Technical data on Potassium Chlorate and Fuel Oil Home-Made Explosive

Does anyone have any technical data on PCFO HME? I am particularly interested in the FOI.

9 answers

  1. Answered by Kenneth Cross

    Idon’t have personal experience with PCFO but I thought it worthwhile to quote from Meyer, Koehler and Homburg ‘Explosives’ 7th edition:
    “Chlorate Explosives.
    Explosive mixtures of alkali metal chlorates with carbon-rich organic compounds such as wood dust, petroleum, oils, fats and nitro derivatives of benzene and toluene; they may also contain nitrate esters.
    Their strength is lower that that of ammonium nitrate explosives in powder form. Chlorate explosives must not be stored together with ammonium nitrate explosives, since ammonium chlorate, which is formed when these tow substances are brought into contact, decomposes and explodes.”

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  2. Answered by Richard Warren

    Dear Gareth,
    Dstl has some FOI data for a number of blends of PCFO, but unfortunately that data is deemed classified and so not releasable on open websites. perhaps links back through your current/previous organisations may enable a link to that information. I am no longer in Dstl and so I no longer have access to that data myself.

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  3. Answered by Mark Dempsey

    Hello,
    Being a Firework guy I do not really get into the field of improvised explosives, however if you have or are able to get a copy of ” The Chemistry of Powder and Explosives,”
    byT.L.Davis you will find on pages 360 to 363, information regarding explosive compounds called, Explosifs P and S (Potassium and Sodium respectively) and the Minelites, A, B and C which all contain fuel oils in varying amounts.
    There is also a comprehensive table giving information on Velocity of Detonation results.

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  4. Answered by Alan morley

    Sorry, I cannot help.

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  5. Answered by Norman Yen

    Potassium chlorate is one of the common oxidising compound for HME. (Other common oxidiers are sodium perchlorate or potassium nitrate). The fuel can be a common substance such as sugar, sawdust or fuel oil. Given the wide range of potential fuels and mixtures which make it more difficult to detect explosives, scientists have turned to the inorganic components instead.
    The very low vapour pressures of many inorganic oxidisers hinder their detection. Understand the scientists at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, WA, they have applied a technique developed in 2013, demonstrated the used of atmospheric flow tube-mass spectrometry (AFT-MS) for detection of the organic explosive RDX with detection levels down to several ppq but have now been able to extend it to the inorganic salts.
    You can find our more about the detection techniques in the following article published by ACS: https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.analchem.8b01261#

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  6. Answered by Peter SHELLEY

    Hi Gareth, the best public data I have comes from Urbanksi Chemistry and Technology of Explosives Vol 3 pages 275 to 279. I’ll email you the data.

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  7. Answered by Gareth Collett

    Thank you to all who have helped with this. I have just completed a book on HME for the UK MOD and this was an elusive arena. I now have enough information to complete that section and thank you all for your contributions.

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  8. Answered by Rob Wharton

    If of interest, I have an old reference book Chemistry and Technology of Explosives Vol III (1964) which has a small section on mixtures with potassium and sodium chlorates. It mentions snippets such as the Potassium Chlorate factory at St Helens in 1899 and the prohibition in UK of Potassium Chlorate & Sulpher mixtures in 1894. It goes on to discuss the detonation capacity & brisance of various mixtures including kerosine, vaseline and nitrobenzine. Interesting read, if taken in bite size pieces

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  9. Answered by Rob Wharton

    If of interest, I have an old reference book Chemistry and Technology of Explosives Vol III (1964) which has a small section on mixtures with potassium and sodium chlorates. It mentions snippets such as the explosion at the Potassium Chlorate factory at St Helens in 1899 and the prohibition in UK of Potassium Chlorate & Sulpher mixtures in 1894. It goes on to discuss the detonation capacity & brisance of various mixtures including kerosine, vaseline and nitrobenzine. Interesting read, if taken in bite size pieces

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