to promoting the safe and controlled use of explosives in mining, quarrying, construction, manufacturing, demolition, aerospace, forestry, avalanche control, art, automotives, special effects, exploration, seismology, agriculture, law enforcement, and many other peaceful uses of explosives.

The International Association of Bomb Technicians and Investigators

The International Association of Bomb Technicians and Investigators (IABTI) is an independent, non-profit professional association formed for countering the criminal use of explosives. This is sought through the exchange of training, expertise and information among personnel employed in the fields of law enforcement, fire and emergency services, the military, forensic science and other related fields.

Western Pyrotechnic Association

Explosives Research Groups

US Army Engineering and Support Center: Ordnance and Explosives Mandatory Center of Expertise (MCX) and Design Center

To safely eliminate or reduce risks from ordnance, explosives and recovered chemical warfare materiel at current or formerly used defense sites

Lawrence Livermore Experimental Test Site

We conduct explosives and nondestructive testing to assure that the nation's stockpile weapons are safe and reliable. Our remote location and world-class diagnostic facilities and staff make it the ideal setting to assess the integrated performance of a weapons internal components.

Explosion Group of Tu Delft

Research effort is focused on measuring and modelling dust and gas explosions under ambient and non-ambient conditions

Explosives Laws and Regulations

BATF Explosives Study Group

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms

P5400.7 - Explosives Law and Regulations

BATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms) - Explosives Law and Regulations

P5400.8 - List of Explosive Materials

BATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms) - Commerce in Explosives List of Explosive Materials

Federal Explosives Law and Regulations - 2000

ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms) P 5400.7 (09/00) - The BATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms) Orange Book

18 U.S.C.: Chapter 40

Importation, Manufacture, Distribution and Storage of Explosive Materials

CFR 27: Chapter 1: Part 55

Commerce in Explosives

BATF Questions Answers

BATF Questions Answers on 18 U.S.S Chapter 40 and 27 CFR Part 55

Public Law 91-452

Federal Explosives Law: Organized Crime Control Act of 1970, Title XI: Regulation of Explosives

OSHA Regulation 1910.109

Explosives and blasting agents

OSHA Regulation 1910.119

Process safety management of highly hazardous chemicals

OSHA Regulation 1926.900

Blasting and the Use of Explosives

1997 Report on the Availability of Bombmaking Information

Propaganda from the Department of Justice

Explosive License and Permit Types

Definition of Types of License and Permits and Classes of Explosives

ATF F 5400.13

BATF Application for License of Permit under 18 U.S.C. Chapter 40: Explosives

Title 49: Subtitle B: Subchapter C: Part 173: Subpart C

Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) governing the transport of explosives

Federal Explosives Laws for Rocketeers

An overview of Federal laws that currently affect model and high-power rocketeers.

Guidelines for Applying for a Low Explosives User Permit

A tutorial to guide you in filling out the new AFT Form 5400.13/5400.16 for a Low Explosive User Permit (aka, LEUP). This tutorial assumes that you do not personally have an approved storage magazine, but instead will be using the magazine of another Permit holder that does have a storage magazine. In addition this tutorial will cover filling out the new Employee Possessor Questionnaire (EPQ) ATF Form 5400.28) This form is required for all Explosive Permit Applications as of March 15, 2003 for new and renewal applications.

Explosives Detection and Identification

BATF Letter and Package Bomb Detection Techniques (P3320.5)

Survey of Commercially Available Explosives Detection Technologies and Equipment

From Sandia Labs

Checking in wth New Bomb Detection Strategies

Mike Ellenbogen in Security Management Magazine

Evaluation of a Test Protocol for Explosives Trace Detectors Using a Representative Commercial Analyzer

The Test Protocol in its final form was found to be suitable for use by nonspecialists in trace contraband detection and provides a uniform standard test procedure for the evaluation and comparison of trace detectors. In this report, details from the application of this Test Protocol are described and discussed. In addition, background reference material relevant to ion mobility spectrometry (IMS) is provided.

