Re: Chem: Silicon Explosives now

From: James Rogers (
Date: Fri Aug 03 2001 - 16:51:00 MDT

On 8/3/01 2:56 PM, "Michael M. Butler" <> wrote:
> To those more full wise in these things than I am:
> OK, I grant that the Si+O reaction liberates mucho energy.
> But it seems to me from cursory analysis that not much gas is going to be
> generated (unlike many explosives).
> I envision it as akin to a thermite reaction.
> Am I missing something?

In real explosives (which thermite and black powder are not), most of the
destructive potential is in the detonation wave front that propagates
through the explosive material. For good high explosives, the detonation
wave generates pressures well in excess of a million psi and travels upwards
of 8,000 meters per second, which can pulverize anything it comes in contact
with (being essentially an "irresistable force" from a material standpoint).
The expanding gas component of detonable explosives is of limited use, as
just about anything that can withstand the detonation will most likely be
able to withstand the subsequent relatively gentle increase in pressure due
to gas manufacture.

So as long as the detonation of Si is wicked fast and generates the usual
high detonation pressures, you can do a lot of damage with it.

-James Rogers

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