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Running Head: THE USE AND VARIETIES OF EXPLOSIVES IN DEMOLITION 1

The Use and Varieties of Explosives in Demolition
Devin L. Hoops
Engineering Design and Development
Mrs. Moon

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Table of Contents
ABSTRACT ............................................................................................................................. 3
INTRODUCTION ..................................................................................................................... 4
DYNAMITE ............................................................................................................................ 4
RDX………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….…..……………....5
C4…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….…………………...5
CONCLUSION……………………………………………………………………………………….…….………………………….6
APPENDIX……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..7
REFRENCES……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………8









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Abstract
Explosives have been around for hundreds of years and have been used for nearly all forms of
progress. From war to fireworks, explosives can be used in everyday living. Explosives have
evolved to the point to where many types of explosives are used in only one situation. In a
demolition that requires explosives, they will use several types of explosives for multiple types
of material in a building. Demolition workers can use C4, dynamite, and RDX as well as a few
less used explosives meant for only special situations. With the variety of explosives available to
demolition companies, these specific explosives are all used for a reason.
Keywords: Explosives, Demolition, Alfred Nobel











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Introduction
As this world progresses, so does the tools people use at their disposal in every day life.
With more tools, comes more efficient living. With this progress comes the need to remove the
outdated. Sometimes the outdated is hard to remove and calls for heavy-duty equipment. When
outdated buildings need to be destroyed, workers use bulldozers, wrecking balls, and sledge
hammers. When the buildings are too large, they resort to explosives. The variety of explosives
used depends on the building being destroyed. With different materials, certain explosives will
be best suited for the situation. Dynamite is used to destroy concrete support beams that help
hold up buildings. RDX explosives are used for steel and metal beams, and it super heats, melts,
and then blows the separated pieces away from one another. C4 is used as a last resort explosive
if the demolition workers know that their other explosives will not get the job done. These three
types of explosives that are available for demolition purposes can determine how the outdated
can be removed.
Dynamite
The creator of Dynamite was Alfred Nobel. Dynamite is a mixture of Nitroglycerin and
Silica, allowing a malleable form. "Nitroglycerin by itself is a very strong explosive, and in its
pure form it is extremely shock-sensitive (that is, physical shock can cause it to explode), and
degrades over time to even more unstable forms. This makes it highly dangerous to transport or
use in its pure form" (wiki Dynamite). "Absorbed into diatomaceous earth or sawdust,
nitroglycerin is less shock-sensitive. Over time, the dynamite will "weep" or "sweat" its
nitroglycerin, which can then pool in the bottom of the box or storage area" (wiki dynamite).
"One advantage of dynamite over nitroglycerin was that it could be cylinder-shaped for insertion
into the drilling holes used for mining" (Bellis, Mary). Today, dynamite is used in demolition to
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destroy concrete support beams. The explosive is strong enough to blow the concrete apart and
force the debris outward, but the explosion will not destroy anything but the beam it is placed
within. Dynamite is used in large, tied bundles to create large explosions for denser beams and
other supporting objects for a building.
RDX
RDX is a "white crystalline, highly explosive solid used in bombs and shells" (Disaster
Dictionary). RDX is short for Royal Demolition eXplosive, formally known as
"cyclotrimethylenetrinitramine, also called cyclonite, hexogen, or T4, powerful explosive,
discovered by Georg Friedrich Henning of Germany and patented in 1898" ("RDX (explosive)").
"RDX is a hard, white crystalline solid, insoluble in water and only slightly soluble in some other
solvents. Sensitive to percussion, its principal nonmilitary use is in blasting caps. It is often
mixed with other substances to decrease its sensitivity" ("RDX (explosive)". It was first used
heavily in World War II, where almost every country involved in the war used the explosive due
to its cheap manufacturing and easy of production. In demolition, RDX is used to blow apart
steel beams and dense metals supporting a building. This explosive is best suited to destroy metal
materials, but it isn't the only explosive in the hands of demolition workers.
C4
From the different types of material available for demolition, plastic explosives, such as
C4, are especially suited for explosive demolition. "The explosive in C4 is RDX, which makes
up around 91% of C4 by mass. The plasticizer is dioctyl sebacate (5.3%) and the binder is
usually polyisobutylene (2.1%)" ("C4 (explosive)")."A major advantage of C4 is that it can
easily be molded into any desired shape. C4 can be pressed into gaps, cracks, holes and voids in
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buildings, bridges, equipment or machinery" ("C4 (explosive)"). Demolition workers also take
into consideration of the surrounding neighborhoods. Through years of improvement, C4 has
become "very stable and insensitive to most physical shocks. C4 cannot be detonated by a
gunshot or by dropping it onto a hard surface. It does not explode when set on fire or exposed to
microwave radiation" ("C4 (explosive)").
Conclusion
With these tools, we have made progress in the fields of war, industry, and living. These
three kinds of explosives have blown away obstacles that have stood in the way of progress and
have helped further our growth. As we further develop new ways to use explosives, their main
purpose will never change. With dynamite in hand, people created the railroads of old, and went
deeper into mines to find gold and other rich metals. With RDX, scientists have found new, more
stable forms of explosives. C4 has been the reason many people have survived wars, but also the
reason for the lose of countless lives. The way we use explosives has both been the reason for
progress and the reason for regression. In the hands of a skilled demolition expert, these three
explosives can blow away the old so that progress can continue. "Although personally I am quite
content with existing explosives, I feel we must not stand in the path of
improvement."(Churchill)


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Appendix

A1:Dynamite

A2: C4

Firing Pin
Fuse
External Casing
Nitroglycerin
Securing Strap
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Resources
Bellis, Mary. "History of Dynamite."About.com Inventors. About.com, n.d. Web. 19 Jan. 2014.
<http://inventors.about.com/od/dstartinve

"C-4 (explosive)." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 21 Jan. 2014.
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C-4_(explosive)>.

Churchill, Winston. "Explosives Quotes."BrainyQuote. Xplore, n.d. Web. 22 Jan. 2014.
<http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keyw

"Disaster Dictionary." Royal Demolition eXplosive (RDX). Disaster Dictionary, n.d. Web. 21 Jan.
2014. <http://www.disasterdictionary.com/royal-demolition-explosive-rdx>.

"RDX (explosive)." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d. Web. 21 Jan.
2014. <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic