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ARTILLERY comes in many forms for different types of warfare.

Bombs can vary greatly, and can be classified according to their use and the explosive material that they contain..

A nuclear bomb is the most extreme form of weapon

A nuclear bomb is the most extreme form of weaponCrédito: Getty

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A bomb is a weapon that emits an explosive exothermic reaction through a sudden and violent release of energy.

In simple terms a bomb is something that explodes very quickly and violently.

This can leave devastation in its wake, especially repeat bombings or continued artillery fire.

The word bomb is not normally used for explosives used in mining or construction, although they are sometimes colloquially referred to as such.

Bombs are different to shells due to the fact bombs use gravity to travel, while a missile is propelled through the air or water.


These bombs are dropped from aircraft and are designed to fly on a predictable trajectory.

This means a target can be hit as a plane, carrying the explosives, flies over a location.

Other bombs also fall under the category of aerial bombs such as the glide bomb which can be released at a larger distance.


Atualmente, the antimatter bomb exists only in the imagination of scientists and science fiction writers.

It is too costly and unreliable to produce for real warfare but it could theoretically exist.

This would use antimatter as a power source, explosive or propellant.

Atomic bomb

One type of nuclear bomb uses fission to release energy rapidly, this is often known as the atomic bomb.

The Manhattan Project, created during World War II, developed early work into nuclear fission.

While simple to make, the attainability of fissile nuclear material makes this unattainable for many governments.

Fission bombs have only been used twice in August, 1945 to attack the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Modern nuclear bombs are commonly thought to be the ultimate weapon and would result in mutually assured destruction if detonated.

more from nuclear weapons

How does a nuclear bomb work and can it be intercepted


How does a nuclear bomb work and can it be intercepted

Bunker buster

These bombs are designed to do exactly what they say on the tinbust bunkers.

The explosive is used when penetration of a heavily reinforced area is needed.

Predecessors to this bomb were known as earthquake bombs and designed to strike next to the target to crumble the foundations.

Their aerodynamic shape and heavy weight allow them to fall at speed, giving more impact power.

Cluster bomb

This bomb can be launched from the air or ground and contains smaller projectiles within it.

Often referred to asbomblets”, these smaller projectiles then explode or cause damage from the force of impact.

The bomblets are sometimes not camouflaged, creating humanitarian concern that they might be picked up by children if found unexploded.

This led to the Convention on Cluster Munitions treaty being signed by 123 nations and states, all dedicated to disarming cluster bombs.

Compressed gas

Also known as a propane bomb, these are more common in terror attacks.

The compression of gas in this device causes pressure to build leading to an explosion.

Two propane bombs were planted in the Columbine School massacre no 1999, but they failed to detonate.

High explosive

For this type there is a primary explosive which will detonate quickly, at a supersonic speed.

The explosive molecule will go from high to low energy, creating a shockwave.

The pressure from this wave causes the damage, as well as possible fragments of casings.

High explosive devices require a detonation with a blasting cap using another explosive.


Bombs cause damage when they detonate but incendiary explosives also cause fires.

They can also be used to damage machinery that needs fire to operate.

These can leave extensive ongoing destruction as the blaze continues to grow after the initial detonation.

Low explosive

These are the simplest and oldest type of bombs.

They need an explosive such as gunpowder to be mixed with fuel in order to produce hot gas upon ignition.

Such a low impact bomb tends to need to be used in large quantities to be worthwhile deploying in modern warfare.

Molotov cocktail

Commonly used by rioters, terrorists and criminals, a Molotov cocktail is known by many names.

Petrol bombs, bottle bomb and poor man’s grenade are just a few of the ways to refer to this simple but destructive weapon.

This is a breakable glass bottle with flammable liquid inside stoppered with an ignition such as a burning cloth.

Molotov cocktail was named satirically by Finnish troops after Vyacheslav Molotov, a Soviet foreign minister during the Winter War (1939).

Thermonuclear weapon

A second generation atomic bomb, using a combination of nuclear fission and nuclear fusion to detonate.

It allows a more efficient use of hard to get fissile materials, meaning it is more powerful than its atomic predecessor.

There are eight countries with thermonuclear weapons, five of which are listed as nuclear-weapon states under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, Incluindo Rússia, a nós e a Reino Unido.

Countries with nuclear power are commonly referred to as having a nuclear button, although this is a simplification.


Also called a vacuum bomb, this explosive uses oxygen to generate heat.

These can last longer than other forms of bombs due to their ability to utilise the oxygen around it.

The thermobaric bomb is made of nearly 100% fuel and can be used effectively against field fortifications like bunkers and tunnels.