RDX

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205.5 °C, 479 K, 402 °F

234 °C, 507 K, 453 °F

RDX, an initialism for Research Department Explosive, is an explosive nitroamine widely used in military and industrial applications. It is also known less commonly as cyclonite, hexogen (particularly in German and German-influenced languages), and T4. Its chemical name is cyclotrimethylenetrinitramine; variants include cyclotrimethylene-trinitramine and cyclotrimethylene trinitramine.

In its pure, synthesized state RDX is a white, crystalline solid. As an explosive, it is usually used in mixtures with other explosives and plasticizers, phlegmatizers or desensitizers. It is stable in storage and is considered one of the most powerful and brisant of the military high explosives.[1]

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Name

RDX is also known, but less commonly, as cyclonite, hexogen (particularly in German and German-influenced languages), T4 and chemically as cyclotrimethylenetrinitramine. Tenney L Davis, writing in the USA in 1943, stated it was generally known in the USA as cyclonite; the Germans called it Hexogen, the Italians T4.[2] In the 1930s, the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, started investigating cyclonite as an explosive to use against German U-boats that were being built with thicker hulls. Britain wanted an explosive that was more powerful than TNT. For security reasons, Britain termed cyclonite as "Research Department Explosive" (R. D. X.).[3] The term RDX appeared in the United States in 1946, but the name RDX is given without explanation.[4] The first public reference in the United Kingdom to the name RDX, or R.D.X. to use the official title, appeared in 1948; its authors were the Managing Chemist, ROF Bridgwater, the Chemical Research and Development Department, Woolwich, and the Director of Royal Ordnance Factories, Explosives; again, it was referred to as simply RDX.[5]

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