L-250 Defect Detection And Characterization Capability Study For Energetic Materials
May 2020Mr. Rodrigue Barlerin (ENSTA Bretagne), Dr. Kevin M. Jaansalu (MSIAC), Dr. Matthew Andrews (MSIAC), Mr. Matthew Ferran (MSIAC)
Defects in energetic materials or munitions can alter their safety and performance characteristics, potentially leading to failure and causing serious damage to military equipment and injury to service personnel and the public. It is important to be able to inspect munition systems to detect any possible defects inside them and therefore assess their safety. The detection process can be a destructive one, like cutting the material in two pieces, but since the end of WWII significant advances have been made in the domain of Non-Destructive Testing (NDT), and various non-destructive methods of detecting defects now exist. This report aims to explain the different approaches to inspecting items, and also aims to establish what techniques fit best at detecting some specific categories of energetic material defects. Ultrasonic testing and eddy current testing can detect some defects well but since their penetration power is low their results are relatively more difficult to interpret, thus they are not the prominent techniques.The best and most prominent technique is X-ray computed tomography which naturally leads to further automation. The very detailed results that can be provided by neutron techniques might lead to more widespread adoption in the industry, but for now they are still very expensive.