L-298 Review of Energetic Materials Qualification Tests - Part 2: Impact Sensitivity

February 2024
Alexane Esposito, Christelle Collet

In the frame of energetic materials qualification (EMQ), sensitivity to impact is considered
part of the required information about small-scale sensitivity of energetic materials. The
impact test is intended to reproduce the potential response of an energetic material when
subjected to impact, as typically encountered during explosives processing and handling at
laboratory scale. However, many impact test machines and assessment methods exist and
multiple factors can influence impact sensitivity measurements. The following report aims to
review the main sensitivity tests involved in the energetic materials qualification process,
and how the impact sensitivity test results are affected by the test environment and the
material properties.

A total of nine impact tests were analysed and their characteristics have been compared,
with a particular focus on the most commonly used tests (BAM impact, Rotter impact, and
ERL type 12 tool tests) which are extensively described in dedicated sections. The main
parameters affecting the impact sensitivity of a given energetic material are the testing
environment, the ingredient morphology, the internal defect density and the particle size.
Some empirical correlations have also been proposed to predict the impact sensitivity by
correlating it with other parameters such as the molecular structure, the electrostatic
sensitivity, the thermal decomposition or the friction sensitivity. However, none of these
parameters seem to consistently determine the impact sensitivity of a compound.

Contact us for more information

Christelle Collet
Propulsion Technology TSO
+32 2 707 54 47