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On the reliability of sensitivity test methods for submicrometer-sized RDX and HMX particles

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Author: Radacsi, N. · Bouma, R.H.B. · Krabbendam-La Haye, E.L.M. · Horst, J.H. ter · Stankiewicz, A.I. · Heijden, A.E.D.M. van der
Source:Propellants, Explosives, Pyrotechnics, 6, 38, 761-769
Identifier: 485649
doi: doi:10.1002/prep.201200189
Keywords: Industry · Friction · HMX · Impact sensitivity · Nanosized energetic materials · RDX · Industrial Innovation · Fluid Mechanics Chemistry & Energetics · EM - Energetic Materials · TS - Technical Sciences


Submicrometer-sized RDX and HMX crystals were produced by electrospray crystallization and submicrometer-sized RDX crystals were produced by plasma-assisted crystallization. Impact and friction sensitivity tests and ballistic impact chamber tests were performed to determine the product sensitivity. Rather than reflecting the quality of the particles, we found the sensitivity tests to be unreliable for submicrometer particles. The used impact test was not accurate enough, while in the friction and ballistic impact chamber tests the submicrometer-sized crystals were distributed among the grooves of the porcelain plate or among the grains of the sandpaper used in these tests. These observations stress the need for revisiting the current standards used for determining the hazardous properties like friction and impact sensitivity of energetic materials in the case, where the sample consists of submicrometer-sized crystals. Recommendations were suggested to develop new test methods that only use the interactions between the particles and therefore allow the application of sensitivity tests for submicrometer/nano-sized energetic materials. Copyright © 2013 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.