Description: In searching for new explosives one is most concerned with performance (detonation velocity and pressure), thermal properties, and sensitivity. Whether a new candidate explosive is ultimately widely used may well be determined by other factors, such as cost, toxicity, melting point, etc., but the initial research effort is guided by the trinity of performance, thermal stability, and sensitivity. This presents a difficult multifactoral problem in assessing the various molecular properties that contribute to each of these principal selection criteria. For instance, detonation velocity is affected by density, elemental composition, and heat of formation. These factors must be varied together in such a way as to maximize the combined effect on performance. We have shown a relationship between impact and shock sensitivity and illustrated how a sensitivity index based on oxygen balance can be used to estimate sensitivity in closely related series of molecules. It is shown that the critical temperature of an explosive calculated by the Frank-Kamenetskii equation correlated fairly well with the shock sensitivity of the material. This supports the idea that the shock or impact initiation of an explosive is primarily a thermal event and not dominated by pressure driven chemistry. The concept of the ''trigger linkage'' in explosives is discussed and it is pointed out that insensitive explosives will require early chemistry that is thermomechanically neutral or endothermic and leads to the build-up of later strongly exothermic chemistry.
Date: January 1, 1989
Creator: Storm, C.B.; Stine, J.R. & Kramer, J.F.
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