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What is PETN? A dangerous plastic explosive found in UP Assembly

LiveMint logoLiveMint 15-07-2017 Livemint

New Delhi:A packet of white powder was discovered under the seat of Samajwadi Party MLA Mano Pandey inside the Uttar Pradesh Assembly on Thursday. Forensic tests revealed that the substance was PETN, a plastic explosive that is the most dangerous of its kind.

Here’s more on what is PETN?

PETN or Pentaerythritol tetranitrate a dangerous plastic explosive, available in black market. All over the world, it is preferred by militant groups because it cannot be easily detected owing to its colourless crystals, says a report in The Guardian. While most explosive detectors use metal detectors, but PETN can be kept hidden in a sealed container or an electrical equipment as it can easily surpass security checks, added the report.

Although most countries have imposed restrictions on the purchase of PETN, but the substance is legally used only by the military and mining industries for detonating cords and mines, said the newspaper.

PETN is relatively stable and is detonated either by heat or a shock wave. A little more than 100g of PETN could destroy a car, the news report added.

The newspaper cited Hans Michels, an explosives expert at Imperial College, London, confirming PETN as the most dangerous explosive of choice. “If you can lay your hands on a reliable source, it would be the explosive of choice,” Michels was quoted as saying.

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