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Brisance is a measure of the rapidity with which an explosive develops its maximum pressure. Brisance is the shattering capability of an explosive. The term originates from the French verb "briser", which means to break or shatter. Brisance is of practical importance for determining the effectiveness of an explosion in fragmenting shells, bomb casings, grenades, structures, and the like.

A brisant explosive is one that attains its maximum pressure so rapidly that a shock wave is formed. The net effect is to shatter (by shock resonance) the material surrounding or in contact with the supersonic detonation wave created by the explosion. Thus, brisance is a measure of the shattering ability of an explosive and is not necessarily correlated with the explosive's total work capacity.

The sand crush test is commonly employed to determine the relative brisance in comparison to TNT. No single test is capable of directly comparing the explosive properties of two or more compounds;[citation needed] it is important to examine the data from several such tests[citation needed] (sand crush, trauzl, and so forth) in order to gauge relative brisance. True values for comparison will require field experiments.[citation needed]

One of the most brisant of the conventional explosives is cyclotrimethylene trinitramine (also known as RDX or Hexogen).[1]


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