Pentolite

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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.

Military pentolite (Pentolite 50/50) comprises a mixture of 50% PETN and 50% TNT. (Unlike other compound explosives, the first percentage number before the slash is the amount of TNT and the second percentage number after the slash is the amount of PETN). A 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 pentolite has a detonation velocity of approximately 7,800 metres per second.

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