Vapor Phase Explosions: Elementary Detonations?

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Science  13 Apr 1979:
Vol. 204, Issue 4389, pp. 168-169
DOI: 10.1126/science.204.4389.168


Although liquid-vapor explosions are widely observed, there is no established explanation for their initiation and propagation. Thermodynamics admits the possibility that superheated liquids can support detonations analogous to those that occur in chemical explosives. For liquid methane superheated 50 K above its boiling point at 1 atmosphere, the energy of explosion is 2 to 3 percent of that of TNT.