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A New Approach to Improving the Performance of Non-Ideal Explosives Containing Ammonium Nitrate

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Technical rept.

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The performance of Amatol and Amatex explosives in small diameters has been improved by substituting methylammonium nitrates for various fractions of the ammonium nitrate AN in these explosives and providing an intimate mixture with the balance of the AN through cosolidification e.g. co-melt, co- precipitate, mixed crystal. The results demonstrate that a rate limiting step which degrades performance e.g., species transport, can be partially overcome in some AN-containing non-ideal explosives. The components necessary to promote chemical reaction of the AN were made readily available by putting them in close physical proximity of the AN molecules. Depth of dent in a witness block was determined as a function of fraction of ammonium nitrate replaced. When tetramethylammonium nitrate was used, a peak in dent depth occurred at the CO balance point with ammonium nitrate, indicating synergism. With monomethylammonium nitrate, the dent depth increased with fraction of ammonium nitrate replaced, suggesting a replacement effect stronger than any synergism. Incompatibility of methylammonium nitrates with TNT limit practical use of explosives containing this combination. The results exemplify a new approach to enhancing munition performance by seeking to identify and control the rate- limiting step in an explosive and by the concomitant formulation of new explosives through the modifications made. The various facets of this approach are presented together with the associated problems of measurement and prediction of performance. The directions of future efforts are outlined.

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  • Ammunition and Explosives

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