Marzena Szczurek, Military University of Technology in Warsaw, Poland

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Improvised explosive devices (IED) constitute dangerous devices which pose a threat to public safety. Explosive compounds causing destruction, or other hazardous chemical substances belong to these types of devices. Basic information about explosive materials is presented in this article with two criteria, application and chemical structure, taken into account. Explosive materials used in practice must meet many requirements. Their physical and chemical durability are considered as fundamental, along with a low sensitivity to mechanical and thermal stimuli. During the explosive change, material must react by releasing the greatest possible amount of gas products with a small molecular mass. The explosive change involving explosive materials must be an exothermic transformation, thanks to which it is possible for many self-sustaining reactions to take place irrespective of external conditions. Additionally, explosive material should undergo changes characterised by rapid responsiveness to chemical reactions. Determining the parameters of these phenomena requires calculations of the component balance in the mixture of chemical substances, taking into account the theory of detonation and burning1. Therefore, detonation properties and application of basic explosive materials are presented here. Depending on their use, explosive materials can show defects, i.e. too high sensitivity, maladjustment of charge power to requirements, or possibly too high a production cost. In order to avoid such undesirable features, explosive mixtures are used consisting of basic materials with the addition of modifiers.