A binary explosive or two-component explosive is an explosive consisting of two components, neither of which is explosive by itself, which have to be mixed in order to become explosive. Examples of common binary explosives include Oxyliquit (liquid oxygen/combustible powder), ANFO (ammonium nitrate/fuel oil), Kinestik (ammonium nitrate/nitromethane), Tannerite and ammonal (ammonium nitrate/aluminum), and FIXOR (nitroethane/physical sensitizer).
Binary explosives are often used in commercial applications because of their greater handling safety.
United States law
In the United States, ATF regulations allow the components of some binary explosives to be legally purchased, when neither one is an explosive by itself. ATF advises: "Persons manufacturing explosives for their own personal, non-business use only (e.g., personal target practice) are not required to have a Federal explosives license or permit." A prohibited person (a person barred by federal law from buying or owning a firearm) cannot legally possess mixed explosives. Explosives for lawful target practice must be used once mixed: any transport, storage or commercial use of mixed explosives falls under federal explosives laws, and cannot be transported in mixed form without following strict regulations including insurance, packaging, signage on the transport vehicle, storage magazines, etc.
A Maryland law intended specifically to ban the sale or ownership of consumer products containing binary explosive components (such as Tannerite brand rifle targets) became effective on October 1, 2012, and expanded the definition of an explosive to include, in addition to "bombs and destructive devices designed to operate by chemical, mechanical, or explosive action", "two or more components that are advertised and sold together with instructions on how to combine the components to create an explosive".
On August 5, 2013, the United States Forest Service (USFS) and the U.S. Attorney's office in Denver announced that the USFS is implementing a closure order to prohibit the use of unpermitted explosives, particularly exploding targets, on all USFS lands in the Rocky Mountain Region. This region includes national forests and grasslands in the states of Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota. According to the USFS, at least 16 wildfires in the Western states had been associated with exploding targets. It cost more than $33 million to extinguish the fires. Such a ban has already been implemented by the USFS in Washington, Oregon and Montana. The Bureau of Land Management has banned the use of all exploding targets on BLM land in Utah.
- "Federal Explosives Law and Regulations, Questions and Answers". Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. November 2007. p. 4. Archived from the original on October 8, 2009. Retrieved March 11, 2009.
- Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, "Binary Explosives", atf.gov, 22 Sep 2016.
- 344: Flammable Solids (Hazard Class 4) - USPS
- 345: Oxidizing Substances, Organic Peroxides (Hazard Class 5) - USPS
- Maryland House Bill 875 (May 22, 2012)
- Mike M. Ahlers and Rene Marsh (September 6, 2013). "Exploding targets: shooting aid or a 'bomb kit for dummies?'". CNN. Retrieved September 8, 2013.
- "FIRE PREVENTION ORDER – UTAH BLM LANDS" (PDF). United States Department of the Interior. November 18, 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 4, 2017. Retrieved September 18, 2016.
Acts prohibited under this order include the following:The non-commercial use/discharge of explosives of any kind, incendiary or chemical devices, pyrotechnic devices or exploding targets.
- Types of Explosives (Archived page)
- FIXOR, a commercial binary explosive sold for mine clearance
- Binary/Two Component Explosives, from a presentation by the N. C. Dept. of Transportation
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