The Power Inside
The MOAB is built by Dynetics and contains approximately 18,000 pounds of tritonal. Tritonal is a mixture of TNT (80%) and aluminum powder (20%). The aluminum improves the brisance of the TNT -- the speed at which the explosive develops its maximum pressure. The addition of aluminum makes tritonal about 18% more powerful than TNT alone.


Photo courtesy U.S. Department of Defense
Air Force workers prepare the MOAB for testing. A GPS receiver uses the flaps shown here to change the direction of the bomb as it falls. Smart bombs like this can hit their targets very accurately.

A Daisy Cutter, by comparison, contains 12,600 pounds (5,700 kg) of ammonium nitrate, aluminum and polystyrene, a combination known as GSX (gelled slurry explosives). GSX is commonly used in mining and is a commercial high explosive that is inexpensive and easy to produce. TNT is a military high explosive.


Photo courtesy U.S. Department of Defense
Front and rear view of a BLU-82 free-fall bomb (Daisy Cutter)

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