What Does RE Factor Mean? Find Out More

We have a lot of people asking us what RE Factor stands for so we thought we would give a good explanation. RE stands for Relative Effectiveness as it pertains to TNT. What this means is that when people with really big brains who didn’t get a lot of dates in college sat down and tried to figure out how to classify the effectiveness of explosives they made TNT the base explosive.

When an explosive is described, it is outlined in how much of that explosive would be required to complete the same job as TNT. For all intents and purposes, TNT has an RE Factor of 1. While there are a lot of different variables that go into the effectiveness of an explosive, it is thought that an explosive that has a higher RE Factor than one would it would require less explosive that TNT to complete the same job. If an explosive has an RE Factor less than one, it will take more of that explosive to complete the same job as TNT.

While this is not entirely accurate since explosives propagate at different speeds and are better for specific jobs such as steel cutting or quarry ditching, it is the best method for measuring an explosives effectiveness.

Below is a list of explosives by effectiveness

  • Ammonium nitrate (AN)- 0.42
  • Black powder (75% KNO3 + 15% C + 10% S)- 0.55
  • ANFO (94.3% AN + 5.7% fuel oil)- 0.80
  • Acetone Peroxide (TATP)- 0.83 TNT- 1.00
  • Amatol (80% TNT + 20% AN)- 1.17
  • Tetrytol (70% Tetryl + 30% TNT)- 1.20
  • Tetryl- 1.25 C-4 (91% RDX)- 1.34 C-3 (old RDX based)- 1.35
  • Composition B (63% RDX + 36% TNT)- 1.35
  • Nitroglycerin- 1.50
  • Erythritol tetranitrate- 1.60
  • RDX- 1.60 Semtex (94.3% PETN + 5.7% RDX)- 1.66 PETN- 1.66 HMX- 1.70


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