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Detecting Defects

When something you’ve purchased is defective, you usually send it back for a replacement, or throw it out and buy a new one. If you happen to be in the explosives business, however, the opposite holds true, for when it comes to creating explosions, defects are a good thing. In fact, detonation cannot take place without them.

But, as with virtually everything else in life, moderation is the key to desirable defects. Too many defects make an explosive material unstable, and therefore unsafe, while if there are too few, it won’t detonate at all. But with just the right number of defects, the material will explode precisely when it is supposed to, and under just the right circumstances.