L-158 Sensitivity of Nanoscale Energetic Materials I - High Explosives

June 2009
Dr Ernst-Christian Koch (Energetic Materials), Dirk Schaffner (Trainee) Technical University of Kaiserslautern, Germany

Nanoscale explosive particles like RDX, HMX, TATB, PETN, HNS and NTO show a distinct reduction in impact and shock sensitivity compared to micron sized particles. A reduction of the melting point of many explosives is seen upon introduction of nanosized particles. However, to date (July 2009) no sound data on the influence of particle size of explosives on either chemical or thermal stability exist. Pressed formulations based on micron sized explosive particles containing nanoscale aluminium particles show altered impact and shock sensitivity compared to the corresponding baseline formulations. However, with melt-cast explosives based on TNT a sensitization towards impact is observed with increasing aluminium content. The same applies for cure cast explosives based on GAP.

High explosives deposited in inert mesoporous structures such as charcoal or transition metal oxides show reduced mechanical sensitivity compared to the sensitivity of binary mixes of these components. However, the onset temperature of decomposition reactions is greatly reduced indicative of a reduced thermal stability in both charcoal and transition metal oxide matrix. 28 references taken from the public domain are given.

A follow-up report (Part II) deals with the sensitivity and safety of nanoscale pyrolants.