Shaped Charge

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shaped charge

[′shāpt ′chärj]
An explosive charge with a shaped cavity that forces the impact of the explosion to the front so that there is an armor-piercing force. Also known as cavity charge.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Shaped Charge


a charge of explosive matter with a conical, spherical, or wedge-shaped hollow whose action is based on a cumulative effect.

The purpose of the shaped charge is the controlled destruction of solid materials. Shaped charges with a conical hollow—the height of which is equal to the diameter of the hollow opening and which has a metal lining (with a thickness of about one-thirtieth of the diameter of the hollow opening)—will pierce steel armor whose thickness is approximately four times the diameter of the hollow opening. Shaped charges are used in armor-piercing shells, in blasting caps, and for pulverizing odd-shaped rocks in quarries and breaking up other objects. A typical example of the use of shaped charges in military activity is in antitank rocket projectiles. These shells have a large hollow head which ensures that the shell explodes at the right distance from the obstacle so that its armor-piercing effect will be maximal. Another example is the linear shaped charge, which is elongated and has a metallined wedge-shaped hollow in the form of a trough. These charges are used to cut metal sheets, cores, and design elements, in particular when taking down surface and underwater structures.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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One of the most widely used protective solutions is to equip vehicles with systems that allow to mitigate or as much as possible distort the jet generated by the shaped charge. This can be done either by deforming or destroying the liner or by increasing the stand-off distance, although in the latter case much work will be left to the original armour of the vehicle.