Anything that reacts and releases energy can
explode if the energy released is fast enough.
The explosion is caused by the energy being unable
to be contained in the small space of the
chemicals. The more reactive the chemicals, and
the smaller the space in which they are confined,
the easier it will be to have an explosion.
Here's an example for you: think about
gunpowder. If you just have a pile of gunpowder
and light it, it will burn - it will not explode.
This is because the hot gasses produced by the
burning can go into the air without having to
force their way out. Thus, no explosion.
Now, think about a firecracker: you have
gunpowder wrapped up in a small tube of paper that
holds the gasses in. Light the gunpowder now, and
it will have to burst out of the wrapper. This
creates a small shockwave - the loud "crack" that
you hear - in other words, an explosion.
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