View Full Version : Shaped Charges - Why copper?
07-11-2009, 04:09 PM
Not sure if anyone on this forum will be able to help, but I have a question that has been annoying me for a little while.
As far as I know, can't be sure because unfortunately I don't have access to classified files, copper seems to be the only(or most common) material used for the cone in a shaped charge (by the military atleast).
Why is this? What are the properties of copper that make it the best material for the job?
I ask because I remember seeing on Science Madness a thread in which one user had some sucess with a glass cone. It seems a bit nonsensical to me that a soft metal would provide the best penetrating power in a jet.
07-11-2009, 05:06 PM
They use more than copper. Nowadays I don't know what they are exactly but I've heard of them using Pb, Zn, Al, Ti and others. I'm not really update on most military stuff though.
07-11-2009, 07:50 PM
I'd imagine they use it because it transfers heat quickly, is easily formed, and relativly dense. I'm sure nuke would know. I'm betting there are reasons given for why copper is so often used in patents.
Glass is pretty neato. Some licensed friends did a SC using the punt of a wine bottle as the cone and got it to penetrate I think about an inch of steel.
07-11-2009, 07:50 PM
I don't have access to classified files...
Most use copper because it's the most cost effective material. There are also steel cones in things like the 40lb M3, Mk 1, 2, and 3 SC's, and the Mk 7 series while the M2A3 and M2A4 use a glass cone.
Copper is cheaper and easier to work with than metals like Pb and Mg which are in some special cones. Glass works about the same as Cu but isn't very suitable for the military because stupid privates can easily break it and ruin the usefulness of the tool. Another nice thing about copper is its low melting point and ductility. Being easily converted to a hot molten slug of metal is an advantage if you're looking to defeat armor.
I've seen what Mk 86, 87, 88 and 89 Navy SC's can do and it's really impressive for their size. The Mk 88 lipstick has like one gram of RDX in it and it'll still blast at least a .5 inch hole in mild steel.
Flexible Linear Shaped Charges are a strip of lead with an inner core of explosive. It's got the classic LSC shape and can be formed to specific shapes.
I even made a SC with a plastic cone and used BG. A charge without a liner will still have SC effects but the metal cone really does a lot of work.
Yeah bob, we did some wine bottle charges here too, punched through a Mk 82 bomb. There were a few 16" Navy rounds out on the range so we stuck a M2A3 on the nose of one and gave it a new asshole. Very impressive what hypersonic metal/gas/plasma can do.
07-12-2009, 03:01 PM
Thanks a lot for the detailed reply, finally settled my curiosity :).
07-19-2009, 04:25 PM
Very impressive what hypersonic metal/gas/plasma can do.
The Cone material does not become a plasma.
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