Boom! What does TNT do when it blows up?

what happens when TNT explodes? I know the chemical structure, the manfacture and the detonation process. But what does it do when the nitrites are broken and the toluene bonds release? What kind of explosion happens? Is it a rapid production of gas, a shockwave, or something else? What property is it that makes TNT and nitroglycerine so powerful? What are the by-products of the detonation? Thanks!

Disclaimer: I don’t want to make TNT. I’m not that stupid. I am interested in the chemistry and physics of the detonation.

You take your SDMB name from a deranged killer in Thomas Harris novel and you expect us to believe you don’t want make TNT? I ain’t fallin’ for it, buddy.

Besides, I don’t know anything about TNT anyway. Good luck with your search.

You pretty much got it.
Lots of nitrogen gas is produced and very quickly. Since the heated gas takes up much more space than the solid a very large expansion shockwave is generated.

Sorry, I forgot my smiley… :wink:

What does the carbon turn into in the toluene? Thanks for the help so far!

Bozo, uninterestingly, I took my name from chinese dragons. If only it were a derranged killer…

This site has some pretty good explanations of the various types of explosives, + what occurs.

I’m probably going to be away from the boards for a while in the company of Her Majesty’s Henchmen ™ as I try and explain to them why I typed ‘TNT’ and ‘Explosive’ into my friendly local search-engine.

I have a couple of books buried in a dark and sinister place known as my garage that would be able to give you exactly what you are looking for, but since the chances of me actually going to try to find them anytime soon are pretty slim, I’ll go with memory so don’t hold me to specifics.

The very short version is that when an explosive blows, an initial shock wave creates a very high pressure within the material, which creates very high heat causes nearly instant decomposition of the explosive. The decomposition creates and/or releases more individual chemicals/elements, which keep the shock wave, flame front and expanding pressure front moving, and releases big time energy. It is mainly the high heat involved in detonation which releases the toluene in TNT. Once released, it is largely, if not completely burned up. TNT and dynamite are, when talking about main explosives, actually on the lower end of the power scale but are extremely stable and safe to work with and TNT is easily castable. What makes an explosive powerful is the speed of detonation and the amount of heat and pressure formed. The higher the heat and pressure, the higher the brisance, or crushing energy. But there are always trade offs in terms of being too sensitive or insensitive which means booster chains being required to set it off, sometimes very intricate ones.

The main products of TNT detonation are similar to most other explosives. The largest by-product is Carbon, along with Carbon Monoxide, Carbon Dioxide, and small/trace amounts of Hydrogen Cyanide, Methane, Nitrogen, Hydrogen, and Nitrous Oxide, in addition to any original solids that may not have been consumed. I’m sure there are other trace elements but that’s all that come to mind.