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In the direct method of explosive consolidation, metal or ceramic powder to be consolidated is placed in a metal tube, which in turn is surrounded by a concentric cylinder of explosive. The explosive is detonated at one end so that the detonation front moves axially along the powder‐filled tube. The desired result is a crack‐free, uniformly consolidated rod with the density of the starting material. At present, the wall thickness of the hollow cylinder of explosive that best produces the desired result is determined by experiment. We present the results of computer simulations revealing details of this dynamic process that are difficult to obtain experimentally. The simulations show that the best thickness depends on the equations of state of both explosive and powder. Such simulations can guide changes to the experimental geometry, even when approximate equations of state are used, although the best explosive and its thickness must ultimately be determined by experiment.