Microscopic Characterization of Defect Structure in RDX Crystals
NETHERLANDS ORGANISATION FOR APPLIED SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH Delft Netherlands
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Three batches of the commercial energetic material RDX, as received from various production locations and differing insensitivity towards shock initiation, have been characterized with different microscopic techniques in order to visualize the defect content in these crystals. The RDX crystals are embedded in an epoxy matrix and cross-sectioned. By a treatment of grinding and polishing of the crystals, the internal defect structure of a multitude of energetic crystals can be visualized using optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy and confocal scanning laser microscopy. Earlier optical micrographs of the same crystals immersed in a refractive index matched liquid could visualize internal defects, only not in the required detail. The combination of different microscopic techniques allows for a better characterization of the internal defects, down to inclusions of approximately 0.5 min size. The defect structure can be correlated to the sensitivity towards a high-amplitude shock wave of the RDX crystals embedded in a polymer bonded explosive. The obtained experimental results comprise details on the size, type and quantity of the defects. These details should provide modellers with relevant and realistic information for modelling defects in energetic materials and their effect on the initiation and propagation of shockwaves in PBX formulations.