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Environmentally Conscious Process Development for the Production of Composite Propellants and Explosives


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A prototype Continuous Acoustic Mixing (CAM) device was redesigned to improve Clean-In-Place (CIP) capabilities based on RAM technology. The CAM-CIP was also designed to allow for temperature control of the mixed material and rated for mixing energetic material. A surrogate energetic formulation using water insoluble materials was developed by NAWCWD China Lake to simulate the viscosity and density of a standard PBX used by the US Navy. The continuous mixing and CIP processes were characterized on the prototype CAM-CIP system using measurements of the produced materials density, solids composition, maximum stress, maximum strain, and hardness. The models were developed to model the mixing and CIP behavior, and the models were used to design and manufacture an energetics rated CAM-CIP with temperature measurement and control capability. The new energetics rated CAM-CIP was characterized and optimized to produce surrogate energetic material at a maximum rate of 3 kg/min while providing good homogeneity and consistency. The CAM-CIP produces a significantly reduced waste stream (both volume and toxicity) during production and cleaning. The CAM-CIP also results in improved operator safety. The next phase of the project is to transition the CAM-CIP equipment and knowledge to NAWCWD China Lake to produce high energy formulations used by the DoD.



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