O-094 Insensitive Munitions: The Effect of Ageing upon Life Cycle

December 2004
Duncan Watt (Energetic Materials)

The effects of ageing of energetic materials and related technologies, and the consequences for Insensitive Munitions (IM) are of increasing interest to the munitions community. Around the world, more IM systems, containing reduced vulnerability energetic formulations and other IM technologies, are being introduced into service. NIMIC/MSIAC has been tasked by its member nations to review and collate relevant literature data in this area to help determine the consequences of ageing upon IM.

In this paper, a summary of some of the issues of concern are presented including:

  • Mechanisms for degradation of new energetic materials for IM applications focusing on inert and energetic PBXs, along with composite rocket propellants;
  • Techniques and procedures used to monitor the physical changes caused by ageing;
  • Conditions used for accelerated ageing experiments;
  • What effect age induced changes in materials properties have upon IM performance;
  • Modelling of ageing mechanisms and the potential to simulate, via predictive models, its effect upon overall munitions response.

In addition to providing a brief snapshot on the current development in the area of ageing analysis, this report will also provide an introduction to the NIMIC/MSIAC workshop to be held to draw together experts in the field to discuss the topic. This workshop, planned for mid-2005, will allow experts to review the key factors relating to the mechanisms, testing and modelling procedures, surveillance issues and life cycle effects of ageing upon IM. The two key factors to be analyzed at the workshop are (1) the effect of ageing upon the IM signature over time (Safety related), and (2) the effect of using reduced vulnerability energetic materials, and other IM technologies, upon the length of the munitions life cycle (Cost Benefit related). The results of the workshop will provide a thorough overview of this topic and provide support for the development of NATO standards in this area. The paper is the compilation of the work of various authors around the world. NIMIC/MSIAC is grateful for the on-going supply of information made available to facilitate this task.

Presentation details

This paper was presented to the IM & EM Technology Symposium held on 15-17 November 2004 in San Francisco, CA, USA