What is Pentaerythritol Tetranitrate (PETN) - in News- Found in UP Assembly (Download PDF)


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Dangerous plastic explosive preferred by militants as it cannot be easily detected owing to its colorless crystals. PETN can be kept hidden in a sealed container or an electrical equipment surpassing security checks.

Image of Pentaerythritol Tetranitrate

Image of Pentaerythritol Tetranitrate

Image of Pentaerythritol Tetranitrate

  • A nitrate ester of pentaerythritol structurally very similar to nitroglycerin
  • One of the most powerful explosive materials known, with a relative effectiveness factor of 1.66
  • Most countries have restrictions on purchase of PETN
  • Substance is legally used by the military and mining industries for detonating cords and mines
  • Relatively stable and detonated either by heat or a shock wave.
  • A little more than 100g of PETN could destroy a car
  • Also used as a vasodilator drug to treat certain heart conditions


  • Used by the German Military in World War I
  • Used in the MG FF/M autocannons and many other weapon systems of the Luftwaffe in World War II

- Published/Last Modified on: August 1, 2017


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