Introduction to Explosive Ordnance

Course Overview

This three-day course will provide an overview of Explosive Ordnance and provides participants with an introduction to chemistry and its application to explosive materials, and mechanisms of deflagration and detonation. The effects of explosive detonation will also be explored. Days 1 and 2 will focus on the nature and function of explosives and Day 3 will focus on ammunition types and explosive effects.

Attendees will receive a comprehensive set of notes covering the lecture content.

Who should attend?

Anyone who is working in the mining and defence sectors where explosive substances are used including (and not limited to): design engineers; material scientists; systems engineers; project managers; serving officers; end-users and business managers. This course is moderately technical and therefore a technical qualification in a tertiary establishment is desirable but not mandatory.

** Please note there will be no catering offered for this particular course ** 

Course outline


Introduction to explosives (2 hours) – LW

Historical perspectives | Basic chemical and physical concepts for explosives |

Chemical reactions and explosive behaviour (2 hours) - LW

Introduction to chemical reactions | Stability and Reactivity | Energy from chemical reactions |

Thermochemistry of explosives (1 hour) - LW

Explosive reactions | Oxygen balance |

Tutorial – LW (1 hour)

A session will be provided so that the student can work through some of the issues raised in this course under the guidance of the course presenter.



Classification and performance (2 hours) - LW

Classification of explosives | Performance parameters | Energised explosives | Initiation and propagation of explosive reactions | Explosive trains

Explosive materials and manufacture (1 hour) - LW

Overview of some specific explosive materials| Applications | Aspects of manufacturing | Future developments

Combustion, Deflagration and Detonation (2 hours) - PJH

Physical and chemical aspects of combustion | Deflagration | Detonation | Detonation Waves | Nature of Detonation waves | Introduction to Shock waves

Tutorial (1 hour) - PJH

A session will be provided so that the student can work through some of the issues raised in this course under the guidance of the course presenter.



Blast (2 hours) - PJH

Nature of Blast | Effects of blast on people and structures | Engineering principles to protect building occupants from blast | Case studies

Shaped charge and explosively-formed projectiles (EFPs) – 2 hours) - PJH

History | Design | Operation | Integration into warheads | Lethality | Fragmenting munition design | Mott | Gurney

Tutorial (Blast Calculations) – 2 hours

Introduction to Kingery-Bulmash calculations | Worked examples will be presented and discussed and students given the opportunity to do their own calculations


An optional test will be available for those wishing to gain post-graduate credit.

Course presenters

Dr Lynne Wallace

Lynne completed her PhD in chemistry at the Australian National University, after moving to Australia from Scotland.  After several postdoctoral positions (University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Australian National University and University of Strathclyde) she took up a lectureship in chemistry at UNSW Canberra in 1999.  Her research interests and publications include: mitigation of chemical hazards, including techniques for waste remediation; design of safer energetic materials; application of spectroscopic techniques in the detection of hazardous substances; green energetic materials.

Professor Paul J Hazell

Paul has over 20 years of experience studying the impact behaviour of materials and explosive engineering. In 2012 he moved to Canberra, Australia from the UK to take up the post of Professor of Impact Dynamics at UNSW Canberra. Before taking this position he was Head of the Centre for Ordnance Science and Technology at Cranfield University’s Shrivenham campus (at the UK Defence Academy). He has published extensively, appeared in several documentaries and presented his research work at numerous symposia. He has published two books on protection technologies with the most recent called ‘ARMOUR: Materials, Theory, and Design’ (CRC Press, 2016).


Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide