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Acivation energy question

  1. May 7, 2005 #1
    I asked my chem teacher but they had no answer so maybe you guys know. Why is it that C4 wont explode when heated (why does it burn slowly?) but a shockwave will set it off?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 7, 2005 #2
    Simply put there are 2 different reaction mechanisms. This is not all that uncommon. In some polymer reactions

    nA + Δ -> An while if severely stirred nA -> garbage.

    The second example is a mechanical process of braking bonds. An common household example of this is egg whites. No matter how much heat you apply to an egg while you will never end up with a meringue. When you beat the egg whites you are actually braking bonds (yes you are also aerating it).
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