What happens when 20 lbs of C-4 explodes?

Read to the end and you will see…

C-4 is classified as a high-order explosive (HE), that produces an over-pressurization shock wave.  It is similar to TNT, Semtex, nitroglycerin, dynamite, and ammonium nitrate fuel oil (ANFO).

It is very stable and cannot be detonated by a gunshot or by dropping it (unlike the explosive TATP, commonly referred to as the “mother of Satan,” because it is highly susceptible to accidental detonation).  In order to detonate C-4, you need to utilize a detonator or a blasting cap.

Because of its stability and destructive power, this explosive has garnered the attention of terrorists all over the world. A small amount of C-4 can do a lot of damage, and when you add just a little bit the effects multiply. The U.S. military is the primary manufacturer of C-4, and it tightly guards its supply, although there have been numerous instances where blocks were stolen from supply depots.  Also, Iran produces an explosive with similar qualities called RDX, which it exports it into the hands of just about every terrorist organization.  As long as C-4 and C-4 like explosives are readily accessible, it will continue to be a primary weapon in the terrorist arsenal.

Ok, now that you know a little bit about C-4, let’s see what happens when 20 lbs of it is placed next to a vehicle (FYI —I return to this imagery when writing scenes in my stories that involve explosives)…




Destroyed Vehicles.001


Published by

C.E. Albanese

C.E. Albanese started his career in law enforcement as a state investigator with the New Jersey Attorney General’s office in 2000, joining the ranks of the Secret Service in 2004 as a special agent. He spent time in the Newark and New York City Field offices splitting his duties between investigating financial crimes and conducting protective advances for some of the most influential leaders of the world. In 2011, he was transferred to the Vice President’s Protective Detail. During his tenure with the Secret Service he traveled the world, and along the way found himself working with some of the very best men and woman the United States of America as to offer. He currently lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, who is a special agent with the Secret Service, and their two children.

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