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Cross-sectional view of Oerlikon 20 mm cannon
shells (dating from circa 1945) showing color code for pentolite filling
Pentolite is a composite high explosive used for military and civilian purposes, e.g., warheads and booster charges. It is made of PETN phlegmatized with TNT by melt casting.
The most common military variety of pentolite (designated "Pentolite 50/50") is a mixture of 50% pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN) and 50% trinitrotoluene (TNT). (Unlike other compound explosives, the number before the slash is the mass percentage of TNT and the second number is the mass percentage of PETN). This 50:50 mixture has a density of 1.65 g/cm3 and a detonation velocity of 7400 m/s.
Civilian pentolite sometimes contains a lower percentage of PETN, usually around 2% ("Pentolite 98/2"), 5% ("Pentolite 95/5") or 10% ("Pentolite 90/10"). Civilian pentolites have a detonation velocity of about 7,800 metres per second.
- ^ a b B. M. Dobratz & P. C. Crawford, LLNL Explosives Handbook, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, UCRL-52997, Change 2, January 31, 1985.