News | Feb 22, 2019

9 pyrotechnic inventions the US Army is licensing out

Businesses and entrepreneurs can commercialize federally owned technology

An M18 Smoke Grenade provides cover for a squad during Army Warrior Training on Chièvres Air Base, Belgium, March 29, 2018. (U.S. Army photo by Visual Information Specialist Pierre-Etienne Courtejoie)

The U.S. Army’s Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Chemical Biological Center is a powerhouse of smoke popping pyrotechnics.

For example, the Smoke & Target Defeat Branch produces new obscurants, non-lethal, flame and incendiary, aerodynamics and other unconventional technologies. The team develops new concepts, new materials, and the means to disseminate them.

This research and development is a potential pipeline of innovation for entrepreneurs and companies that can transition the inventions into real-world products.

And doing business with the Army has never been easier. With help from TechLink, companies can access the Chemical Biological Center through a variety of technology transfer agreements and funding mechanisms that can be initiated so your business can quickly access Army expertise, facilities, and the following inventions.

Smoke grenade with reduced fragmentation hazard

This grenade has a delay column that activates a primer after a predetermined time, at which point the primer initiates the burster tube. The delay is approximately one second and is sufficient to permit the fuze to travel far enough away from the housing body so that the fuze is not accelerated by the burster tube.

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Biocidal and sporicidal smoke grenade

This new biocidal smoke composition utilizes iodine pentoxide as the oxidizer and metal powder as the fuel. The chemical reaction for the production of the biocidal smoke cloud is a simple two reactant, two product system. The metal powder reacts immediately with the oxygen in the iodine material, producing a combination of metal oxide and iodine vapor. The iodine vapor has an immediate and effective biocidal activity that can be used to destroy infectious agents or other biological organisms upon contact.

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Reduced toxicity smoke screen compositions

Army researchers have identified lithium perchlorate (LiClO4) and boron as fundamental chemicals in a new smoke grenade. This composition has reduced toxicity that is produced without the use of organic liquids which add to air pollution. The composition produces boron oxide (B2O3) and lithium chloride (LiCl). A virtually undetectable amount of boron trichloride (BCl3) and chlorine gas may be by-products of the composition.

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Non-pyrotechnic, non-lethal spring powered disseminator

The initiator mechanism begins the delay timing countdown. The second compartment includes a delay fuze module and a cutting mechanism in contact with the cable. The delay fuze module processes the delay timing countdown, and upon expiration of the countdown, sends a signal to the cutting mechanism to cut the cable. When the cable cuts, the spring uncoils and pushes the piston, which forces the disseminating materials out of the body portion by rupturing the cover.

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An Army EOD technician prepares to destroy homemade explosives with an incendiary grenade in Afghanistan.

Christopher McCullough/Army

Composition of matter for an incendiary device and method of manufacture

The conventional AN-M14 incendiary grenade has a history of cold weather failure. Specifically, during testing the grenades underwent rapid deflagration blowing apart the item. This event poses a significant personnel and equipment hazard. The conventional formulation contains the toxic substance barium nitrate. Barium nitrate was used at the time of initial formulation because there was little concern about the toxicity of components in the formulation. This invention fixes those problems.

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Single canister selectable color smoke grenade

This invention provides increased versatility while reducing the weight-carrying burden for each soldier by allowing a soldier to carry one type of grenade to produce different color smokes. Color selection involves a simple twist of the upper portion of the grenade. The selectable color grenade is the same or nearly the same physical size as the current smoke grenades and still uses the M201 fuze or similar fuze to function the grenade.

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Flameless smoke pot

A heat generating pyrotechnic composition is disposed at a first end of the casing to generate heat which flows through the perforated tubes containing red phosphorous pellets to produce white phosphoric acid clouds of smoke.

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Non-pyrotechnic, non-lethal compressed gas disseminator

This riot-control grenade uses compressed carbon dioxide gas to push non-lethal fluidized CS powder out of the cylinder-shaped grenade. The actuating mechanism is a pull ring connected to a safety pin, which retains a spring actuated to a stab pin. When an operator pulls the ring to remove the safety pin, the stab pin is released and punctures the seal on the gas compartment.

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Safer, more environmentally friendly smoke screens

Army scientists have developed a pyrotechnic formulation to generate a smoke screen for obscuring effects and for ground-to-air signaling which provides excellent smoke effects but produces less toxic products than the conventional formulations.

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Headshot Image of Marti Elder, CLP

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