The technical field of the invention relates to explosive devices and, in particular, shaped charge explosive devices. In Max von Forester conducted experiments in Germany showing that an explosive charge with a hollow cavity will focus the explosive energy and produce a collimated jet of high speed gasses along the longitudinal axis of the cavity. When this cavity is lined with a ductile metal it will produce a high speed collimated stretching jet of liquefied material capable of penetrating all known materials. In , while conducting research for the U. S Navy, at Newport R. These discoveries were further studied in by Egon Neumann of Germany who conducted similar experiment's, which showed that a cylinder of explosive with a metal lined conical hollow cavity could penetrate through steel plates.
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A shaped charge is an explosive charge shaped to focus the effect of the explosive's energy. Various types are used to cut and form metal, initiate nuclear weapons , penetrate armor , and perforate wells in the oil and gas industry. Contrary to a widespread misconception possibly resulting from the acronym HEAT the shaped charge does not depend in any way on heating or melting for its effectiveness; that is, the jet from a shaped charge does not melt its way through armor, as its effect is purely kinetic in nature. The Munroe or Neumann effect is the focusing of blast energy by a hollow or void cut on a surface of an explosive.
The purpose of the shaped charge is the controlled destruction of solid materials. Shaped charges with a conical hollow—the height of which is equal to the diameter of the hollow opening and which has a metal lining with a thickness of about one-thirtieth of the diameter of the hollow opening —will pierce steel armor whose thickness is approximately four times the diameter of the hollow opening. Shaped charges are used in armor-piercing shells, in blasting caps, and for pulverizing odd-shaped rocks in quarries and breaking up other objects. A typical example of the use of shaped charges in military activity is in antitank rocket projectiles.