A technique for filling bombs and shells with explosive. It involves melting the explosive composition, pouring it into the container and leaving it to solidify. The method works best if the melting temperature of the mixture is low and the ignition temperature is high.


A chemical reaction where a substance reacts with oxygen and produces heat and light. An example is carbon reacting with oxygen to form carbon dioxide.


An ion or molecule which is able to accept electrons, or is electron deficient and are therefore attracted to negatively charged areas of molecules.

Electrophilic Substitution

Substitution of a group by another, caused by an initial attack by an electrophile.


A chemical reaction where heat is released along with the products. The opposite is an endothermic reaction, which involves an intake of heat energy for the reaction to occur.

Ideal Gas Law


This equation describes the behaviour of an ideal gas with respect to pressure, volume and temperature.


Compounds with the same number and type of atoms in their formula but where these atoms are arranged differently to create various molecules of varying structures, geometries and optical properties.

Molecular weight

The total weight in grams of one mole of the molecule, i.e. 6 x 1023 molecules.

Primary explosives

Explosives that reach detonation rapidly and can be initiated easily by heat or shock so are generally fairly unstable. The reaction they then undergo produces a lot of heat and a shock wave that can detonate secondary explosives.

Secondary explosives

Explosives that are more stable and can not be initiated very easily. They are usually detonated through a shock wave from a primary explosive.


A series of compressions and expansions which can transmit energy, often to allow a secondary explosive to be initiated.


A volatile substance has a very low boiling temperature and changes into a vapour or gas readily at low temperatures.

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