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Explosive goes boom, but not too soon

Leavening a volatile new material with TNT yields safer substance

4:35pm, September 6, 2011

Look out, Road Runner: There’s a new explosive for Wile E. Coyote’s arsenal. By reining in a supersensitive explosive with good old-fashioned TNT, chemists have created a new compound that can be stored and transported safely and then quickly converted to an activated, superexplosive form.

The new “cocrystal” comprises a zigzagging chain of CL-20 and TNT that, after heating, detonates more readily than either explosive alone, researchers report online August 25 in Angewandte Chemie International Edition.

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