Guide for the Selection of Commercial Explosives Detection Systems for Law Enforcement Applications

This document includes a variety of information that is intended to be useful to the law enforcement community in the selection of explosives detection techniques and equipment for different applications. It includes a thorough market survey of all trace and x-ray based commercial detection systems known to the authors as of October 1998, including company contact information along with data on each systems cost, size, and uses. Information is also included on some additional novel detection technologies, and on such standard techniques as canine and physical search. Brief technical discussions are presented that consider the principles of operation of the various technologies.

Use of Gamma Resonance Imaging for Detection of Explosives

To implement a novel and efficient approach for detection and localization of explosives in small packages, luggage and large cargo containers. The method takes advantage of Gamma Nuclear Resonance Absorption (GNRA). This is an element specific interaction of highly penetrating gamma radiation with matter. The method is also applicable for detection of radiation dispersive devices and nuclear bombs, both of which contain explosives for their operation. Majority of explosives are distinguished from other common materials by higher nitrogen and total densities. Thus simultaneous determination of these two will identify explosives uniquely.

Combined sensor for detection of explosives based on timed neutron source and continuous microwaves

A portable version of a combined sensor for detection of explosive substances is described. The sensor is based on continuous electromagnetic UHF waves and timed neutron source. Combination of both methods allows one to quickly localize hidden object within large area and to identify it. It is expected that the sensor would be capable of detecting modern explosive substances weighting 100 grams with little or no metal content up to depths 20 cm.

Explosives Detection Boarding Pass Analyzer

A simple boarding pass could safeguard air travelers if an explosives detection system being developed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Mass Spec Analytical is adopted. With the mass spectrometry-based instrument, a passenger's ticket would become a passive sampling device that detects even a billionth of a gram of explosives such as nitroglycerine and TNT. The instrument works by sampling air that passes over a ticket as the paper is fed through a scanner and then identifying the chemical composition of the substances in the air. The procedure takes just a few seconds and would allow all passengers to be sampled with no increase in manpower.

Developing an Automated Explosives Detection Prototype Based on the AS&E 101ZZ System

Thesis describing the development of a multi-sensor, multi-energy x-ray prototype for automated explosives detection.

Taggants in Explosives

Tagging of explosives can refer to two types of marking technologies. Detection taggants are used to enhance the detection of explosives before detonation. Identification taggants are intended to be used to trace explosive materials to their source after detonation. The Antiterrorism Act of 1996 requires a detection taggant, or agent, be added to plastic explosives. Without such an additive, plastic explosives can be difficult to detect, and could pose a security threat in the hands of terrorists. These detection agents can be added to plastic and sheet explosive products to make them more "visible" to existing detection equipment without compromising safety or the performance of affected materials. IME has continually supported the development of such detection technologies. However, identification taggants present a different story.

Alternatives for Landmine Detection

At the rate that government and nongovernmental organizations are clearing existing landmines, it will take 450-500 years to rid the world of them. Concerned about the slow pace of demining, the Office of Science and Technology asked RAND to assess potential innovative technologies being explored and to project what funding would be required to foster the development of the more promising ones.

Taggant Technology for Post-blast Explosives Identification

The National Mining Association is opposed to mandating identification taggants in explosives because it is unproven technology. Countries which have a long history of terrorism - Israel, Ireland, Germany, Japan, and Great Britain - have not adopted a taggant program and do not intend to do so.

The didactic values from consideration of the analysis and characterisation of nitroglycerine based explosives by Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy

Most forensic analytical studies of explosives focus on trace components, on clothing, persons and debris. Excellent methods are currently available with high sensitivity and selectivity. Examination of bulk samples, from unexploded devices and seized stores, allow less sensitive, yet selective, methods to be used for the identification and quantification of key compounds without problems from differential recoveries of trace levels of dispersed materials. It is not acceptable to examine bulk explosives in areas used for trace analysis and it is necessary to isolate staff working with bulks from those analysing traces to avoid cross contamination.

