Army

Melt-castable nitramine binders for explosive compositions

Enhanced detonation properties and improved safety

Materials

Development of explosive compositions for military applications has historically been motivated by the need for explosives with a high-energy output. The need for increased explosive performance of such high-energy munitions has become ever more important in modern military programs. However, increasing the energy output comes with an increased risk of unwanted detonation due to shock or friction. This problem has always plagued the military, but in recent years it has become more critical. As explosive power increases, the materials tend to become more sensitive and vulnerable to accidental detonation.

The explosive formulations developed to date using the techniques of melt-casting or plastic-bonding have not yielded high energy output explosives that demonstrate a low enough susceptibility to sympathetic detonation to be considered for use in insensitive munitions. Previous efforts have failed in this respect in that they did not discover the proper combination filler or binder – the chemical type or concentration level – to yield these properties.

Now, Army scientists and engineers have developed explosive compositions to address the long-standing issues of improving high energy output of detonable materials while simultaneously improving safety by decreasing the sensitivity to unwanted or other accidental detonation. The compositions and processes combine a melt-castable nitramine binder with a detonable energetic material, optionally with a laser shock velocity of 650 meters per second or greater, to form a detonable composition with the desired high-energy output and safety. These compositions that include a detonable energetic material and a melt-castable nitramine binder have a melting point of 150 degrees Celsius or below. The energetic material and melt-castable nitramine binder are intermixed, optionally with the detonable material added to the melted binder, to the point of saturation.

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