The most common military variety of pentolite (designated "Pentolite 50/50") is a mixture of 50% pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN) and 50% trinitrotoluene (TNT). (Unlike other compound explosives, the number before the slash is the mass percentage of TNT and the second number is the mass percentage of PETN). This 50:50 mixture has a density of 1.65 g/cm3 and a detonation velocity of 7400 m/s.
Civilian pentolite sometimes contains a lower percentage of PETN, usually around 2% ("Pentolite 98/2"), 5% ("Pentolite 95/5") or 10% ("Pentolite 90/10"). Civilian pentolites have a detonation velocity of about 7,800 metres per second.
- B. M. Dobratz & P. C. Crawford, LLNL Explosives Handbook, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, UCRL-52997, Change 2, January 31, 1985.