Reading Material on Explosives

Introduction to Explosives

Good introduction to common explosives from the Royal Society of Chemistry


The Internet's Largest Source for Information on Explosive-related Security Issues

BATF Bomb Threat Checklist

BATF Vehicle Bomb and Explosion Hazard Evacuation Distance Tables

Improvised Primary Explosives

Dirk Goldmann's recipes for improvised primary explosives, exotic and friction primers, and fun and touch explosives. Includes recipes for acetone peroxide, ddnp/dinol, double salts, hmtd, lead azide, lead picrate, mekap, mercury fulminate, milk booster, nitromannite, sodium azide, and tacc.

TNT: Trinitrotoluenes and Mono and Dinitrotoluenes

Book on the manufacture and properties of TNT.

Explosive Science

Raymond N. Rogers and Joan L. Rogers

Propellants, Explosives, Pyrotechnics

Bi-monthly journal with articles on propellants, explosived, pyrotechnics, ignition, combustion, and detonation

Vulture's 3D Structures of explosive molecules

3D structures of various explosive compounds

Field Expedient Methods for Explosives Preparation

Procedures to make explosives

Trinitrophenol, H.M.T.D., Lead Picrate, Ammonium Picrate , M.M.A.N., Hexamethylenetetramine Dinitrate, C.T.A.P., P.E.T.N., R.D.X., Nitrourea, Sucrose Nitrate, Sorbitol Hexanitrate, Mannitol Hexanitrate, Cellulose Nitrate, Amylose Nitrate, Tetranitronapthalene , T.M.D.D. , C.T.M.T.N.A., NG / EGDN , Aminodinitrophenol (Picramic Acid), Diazodinitrophenol (D.D.N.P.), and Silver Acetylide Nitrate (Double Salts)

Pyrotechnic Chemicals

The most common chemicals used in modern day pyrotechnics, both consumer and display.


A Practical Treatise Concerning the Properties, Manufacture, and Analysis of Nitrated Substances, including the Fulminates, Smokeless Powders, and Celluloid.

U.S. Patent 2,890,240

U.S. Patent on Aspirin Crystallisation for the preparation of Picric Acid

Practical Pyrotechnics

Good information on fireworks and pyrotechnics, including chemicals, tools, formulae, device components, and building pyrotechnic devices.

Organic Synthesis

Organic Syntheses presents to the organic chemistry community detailed experimental methods in a standard format for the synthesis of organic compounds.

The Physical and Theoretical Chemistry Laboratory Oxford University Chemical and Other Safety Information

A large directory of chemical and other safety information, including Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs).

Naval Ordnance and Gunnery: Explosives

A discussion of the characteristics, use, and handling of chemical explosives currently used in the United States Navy.

1997 Economic Census: Explosives Manufacturing

Census statistics on explosives manufacturing

How To Make Gun Cotton

An excerpt from The Household Cyclopedia of General Information

How To Make Gun Cotton

An excerpt from The Collodion Process on Glass by Frederick Scott Archer

Shock-initiation and detonation extinction in homogeneous or heterogeneous explosives: some experiments and models

Some recent modeling of critical dynamical behaviors of homogeneous or heterogenous explosives in conditions of chemical decomposition close to the detonation regime. The approaches are based on continuum and micromechanical models. The first part of the presentation is devoted to the shock-to-detonation transition (SDT) in homogeneous materials, the second one to detonation critical diameters of heterogeneous materials. Each part is preceded by a short review of experimental facts. The choice is to relate modeling and experiments by means of as simple as possible assumptions, yet mathematically and physically consistent with the underlying dynamics of the phenomena.

On predicting the effective elastic properties of polymer bonded explosives using the recursive cell method

Polymer bonded explosives are particulate composites containing elastic particles in a viscoelastic binder. The particles occupy an extremely high fraction of the volume, often greater than 90%. Under low strain rate loading (~0.00a-1 s-1) and at room temperature and higher, the elastic modulus of the particles can be four orders of magnitude higher than that of the binder. Rigorous bounds and analytical estimates for the effective elastic properties of these materials have been found to be inaccurate. The computational expense of detailed numerical simulations for the determination of effective properties of these composites has led to the search for a faster technique. In this work, one such technique based on a real-space renormalization group approach is explored as an alternative to direct numerical simulations in determining the effective elastic properties of PBX 9501. The method is named the recursive cell method (RCM). The differential effective medium approximation, the finite element method, and the generalized method of cells (GMC) are investigated with regard to their suitability as homogenizers in the RCM. Results show that the RCM overestimates the effective properties of particulate composites and PBX 9501 unless large blocks of subcells are renormalized and the particles in a representative volume element are randomly distributed. The GMC homogenizer is found to provide better estimates of effective elastic properties than the finite element based homogenizer for composites with particle volume fractions less than 0.80.

