Explosive Evaluation: Gelled Nitromethane and Slurry as Military Bulk Explosive Systems.
ARMY ENGINEER WATERWAYS EXPERIMENT STATION VICKSBURG MISS
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A bulk explosive was developed for the ESSEX program which was funded by Defense Nuclear Agency and OCH. This system uses nitromethane, a special gelling agent, and a mixing unit to produce gelled nitromethane. This product has many characteristics that are similar to slurry blasting agents. A slurry is a blasting agent which is a mixture of an oxidizer and a fuel or sensitizer in a liquid medium, thickened with a gum and gelled with a crosslinking agent for water resistance. The chemically active ingredients in most slurries are ammonium nitrate, water, and sometimes sodium nitrate or aluminum. Nitromethane is a nitroparaffin made by vapor phase reaction between nitric acid vapor and propane at high temperature and presence. It is concluded that at present, an aluminized slurry system offers the best alternative for an Army bulk explosive system. Research has been extensive in the slurry industry and rapid advances have been made in the technology. High-energy slurry products are available which are excellent cratering explosives. The problems of slurry mentioned in this report have not been considered problems in industrial operations, and thus have not been adequately addressed. Gelled nitromethane could be considered as an alternative to a slurry system if the difficulties peculiar to slurries cannot be overcome.
- Inorganic Chemistry
- Ammunition and Explosives