Sensing Impacts of the Fate of Trace Explosives Signatures Under Environmental Conditions
EDGEWOOD CHEMICAL BIOLOGICAL CENTER ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND MD
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A fundamental understanding of the environmental fate and contributing mechanisms of explosives degradation is crucial for determining if emerging explosives sensor systems and concepts of operations are likely to provide effective capabilities since explosive residues vary on tactically relevant timescales. In support of trace explosives detection and sensor development, the temporal persistence and compositional evolution of trace military grade explosives were studied under both hot arid and mild temperate climate conditions as surrogate operational scenarios. The results indicate that for trace 10 microgram residues exposed to hot arid conditions in full sun, the half-life is 0.2-5 hours for TNT and 2-100 hours for RDX, while preliminary results for residues exposed to mild temperate conditions in partial sun, the half-life is 2-40 hours for TNT and on the order of 2 to 10 days for RDX. Degradation in both types of climate conditions are dictated by a combination of sublimation and photodegradation, which leads to the formation of an inhomogeneous mixture of degradations products.
- Ammunition and Explosives