Effective elastic moduli of polymer bonded explosives from finite element simulations

Finite element analysis has been used successfully to estimate the effective properties of many types of composites. The prediction of effective elastic moduli of polymer-bonded explosives provides a new challenge. These particulate composites contain extremely high volume fractions of explosive particles (> 0.90). At room temperature and higher, the Young's modulus of the particles can be 20,000 times that of the binder. Under these conditions, rigorous bounds and analytical approximations for effective elastic properties predict values that are orders of magnitude different from the experimental values. In this work, an approach is presented that can be used to predict three-dimensional effective elastic moduli from two-dimensional finite element simulations. The approach is validated by comparison with differential effective medium estimates and three-dimensional finite element simulations. The two-dimensional finite element approach has been used to determine the properties of models of polymer bonded explosives and PBX 9501 in particular, containing high volume fractions of circular and square particles with high modulus contrasts. Results show that estimates of effective elastic properties from two-dimensional finite element calculations are close to the values predicted by the differential effective medium approach for a large range of volume fractions and modulus contrasts. Two- and three-dimensional finite element estimates for volume fractions from 0.70 to 0.90 and found not to differ considerably. Simulations of models of polymer bonded explosives and PBX 9501 show that the microstructure, the amount of discretization, and the type of element used play a considerable role in determining the value predicted by finite element simulations. The effective elastic moduli of PBX 9501 predicted by finite element calculations can vary from 200 MPa to 10,000 MPa depending on the microstructure and level of discretization used. The results also suggest that if a microstructure can be found that accurately predicts the elastic properties of PBX 9501 at a certain temperature and strain rate, then the same microstructure can be used to predict elastic properties at other temperatures and strain rates.

Study of Detonation Parameters of Polynitroadamantanes, Potential New Explosives

Molecular mass/density and oxygen content/sensitivity relationships of polynitroadamantanes and their aliphatic counterparts, important for their explosive properties, were studied. Densities, sensitivities and detonation properties of polynitroadamantanes obtained/calculated are the same as those of standard high explosives. Some of them might have better characteristics than TNT, and similar ones to pentrit and hexogen, respectively.

Granular Explosives and Initiation Sensitivity

Fundamental chemical reaction rates are temperature depend. However, the initiation process for a heterogeneous explosive is dominated by peaks in the temperature field called hot spots. Numerical simulations typically use empirical pressure dependent reaction rates. These can be viewed as a subgrid model that accounts for unresolved reaction phenomenon. The limitation of simple burn rates is most severe for the initiation of a detonation wave by a weak stimuli. The problem is particularly acute for accident scenarios that involve damaged explosives. A granular explosive captures the dominant features of damage; a heterogeneous length scale from the grain size and an additional degree of freedom from porosity. Continuum mechanical simulations on the meso-scale are used to better understand how the hot-spot distribution varies with mechanical stimuli, in particular, the strength of a compaction wave in a granular bed. A physical understanding of the formation and growth of hot spots is needed to develop improved subgrid burn models that encompass a wider domain of applicability.

Augmented Shock Wave Severance of Materials

This paper describes a new approach for severing or weakening a variety of materials. The technique employs embedding explosive cords into parallel grooves that are cut into a surface of a material. The cords are initiated simultaneously to produce shock waves that progress toward the centerline between the cords and the lower surface of the material. Intersecting incident and reflected waves augment at the centerline to fail or weaken the material in tension. No harmful debris is produced on the opposite side of the material from the explosive cords. The primary focus of the effort described in this paper was to fracture the F-16 aircraft trilaminate canopy. Also, complete severance was achieved in 2024-T4 aluminum plate stock. Possible applications are throughcanopy egress and crew module severance from military aircraft and separation of rocket vehicle stages and payloads.

