Explosive training: what is it?

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Explosive forming shapes large metal parts using high explosives to press metal onto a mold. It can create complex components and work with larger, thicker metals. The water bath method is common, but other methods exist. The process requires extensive setup and new molds. Explosive formation principles are used in military applications like IEDs.

Explosive forming is a type of metalworking that can be used to shape very large parts. It is typically used where the metal is too large or thick for a traditional method of pressing or punching to be cost effective. The process typically involves placing the metal onto a die and then using the concussive force of high explosives to press it into shape. A variety of different materials can be used to make molds, including fiberglass, concrete, and steel. Mold materials should typically be stronger than the metal being formed, although this is not always possible.

The most common method of forming explosives typically involves a basin that can be filled with water. A mold can be built into the bottom of the container, or one can be lowered inside. The metal can then be placed on top of the mold and subsequently covered in water. The next step typically involves detonating high explosives inside the basin. If done correctly, the explosion will propagate through the water and force the metal into the shape of the mold.

An advantage of the explosive forming process is that it can be used to create complex components that might otherwise require a multi-step process. It can also be used to form metal that is much larger, heavier, and thicker than can be worked with more traditional methods. The main drawback is that the process can require extensive setup for each piece, including new explosives and, in some cases, new molds. If the strength of the mold is greater than the strength of the metal, it may be reusable, although this is not always the case.

The water bath method is commonly used, but it is not the only way to achieve explosion formation. Early methods used shaped charge effects, and explosive formation was used to etch iron in the late 1800s. This method involved placing explosives directly onto the metal, rather than using water or another medium to transmit the concussive force.

Some of the same principles used in explosive formation can also be seen in military applications of shaped charges, such as improvised explosive devices (IEDs). A type of explosive formation may be used in some IEDs, where an effective projectile is actually created by the explosion. This is often a container with a concave lid that is blown off by an explosion and formed into a shape that might be able to penetrate some conventional armor.

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