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Plastic explosives

Plastic explosives in various shapes


The plastic explosives used by Arctic Rangers is the standard m/46 plastic explosives used by the Swedish Army. It is very similar to the American C4 plastic explosives. It comes in 125 gram sticks (top left) that are wraped in paper. Eight of these make up a 1 kg package (top right). 14 packages make up a 14 kg box (above left).

It is yellow and made of 86% pentyl (PETN) and 14% mineral oil, and explodes at a speed of 7800 m/s. It is easily shaped when it is warm, but when it gets cold it is very hard to shape. A good way of avoiding this is to keep it in your pockets before molding it. It is very safe to use - you can hit it with a hammer, burn it, or shoot at it without igniting it.

It can be used to destroy almost anything, but is used primarily to destroy roads and railroads. You can also connect individual charges with det cord (read more about det cord in the "Igniting devices" section), so you can ignite many charges simultaneously. Below is a picture of a full box of plastic explosives detonating, taken at a distance of 300 m. Note that real explosives don't look like what you see in Hollywood movies. As you have probably seen in many Hollywood-type explosions there are a lot of flames and smoke, but this is mainly due to the fact that they blow up diesel or kerosene so the explosions look cooler. Military explosives don't produce this kind of effect.

In addition to the fully active (yellow) plastic explosives there is green practice explosives that has the same physical characteristics. The only difference is that the green explosives is non-explosive.


Plastic explosives detonating
A full box detonating


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