Questionable Reading Materials on Explosives -- Don't Trust This Stuff

Gelatin Explosive from Anti-Freeze

This explosive is almost the same as the nitro-gelatin plastique explosive exept that it is supple and pliable to -10 to -20 deg. C.

Platic Explosive from Aspirin

This explosive is a phenol dirivative. It is toxic and explosive compounds made from picric acid are poisonous if inhaled, ingested, or handled and absorbed through the skin.

Plastic Explosive from Bleach

This explosive is a potassium chlorate explosive.

Plastic Explosives from Swimming Pool Chlorinating Compound

This explosive is a chlorate explosive from bleach. This method of production of potassium or sodium chlorate is easier and yields a more pure product than does the plastique explosive from bleach process.

How to Make Black Powder (and other explosives)

Technically, Black Powder burns by a process known as deflagration. This differs from detonation in that Black Powder produces subsonic shock waves, as opposed to the supersonic shock waves produced by explosives such as Dynamite, C-4 or TNT. This means that Black Powder is better suited as a propellant (such as in fireworks, bullets and cannons) than blasting (such as in construction or demolition).

The History of Gunpowder

A brief history of gunpowder.

How To Make Gun Cotton

Quick and untested instructions for making guncotton.

Web Sites for Explosives Research

Sam Barros' ChemLabs

Nitrocellulose, Nitro Starch, Nitromannitol, Nitroglycerine, Picric Acid, Styphnic Acid, Mercury Fulminate, Silver and Copper Fulminates, Silver and Copper Acetylide, Mercury and Silver Oxalate, Lead Picrate, Potassium Picrate, Lead Styphnate, Potassium Styphnate, Explosive Peroxides, Deflagrating chemicals, Potassium Bromate, Sodium Metal in Water, Chlorate Oxidizers, Potassium Permanganate Hypergol, Sodium Peroxide Hypergols, Ammonium Dichromate, HydroFluoric acid on glass.

Rogue Science

Home of The Explosives and Weapons Forum

Amateur Pyrotechnics and Chemistry Forum

Xinventions.com: Pyrotechnics

wantsomfet's Kangaroooo Corner

Megalomania's Controversial Chem Lab: Explosives

Detailed information on how to synthesize 89 different explosive compounds in the lab

DOE Explosives Safety Manual

The Department of Energy's (DOE's) explosives safety requirements applicable to operations involving the development, testing, handling, and processing of explosives or assemblies containing explosives.


Lindsay Greene's Pyrotechnics Website

Backyard Ballistics

The Auzzie Pyrotechnics Page

Makeshift Arsenal

Dale's House of Pyro

Pyroking's Fireworks Library

Fireworks Central

Frogfot's Page

The Green Man

Homemade M-80's


Krimzon Pyro

John DuBois' Pyrotechnics

Dan Williams, Amateur Pyrotechnician

Procedures to Make Explosives

Pyromaster Pyrotechnics


ICP's Pyrotechnics

Pyro Projects for The Amateur

Mr. Yuk Laboratories

Brainfever's Site

Black Dragon's Pyro Page

Prof.J.Vrijdag's Pyrotechniek Page

Thugsta's Explosives and Pyrotechnics

Explosives and Pyrotechnics Information Database (EPID)

Flash, Bang, BOOM!

Short Fuse Pyrotechnics

RuffRyder and Inferno's Pyrotechnics Site

Pyro Universe

Pyro Supreme

The Pyro Stuff

D3D Pyrotechnics


American Fireworks News

The Journal of Pyrotechnics

Dimrock's Pyro Page

Pyrotechnics - The Art of Fire


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Ultimate Survival Medial Libary $20

5,000 U.S. Military Technical Manuals $45

The Military History Library $16

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1,600 U.S. Military Manuals (Are in 22K pack) $17

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Interactive Video Survival & Military Libary $25

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