Army

Explosive delay

High-performance, environmentally friendly, charge trigger

Military Technology

Pyrotechnic delay compositions are widely used for a variety of military, industrial, and civilian applications including mining explosives, fragmentation munitions, igniters, flares, smoke generators, and fireworks. Typically, ignition pyrotechnics (those used as a delay and which trigger a main charge) are composed of a fuel or fuel composition with elements such as aluminum, tungsten, silicon, boron, and magnesium mixed with an oxidizer or combination such as perchlorates, chlorates, nitrates, and metal oxides. These ingredients readily react in exothermic, reduction-oxidation type reactions to produce the desired triggering effect. Many of these ingredients are hazardous to the environment and toxic to humans. However, these materials continue to be used due to their reliability and performance. Key aspects of current formulations are that they work well in typical zinc alloy or aluminum casings where heat loss is a concern and they produce very little gas (pressure) when ignited. Heat loss into the casing can cause the ignition to fail and gas production can cause a rupture in the casing prior to main explosive ignition.

Army researchers have addressed the above environmental shortcomings of delay compositions with novel titanium/carbon and nickel/aluminum powders. These two binary compositions are mixed together in a specific order and ratio to yield various propagation rates. While environmentally friendly, the mixtures maintain critical performance qualities of high-heat transfer and low-gas production.

Parties interested in this technology may also want to look at the Army’s related US patent 9,255,040.

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