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William G. Proud et al- Recent Trends in Research on Energetic Materials at Cambridge

William G. Proud et al- Recent Trends in Research on Energetic Materials at Cambridge

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Recent Trends in Research on Energetic Materials at Cambridge
Central European Journal of Energetic Materials
(1), 67-102.
ISSN 1733-7178
Recent Trends in Research on Energetic Materialsat Cambridge
William G. PROUD, Stephen M. WALLEY
SMF Fracture and Shock Physics Group, Cavendish Laboratory, J.J. Thomson Avenue, Cambridge CB3 0HE, United Kingdom
 E-mail: smw14@cam.ac.uk 
Recent work in our laboratory has established a time-temperaturesuperposition law for a PBX. This was achieved by performing uniaxialcompression testing over a wide range of strain rates and temperatures along withDifferential Thermal Mechanical Analysis (DMTA). The classic WLF (Williams,
Landel, Ferry) transform was found not to t the shift factor needed to alignthe data whereas a simple log-linear t did. The thermal properties (diffusivity,
conductivity, heat capacity) of a PBX have been measured three different waysand found to agree (within experimental error) with the classic equation relating
these three parameters. This gives us condence that, for example, hot-spot ignition
mechanisms of this class of energetic materials can be accurately modelled usingtheir measured thermal properties. A modular instrumented testing facility has been designed and built to simulate and control the conditions experienced bynovel heavy-metal-free (green) primers contained within ammunition. Physical
data obtained from the facility, when compared with data from live re tests, will
give a greater understanding of which characteristics are important to functionality.As explosives are granular materials, the techniques developed for studying suchmaterials are being applied to determine the effect of particle size distributionand shape on sensitivity.
: Differential Mechanical Thermal Analysis, DMTA, polymer  bonded explosive, PBX, thermal properties, thermal diffusivity, thermalconductivity, green primers, green explosives, time-temperature equivalence,strain rate, EDC37, RDX, gap test, drop-weight, particle size distribution
W.G. Proud, S.M. Walley, D.M. Williamson, A.L. Collins, J.W. Addiss
The literature on mechanical energy release mechanisms of energeticmaterials is vast, amounting to many tens of thousands of papers and reports.By comparison, only a few hundred papers have been published on the shock or high strain rate properties of solid or powdered energetic materials consideredsimply as materials.However, it is increasingly desired to model the impact response of structures(e.g. artillery shells, rockets) containing energetic materials using numericalmethods [1, 2]. If meaningful numerical results are going to be obtained, itis important that constitutive relations are constructed which describe themechanical response of unreacted energetic materials over the temperatureand strain rate ranges of interest. With increasing concern about safe-handling, performance during use, changes in properties during storage, and transport of reactive materials, this area is presently amongst the most important in energeticmaterials research.Also of importance to numerical modelling are the thermal properties of thisclass of materials as this governs hot spot development and hence the buildup
to deagration and/or detonation.
Time-temperature superposition
Recently much progress has been made in establishing the nature of the
relationship between the temperature and the frequency/strain rate response of 
 both energetic materials and their inert simulants [3, 4]. It has been shown inthese studies that the character of the mechanical response of polymer-bondedexplosives (PBXs), for example, is governed by the polymer binder (Figure 1).One of the most important parameters is the adhesion between the energeticcrystals and the binder. Above the binder’s glass transition, cracks usually goaround the crystals ([5]; see also Figure 2
) whereas below the glass transition, thestiffness of the binder becomes comparable to that of the explosive so that cracksalso propagate through the crystals (see Figure 2
). This may have importantconsequences for sensitivity if the deformation is such that the crystal fracturesurfaces rub against one another.
Recent Trends in Research on Energetic Materials at Cambridge
Figure 1.
Storage modulus traces of binder and EDC37 powder samplesobtained using Differential Mechanical Thermal Analysis (DMTA).Region I is the glassy state, region II is the glass transition region,
region III is the rubbery plateau and region IV is viscous ow [3].
) (
Figure 2.
) Micrograph of a mode I crack propagating through an energeticmaterial where the temperature is above the glass transition of the binder. (
) Micrograph of a mode I crack propagating through anenergetic material where the temperature is below the glass transitionof the binder [5].Figure 3 presents stress-strain curves for a particular PBX (EDC 37) obtainedover 8 decades in strain rate. The data was obtained using six different machinesin three different laboratories. It can be clearly seen that the strain rate has
a strong effect on the yield and ow stresses, but no effect (within experimental

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