L-163 Insensitive Explosive Materials: III. Brief Status of IHE Materials Currently Considered

March 2010
Dr Ernst-Christian Koch (Energetic Materials)

Since the 1990’s a large number of insensitive energetic materials have been under consideration for insensitive munitions purposes, which includes some known since the late 19th century, such as TATB [1] and nitroguanidine [2]. Others, however, have only recently been developed.

It is the aim of the present report to briefly summarize the progress in the application of these materials to highlight their advantages and limitations, and to point out possible developments.

In general, the majority of these materials display an intriguing structural similarity that is believed to be responsible for the observed insensitive behaviour. The considered molecules comprise both sp3-hybridised nitrogen bonded to hydrogen and a sp2 hybridised nitrogen bonded to oxygen such as a nitro (NO2), oxadiazole (=N-O-N=) or azoxy (N=N-O) unit. The only insensitive compounds, which are an exception to this pattern are 2,4-dinitroanisole (DNAN), 1,3,3-trinitroazetidine (TNAZ) and 4,10-dinitro,2,6,8,12-tetraoxo-4,10-diazatetracyclo-[,9.O3,11]dodecane better known as TEX; the latter molecule has been described earlier [3].

Doherty and Simpson gave a comprehensive report on the then known insensitive molecules in 1997 [4]. Their paper and the way both performance and sensitivity were presented have been adopted in this report. However, a number of the then considered molecules (ADNBF, CL-14, DINGU, 2,4-DNI, LAX-112) have been disregarded in the present report as it turned out that there were no significant publications on these materials. In the meantime, however, new materials have entered the theatre and will be briefly discussed.

The detonation performance data have been calculated with CHEETAH 2.0 code [22]. The substances if inexistent were entered into formula.inp in subfolder /config and a standard run was performed with these materials at the indicated density (100 % TMD).

The sensitivity data on the pure substances and formulations were taken from the references given in the text and from EMC 3.8 [23]. The commercial availability of the considered materials has been checked and is now indicated together with a approximate price-index to give approximate information on the actual price.