Ammonium perchlorate

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Ammonium perchlorate, NH4NO3, is a strong oxidizing agent, a constituent of explosives and solid rocket propellants, and itself an explosive.

Explosive characteristics

It is unusual in that its best explosive performance is at high, not low, porosity.[1]


In one memorable blast at an ammonium perchlorate factory in 1988, 2 people were killed and 372 injured in Henderson, Nevada when approximately 4000 tons detonated. The intensity was compounded by a high-pressure natural gas line running under the poorly chosen factory site.[2]

Rocket engines

The Space Shuttle solid rocket boosters use a mixture of aluminium perchlorate, aluminium powder and an iron oxide catalyst in a rubberized binder.


  1. Donna Price, A. R. Clairmont, Jr., and I. Jaffe, Explosive Behavior of Ammonium Perchlorate, U.S. Naval Ordnance Laboratory, White Oak, Maryland, U.S. Navy
  2. J. Gordon Routley, Fire and Explosions at Rocket Fuel Plant Henderson, Nevada, U.S. Fire Administration, Federal Emergency Management Agency