We have lots of people asking us what RE Factor stands for, so we thought we’d give a good explanation. RE stands for Relative Effectiveness as it pertains to TNT. This means 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.

RE Factor

RE Factor

When an explosive is described, it outlines 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 another would require fewer explosives than 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 explosive’s effectiveness.

Explosive Effectiveness

Below is a list of explosives by their 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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