RDX is a high-energy explosive that is based on hexamine ( the main ingredient in "Esbit" food heating tablets) and red fuming nitric acid, or, paraformaldehyde, and ammonium nitrate in an acetic anhydride medium. It is used by insurgents overseas because of its ease of manufacture, and by the military because of its great stability, extreme brisance (violence of detonation) resistance to accidental initiation, and tremendous power. It is not only much more powerful than TNT (exactly twice as much, by weight), but far, far, easier to make. TNT requires a minimum of two, but usually three steps involving very reactive materials, whereas RDX can be synthesized in one step, using only moderately reactive ingredients. RDX is also used as a rocket propellant, yielding a respectable specific impulse of 280 newton*seconds, when it is bound with HTPB (hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene), and other processing facilitators. Mixed with either HTPB alone, wax, or with many other phlegmatizers (a substance which makes things stick together), RDX gives birth to an entire family of plastic explosives, such as Composition-C (C1, C2, C4), Semtex, PBX, and many others. Its a close cousin of HMX, which is just RDX with another nitramine group in its molecule.
I used two pounds of RDX to blast that boulder in my yard into sugar sand!
The military claims that C4 plastic explosive is really just RDX mixed with a rubber-like material.
RDX is an acronym for Royal Demolition eXplosive. It is the common name in the UK for the explosive cyclotrimethylenetrinitramine. RDX is a fairly insensitive high-order explosive, with a VoD (Velocity of Detonation) of over 8000 m/s at maximum density. It is almost never used alone because of the difficulty getting it to max density for best performance, but is used in mining, demolitions, and by the military in many composite explosives, including the US Army's composition A (granulated RDX and a wax binder), B (castable 50:50 RDX and TNT), and C (RDX and inert plasticiser 91:9). RDX also finds use as the base charge in blasting caps, initiated by a mixture of lead azide and lead styphnate. It is, contrary to what the misinformed definer earlier stated, not easier to manufacture than TNT and trinitrophenol; it is simply cheaper to manufacture, requiring only paraformaldehyde, ammonium nitrate, and acetic anhydride to produce, rather than large volumes of nitric and sulfuric acids. An alternate route using anhydrous nitric acid to destructively nitrate hexamethylenetetramine is favored by clandestine chemists because of the difficulty, at least in the USA, of obtaining acetic anhydride. It is also cheaper to produce here than TNT and TNP, though it requires much better temperature control and takes quite a bit more work than the aforementioned compounds to synthesize in the home lab.
RDX is much too expensive and difficult to produce to be practical for clandestine explosives production, except as the base charge in initiators. A better choice would be cheap ammonium nitrate mixtures, such as ANFO or ANNM.
RDX is a is a high explosive. It is usually not used alone & is the main ingredient of C-4.
It is much more energetic then TNT
, and it's the most powerful of the very commonly used explosives (nitroglycerine is actually more energetic in a few specialized tests).
RDX is much easier to make then both TNT & picric acid.