Sectioned high explosive anti-tank round with the inner shaped charge visible
1: Aerodynamic cover; 2: Empty cavity; 3: Conical liner; 4: Detonator; 5: Explosive; 6: Piezo-electric trigger
A shaped charge is an explosive charge shaped to focus the effect of the explosive's energy. Various types are used to cut and form metal, to initiate nuclear weapons, to penetrate armor, and to "complete" wells in the oil and gas industry. A typical modern lined shaped charge can penetrate armor steel to a depth of 7 or more times the diameter of the charge (charge diameters, CD), though greater depths of 10 CD and above have been achieved. Contrary to a widespread misconception, the shaped charge does not depend in any way on heating or melting for its effectiveness, that is, the jet from a shaped charge does not melt its way through armor, as its effect is purely kinetic in nature.