ARMY ARMAMENT RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT CENTER DOVER NJ LARGE CALIBER WEAPON SYSTEMS LAB
A thin layer chromatographic procedure was developed to identify alpha-TNT associated impurities in Composition B. The method involved reducing RDX and alpha-TNT levels in the solubilized Composition B sample before two- dimensional chromatographic developing. Impurities were identified after applying ethylenediamine reagent. Color development, fluorescence quenching, and R sub f values were compared to those established for a variety of impurities known to be present in Military Grade alpha-TNT. Six fragments from a Composition B warhead which did not premature but was taken from the same lot as those suspected of premature functioning and a control sample of Composition B obtained from the Holston Army Ammunition Plant were analyzed and compared. The analyses revealed the presence of m-nitrotoluene impurity in only the fragment samples suspected of premature initiation.