News | Jun 5, 2019

Goodbye TNT, we won’t miss you

Army researchers are developing safer, longer-lasting explosive materials with more power

Army chemists are working to retire TNT after 117 years of use.

Brienne Collins Miller/DOD

Army chemists are patenting a new melt-castable explosive material for replacing Trinitrotoluene, commonly known as the explosive TNT.

The Army Research Laboratory‘s patent application for bis-isoxazole diol published in February 2019 listing inventors Jesse Sabatini, Gregory Drake, Leah Wingard, and Eric Johnson.

After adding nitrogen for a 6-10 hours, the compound becomes 3,3′-bis-isoxazole-5,5′-bis-methylene dinitrate, or BIDN.

BIDN has better sensitivity and energetic characteristics than other TNT-based melt-castable formulations, meaning it has a better shelf life and releases more energy when detonated, according to the patent application, which can now be licensed by qualified U.S. companies that would make, use, or sell BIDN.

It also produces less toxic vapors.

Dr. Brian Metzger, a senior technology manager at TechLink, is guiding businesses through the technical evaluation and licensing of BIDN.

“BIDN could be the new Comp-B found in artillery shells and grenades, but it also works as a plasticizer for blasting gels,” Metzger said. “There’s all sorts of military and commercial applications for energetics and propellants. And I think manufacturers and customers are ready to say goodbye to TNT.”


TechLink is the Department of Defense’s partnership intermediary for technology transfer. Its licensing services are provided at no charge. Businesses that want to evaluate and license BIDN can reach TechLink’s Brian Metzger at brian.metzger@montana.edu or 406-994-7782.