Explosive Properties of Primary Explosives

  • Robert Matyáš
  • Jiří Pachman


The main requirements for primary explosives are sensitivity within useful limits, high initiating efficiency, reasonable fluidity, resistance to dead-pressing, and long-term stability. Useful limits mean that the substance must be sensitive enough to be initiated by an SII but not too sensitive as to be unsafe for handling or transportation. The initiating efficiency, perhaps the most important parameter, determines the ability of a primary explosive to initiate secondary explosives. The reasonable free flowing properties are important for manufacturing where the primary explosives are often loaded volumetrically. Primary explosives must not undergo desensitization when pressed thereby yielding a dead-pressed product. The long-term stability and compatibility with other components, even at elevated temperatures, are essential because primary explosives are often embedded inside more complex ammunition and are not expected to be replaced during their service life. They must also be insensitive to moisture and atmospheric carbon dioxide. Parameters important for secondary explosives such as brisance, strength, detonation velocity, or pressure are of lesser importance to primary explosives although they are of course related to the above properties.


Detonation Velocity Energetic Material Impact Sensitivity Emulsion Explosive Initiation Efficiency 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Matyáš
    • 1
  • Jiří Pachman
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Chemical TechnologyUniversity of PardubicePardubiceCzech Republic

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