This module can be taken as a Short Course for Credit or a Standalone Short Course.

Please go to the 'Upgrade to a professional qualification' section for more information.

The aim of this course is to provide a critical understanding of the important properties of explosive materials and their methods of synthesis and manufacture.

At a glance

  • Dates
    • 28 Oct - 01 Nov 2024
  • Duration5 days
  • LocationCranfield University at Shrivenham
  • Cost£2,350 - Short Course for Credit fee 

    £2,100 - Standalone Short Course fee  Concessions available

Course structure

The course content is divided between traditional lectures, chemistry and materials laboratory sessions and explosives processing facilities.

What you will learn

On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

  • Explain the rationale behind introducing nitro groups into molecules;
  • Compare the current manufacturing processes for primary, secondary explosives and their formulations;
  • Evaluate and predict the properties of explosives and explosive formulations;
  • Critically evaluate the principles of an explosive train and propose improved alternatives.

Core content

Chemistry of the synthesis of explosive molecules:

  • Basic chemistry of nitration

  • Synthesis examples of Lead Azide/Styphnate, TNT, RDX, NC, NG

  • Basic stability/compatibility (to be extended in testing module)


    Material science of explosive materials

  • Basic hazard/performance properties

  • Crystal properties

  • Binder properties

  • Mechanical properties

  • Environmental awareness


    Engineering of the manufacture of explosives

  • Filling processes of explosive

  • Plant design, safety

  • Quality control


    Physics of explosions

  • Detonics theory

  • Shocks physics

  • Explosives train

Upgrade to a professional qualification

When taken as a Short Course for Credit, 10 credit points can be put towards the Explosives Ordnance Engineering MSc.

Find out more about short course credit points.

Who should attend

Students must have successfully completed the Introduction to Explosives Engineering course, or have relevant experience in order to take this as a Short Course for Credit.


There are no prerequisites if taken as a Standalone Short Course.




A limited number of MOD sponsored places are available.

There are limited places on these modules. You may not receive an offer until places have been confirmed, usually 1 to 2 weeks before the start date.

Location and travel

Cranfield Defence and Security (CDS) is a Cranfield School based at the Ministry of Defence establishment on the Oxfordshire/Wiltshire borders.

Shrivenham itself lies in the picturesque Vale of the White Horse, close to the M4 motorway which links London and South Wales. It is 7 miles from Swindon, the nearest town, which lies off the M4 at the hub of Britain’s motorway network.

Bath, Cheltenham, Bristol and Oxford are all within an hour’s drive and London less than two hours away by car.

All visitors must be pre-booked in at reception by the person they are visiting on the campus.

For further location and travel details

How to apply

To apply for this course please use the online application form.

Read our Professional development (CPD) booking conditions.