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C-4 or Composition 4 is a common variety of the plastic explosive family known as Composition C, which uses RDX as its explosive agent.

A similar British plastic explosive, also based on RDX but with different plasticizer than Composition C-4, is known as PE-4 (Plastic Explosive No. 4).


C-4 is composed of explosives, plastic binder, plasticizer to make it malleable, and usually a marker or odorizing taggant chemical. The most common recipe involves 90-91% RDX, bound by a mixture of 5.3% dioctyl sebacate (DOS) or dioctyl adipate (DOA) as the plasticizer (to increase the plasticity of the explosive), thickened with 2.1% polyisobutylene (PIB, a synthetic rubber) as the binder, and 1.6% of a mineral oil often called "process oil." Instead of "process oil," low-viscosity motor oil is used in the manufacture of C-4 for civilian use.[1]


C-4 has a texture similar to modelling clay and can be molded into any desired shape. C-4 is very stable and insensitive to most physical shocks. C-4 cannot be detonated when subjected to a mechanical impact, such as that of a high speed projectile or by dropping it onto a hard surface. It does not explode when set on fire and instead will simply burn, or even when exposed to microwaves. Detonation can only be initiated by a shockwave, such as when a detonator inserted into it is fired. When detonated, C-4 rapidly decomposes to release nitrogen, water and carbon oxides as well as other gases. The detonation velocity of C-4 is given as 8,092 m/s.

C-4 has a maximum density of 1.75, with the most average value for most compositions being 1.72658.


C-4, being a powerful explosive, is not sold to the general public. Demolition companies may acquire it using a special permit, depending on the country.


Can be prepared by mixing RDX with the other components.


  • Make figurines out of C-4
  • Mining and blasting rocks
  • Extract RDX from old C-4



C-4 is relative safe and does not explode easily. If ignited, it will only burn.

RDX on the other hand is toxic if ingested and should be handled with care.


In special storage cabinets, under key.


Should be incinerated outside or in a kiln.


  1. https://www.astm.org/jfs2004307.html

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