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MIC Lead-Free Primer for Ammunition and Cartridge/Propellant Actuated Devices

The US Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head Division, seeks a partner to commercialize a military-grade lead-free primer for ammunition and other applications

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The Technology: 

Current primers for small and medium caliber ammunition predominately use lead styphnate based formulations that pose human and environmental hazards during the manufacturing and firing of ammunition. Nearly 12 tons of lead is consumed each year by the US military for small caliber ammunition primers alone. The vast majority of primer use by US military and domestic police forces (95%) is for training purposes, resulting in unsafe conditions at training ranges due to lead and other heavy metal residues. In response, the EPA and the FBI have designed lead as a primer ingredient that needs to be replaced and the DoD is under an Executive Order to reduce or eliminate hazardous substances wherever feasible.

The Naval Surface Warefare Center, Indian Head Division (NSWC-IH) has demonstrated MIC, a metastable intermolecular composite, designed to eliminate lead from the primers used in ammunition and cartridge actuated devices. The Al/Bi2O3 MIC composition provides comparable or superior performance to current military lead styphnate formulations such as FA-956 (No. 41 primer for all 5.56mm, 7.62mm and .50 cal ammunition) and 5086 (PVU-1/A primer for CAD/PAD applications). The NSWC-IH MIC primer does not contain compounds of lead, barium, or antimony, making it a truly environmentally friendly primer.

  • Free of Heavy Metals: Does not contain compounds of lead, barium, or antimony
  • Military Grade: Currently undergoing testing by the US Army for certification for use in small caliber ammunition primers
  • Broad Applications: Potential for use in small and medium caliber ammunition (up to 40mm), a variety of CAD/PAD (more than 3,100 different devices in use by the US Navy), and detonators
The Opportunity: 
  • Undergoing certification testing at the Army Research and Development Engineering Center for use in small caliber ammunition
  • Issued US Patent 7,670,446 and a detailed technical design package are available for license
  • Potential for collaboration with NSWC Indian Head researchers