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Recovery and Reuse of HMX/RDX from Propellants and Explosives (150 lbs/day Pilot Plant)

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Cost and performance rept.

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DoD has over 21,352 tons of HMX-containing and 14,545 tons of RDX-containing materials in the Resource Recovery and Disposition Account RRDA and expects to generate several thousand more tons over the next five years 1. These materials are currently destroyed by open burning and open detonation OBOD. These destructive means of disposal cause environmental problems, due to the release of toxic by-products into the environment. Also, a valuable resource is lost when these explosives are destroyed. TPL, Inc., at Ft. Wingate Army Depot, Gallup, New Mexico, under contract to Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division NSWC Crane, demonstrated a technology for the recovery of HMX and RDX from LX-14 and Composition A-3 for reuse applications. TPL s process involved solubilizing or melting the explosives binders with either acid or hot water surfactant solution, then separating the explosive from the binder solution by centrifugation. A single facility capable of processing 150 lbs per day of both types of explosives was designed and successfully demonstrated. This technology was developed to provide DoD with a means of recovering high-value energetic materials. A facility capable of recovering different types of energetics was of interest. The recovered materials were expected to be of high purity at a high yield and meet Military Specifications. In order to evaluate the versatility of the system for recovering two different explosives, TPL performed a two-day demonstration of the recovery of HMX from LX-14 and also a two-day demonstration of the recovery of RDX from Composition A-3. The demonstrations were performed between March 21-25, 1999 2. The recovered RDX and HMX were of high purity at a high yield and had melting points comparable to those of pure RDX and HMX. The DoD has been disposing of excess, obsolete, and unserviceable munitions via OBOD for decades. Public awareness has prompted the DoD to look for alternative methods of disposal.

Subject Categories:

  • Ammunition and Explosives
  • Solid Wastes and Pollution and Control

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