PLX, or Picatinny Liquid eXplosive, is a liquid binary explosive, used in explosive demonstrations.
Other amines, such as triethylene tetramine or ethanolamine (EA) have been used in older formulae, but ethylenediamine has been found to be much more effective and gives a better performance.
PLX is a colorless liquid, though it may take a slight yellowish tint in contact with air. It has a characteristic fishy odor. It is slightly miscible with water, but more soluble in organic solvents such as alcohols and ketones. PLX has an average density of 1.13 g/cm3 at standard conditions.
PLX is a fairly powerful high explosive, marginally exceeding the destructive yield of TNT. Its detonation velocity has been measured to be between 6,000 and 7,000 m/s. Although greatly sensitized by the addition of EDA, PLX still requires a powerful blasting cap or a small booster charge to successfully detonate.
Availability and preparation
PLX is not available anywhere due to its hazards, but can be easily made from nitromethane and ethylenediamine, both much more available in most countries.
PLX can also be gelled through the addition of nitrocellulose, ETN, or any number of soluble nitrate esters or gelling agents. This allows for powdered metals, such as aluminum or magnesium, to be suspended in the mixture. The metal powders act as fuel, increasing heat and energy output but lowering the brisance and VoD.
- Make blasting charges
Handling and storage
PLX is stable under standard conditions, though EDA is volatile and the presence of impurities may increase its sensitivity.
While nitromethane and ethylenediamine are not restricted in many countries, suppliers may not allow them to be bought together for safety reasons. Pure nitromethane is restricted in the EU, where the max conc. of products containing NM may not go above 30%.
In US, under ATF regulations, binary explosives are not classified as explosive materials, when kept as separate components. However, the moment they are mixed, the resulting mixture is considered explosive material.
Strongly dilute it with a flammable solvent and burn it.
- Cooper, P. W. Explosives Engineering. s.l. : Wiley-VCH, Inc, 1996. pp. 188-263. ISBN 0-471-18636-8