Accession Number:



Cowboy Trails. Phase I. Small-Scale Explosive Tests in Salt Domes. Part 1. Goals, Methods and Conclusions. Part 2. Experimental Program

Descriptive Note:

Final rept. Jun 1979-Jun 1980

Corporate Author:


Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



The energies of stock chemical explosives CEs most often vary with confinement. In Phase I of the Cowboy Trails program CE spheres were fired in dome salt, in mines near Hockley and Grand Saline, Texas. The Hockley charges weighed approx. 20-30 gm and those at Grand Saline approx. 75 gm. All were center-lit and buried deeply enough for containment. From the volumes of the resulting cavities and the known energy of one of the CEs PETN, an energy, e sub o, of 4.50 kilojoules kj per gram was found for nitromethane NM, another of the CEs. Constancy of the ratio of cavity-volume-increase Delta V sub C to the energy E released, which theory and experiment both roughly aver, underlay the deduction of e sub o. On that basis, values of e sub o were also found for RDX, and for TNT at loading densities of 1.59 and 1.21 gmcc. For Pelletol, tamped as in Project Cowboy, e sub o then becomes accessible via Cowboy-size bursts Phase II safety precludes the use of PETN at that scale, and NM takes its place. NMs e-value is now uncertain to the extent of approx. 8 the r.m.s. scatter of its measured values is approx. 5. Cavities blown in the domes at Hockley and Winnfield, La. had the same Delta V sub cE-value, within a margin of error set by the uncertainty in e sub o for Pelletol. Likewise, it appears that the change of dome and scale from Hockley to Grand Saline had no significant effect on Delta V sub c per unit mass of PETN, while Delta V sub C increased by approx. 8 per unit mass of NM. if so, then e sub o varies with charge-size for the small masses of NM in Phase I.

Subject Categories:

  • Ammunition and Explosives
  • Explosions

Distribution Statement: