Sorry, Gunner (and the op who posted that). You can't possibly know the
physical arrangement. We've probably thought of a hundred ways you've
never imagined. There are NOT 'plenty of ways to do it', or we'd have
already done it one of those easier ways.
We're having trouble slitting bronze because we don't have the right
tools. Were not dumb.
No harm done, Gunner.
Sometimes I get cranky at folks presuming they know how a machine is
built without seeing it or knowing the constraints under which we're
required to work when building stuff for explosives manufacturers. <G>
"I think I'll light my high-explosive plastique on fire." is not a
sane concept, sir. Even a super-small test piece would have blown his
hands clean off if he guessed wrong about it not exploding. <shrug>
I mean, you wouldn't just shave a slice off your stick of dynamite to
start a fire, would you? And it's less explosive.
Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight
very clean. It's perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands.
Horse crap and bull dingles, Larry.
C-4 is mostly RDX, waxes, oils, and dioctyl adapate. RDX, like HMX, burns
quietly unless shocked by an initiator. C-4 burns like a fast version of
sterno, with a perfectly quiet blue flame (tiniest bit of sizzle), no
soot, and no explosions.
To my knowlege, the US military does not employ any HE materials that
will DDT under open-air burning of small quantities. Bets are off if you
light a 100lb pile of the stuff.
And yes, even dynamite can burn, if it's actually dynamite and not one of
the AN 'dynamite-like' stuffs, and it has a high-enough nitro content.
The lower 15% stuff won't burn for shit (or explode when you try to
ignite it). Diatomacious earth/clay/compacted sawdust has a tendency not
to burn very vigorously.
Of course, you wouldn't know this, but even nitroglycerine (IF very pure
and free of any acids or undesirable organic ligands from nitration)
burns like vigorous alcohol. In this case, it would be tempting fate to
arrange a puddle of it, and ignite it by hand.
An urban legend I have not confirmed (but is probably true) has the
chemist who first compounded TNT casting an ashtray of the stuff, just to
demonstrate how insensitive it was.
I've cooked many a C-rat and LRPs on C-4. I still have all my digits.
\It was a common way to heat coffee or rations during the Vietnam era,
at least among the Marines. 'Don't know about the army.
My cousin, a Marine sniper, told me much the same story as the one
Lloyd related above. Like you, I expressed concern that he was
carrying a kilo of it in his pack when he went out on sniper missions.
Then he explained that it really was for heating coffee. <g>
15% won't. The low-percentage heaving grades have so much inert filler
as to render them impervious to anything but a cap -- except for those
that are 'filled' with nitrocellulose for gas production. Those burn
like a candle.
Larry, "shock" IS what detonates it. But not the sort of shock it would
get from dropping, or even pounding a stick (not on a steel plate) with a
Detonators' and blasting caps' primary purpose is to supply a shock of
such a magnitude and rise time that it initiates explosive decomposition
of the compound your using for blasting.
Some materials (most 'hand-carry' HEs) are totally insensitive to
mishandling, and only capable of being detonated with a cap or
detonator/booster, or with fire in a LARGE mass.
The old saw about "sweating" dynamite is true. If you see a stick of old
stuff with glistening yellow droplets on the outside, then avoid it. The
NG has migrated through the paper to the surface; and NOW it's sensitive
to handling shock!
That happens rarely today. Most "dynamites" aren't even Dynamite, any
more (which is nitroglycerine dispersed in inert fillers and gas-
producing compounds). Most modern _so_called_ "dynamites" are ammonium
nitrate/metal/oil/water emulsions that don't initiate at all - ever -
without a strong cap or a booster.
"Lloyd E. Sponenburgh" <lloydspinsidemindspring.com> fired this volley in
I should add this:
Blasting caps are made with "primary explosives". These chemicals DO
detonate instantly upon being set on fire. They require no shock -- so a
fuse or an electrical resistance wire heater is enough. (yes, they're
also sensitive to mechanical shock).
It's the detonation of the cap which sets off the detonation of the
larger mass of high explosive, like C-4.
Caps use things similar to what's in percussion caps for firearms (but
there are several compounds that work better for blasting, and would be
injurious to the bores of guns, because of corrosion issues).
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