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Horie © 2002 American Institute of Physics 0-7354-0068-7/02/$ 19.00
FACTORS AFFECTING SHOCK SENSITIVITY OF ENERGETIC MATERIALS
A. Chakravarty, M.J. Gifford, M.W. Greenaway, W.G. Proud, J.E. Field
PCS, Cavendish Laboratory, Madingley Road, Cambridge, CBS OHE. UK. Abstract. An extensive study has been carried out into the relationships between the particle size of a charge, the density to which it is packed, the presence of inert additives and the sensitivity of the charge to different initiating shocks. The critical parameters for two different shock regimes have been found. The long duration shocks are provided by a commercial detonator and the short duration shocks are imparted using laser-driven flyer plates. It has been shown that the order of sensitivity of charges to different shock regimes varies. In particular, ultrafme materials have been shown to be relatively insensitive to long duration low pressure shocks and sensitive to short duration high pressure shocks. The materials that have been studied include HNS, RDX and PETN. INTRODUCTION When a shock-wave is incident on an energetic charge, a number of parameters must be considered when determining whether detonation is likely to result. The nature of both the charge and the shockwave are important. In a very simplistic way a shock can be described by its pressure and duration (ignoring shock profile at this stage). For a shock to cause initiation it must be capable of creating sufficient chemical reaction to sustain it. Acting against this chemical reaction, to weaken the shock, are rarefactions due to the expansion of the material which, due to the subsonic flow of the material following the shock, will eventually reach the front. The relationship between the required pressure and duration for initiation is such that the shock level must be high enough to cause sufficient reaction to sustain the shock before the initial shock decays. If this criterion is met then a detonation will propagate in the charge. The magnitude and duration of a shock required for a particular charge to be initiated are dependent on the microstructure and chemistry of the charge. The microstructure is crucial in determining the
nature of hot-spots that are created in the charge and the chemistry is important in determining the response of the material to the presence of the hotspots. A large number of researchers have attempted to elucidate the role of hot-spots in the shock initiation of detonation. The reviews of the field given by Khasainov et al.^ and Dremin2 give a very complete account of the state of the literature on this subject. The present study has focussed on varying the density and grain size of the charges and the nature of the imparted shock in an attempt to alter the hotspot parameters and so determine the critical factors associated with them.
MATERIALS USED Both the pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN) and cyclotrimethylene trinitramine (RDX) were supplied in ultrafine and conventional forms by ICI Nobel Enterprises, Ardeer, U.K. The ultrafine powders have a primary particle size of ~1 pm and are produced by a proprietary process. The
conventional grain material has a particle size of about 180 urn. The hexanitrostilbene (HNS) used in these studies was supplied by DERA, Fort Halstead and came originally from Bofors AB in Sweden. The ultrafme form is known as HNS IV and has a grain size of less than a micron. The HNS IV was supplied both in a pure form and with pressing additives. In the case where zinc stearate and graphite were added to act as pressing agents, the additives contributed approximately 1% to the total mass of the material. The coarse grain HNS (known as HNS II) had a grain size that was typically of the order of 25 um.
The gaps that were used to mediate the shock pressure were discs of PMMA placed between the detonator and the surface of the column. A thin layer of silicone grease was used between all three components of the test in order to aid the reproducibility of the testing. PVDF gauges placed between the PMMA gap and another piece of PMMA in the charge position were used to obtain an indication of the shock pressure during a test. A typical trace from a PVDF gauge is shown in figure 1. Both photographic streak recording and brass witness plates were used to determine whether a detonation event had occurred during a test.
Short Duration Shocks
The HNS charges used for the short-duration shocks were 5 mm long, 5mm diameter cylinders contained within 25 mm diameter PMMA confinements. The charges were incrementally pressed into the confinements. The surface of the charges was polished with 2500 grade SiC paper to provide a consistent surface finish. The quality of the surface finish was checked using a Sloan DekTak II surface profilometer.
Two principal experimental methods were used during the course of the research described here. For the imparting of relatively long duration shocks, a gap testing geometry was used. When short high pressure shocks were required a system for generating laser-driven flyer plates was used.
Long Duration Shocks
The charges used in these experiments were incrementally pressed columns of either RDX or PETN. The confinements used were 25 mm long 25 mm diameter PMMA cylinders. The explosive columns were 5 mm in diameter. The donor charge used during the experiments was a PETN boosted C8 detonator which was found to have a reliable output in terms of the shock pressure produced. 0.3
1.0 Distance along scan (mm)
FIGURE 2. Profilometer traces from the Sloan DekTak II.
FIGURE 1. Typical trace from a PVDF gauge.
The laser-driven flyer launching system is described fully in previous publications from this laboratory-*"^ and details can also be found in the paper by Greenaway et al. in these proceedings. The system uses a Nd:YAG laser to accelerate flyers 1 mm in diameter and 5 um thick to velocities up to 8 mm us'1. On impact these flyers provide intense shocks lasting approximately 1 ns. The
energy of the pulse imparted to the flyer is controlled in order to determine the velocity of the flyer. Energies between 50 and 400 ml were accessed during this study. A Hadland Imacon 790 high speed image converter camera was used to provide streak photographs of the initiation events. The camera was triggered from the signal that fired the laser with a suitable delay added. These photos allowed calculation of the position of the initiation event within the column.
as measured using the PVDF gauges described previously. The gap required to prevent initiation of the RDX charges increased significantly in both the ultrafme and conventional materials as the porosity increased, but the ultrafine material was consistently less sensitive to this form of initiation.
Short Duration Shocks
The findings of this study into initiation by short duration shocks have been explained in some detail in the paper by Greenaway et al. within these proceedings. The results of this study involving laser-driven flyer plates are that HNS II could not be initiated with very short duration shocks at the energies available in that system, but that the HNS IV could be readily initiated with a go/no go threshold of about 250 mJ of laser pulse energy. The presence of zinc stearate and graphite as additives in some of the HNS IV acted to increase the flyer energy required for initiation of the charges to approximately 350 mJ.
Long duration shocks
Figure 3 shows the results of the experiments which used long duration shocks in a gap test geometry. These experiments were carried out on PETN and RDX in both ultrafme and conventional grain sizes. As can be seen the density was also varied in the RDX study in order to determine the effect that increased porosity has on the sensitivity of the charges. Although there is some overlap in the go/no go gaps for some of the densities, in general the experimental reproducibility was extremely high.
• o • n Ultrafine go Ultrafine no go Conventional go Conventional no go
D D D
"•-pa .......7_.. .. .....J
A A D
...... vVy. . :
V O D
HNSJV5' 70% TMD
HNSIV+addfives 65% TMD (Densfes are only approximate)
HNS II • 78%TMD :
FIGURE 3. Results of gap testing on RDX. Thresholds for PETN are also indicated.
FIGURE 4. Results of the laser-driven flyer tests. Filled objects denote a "go" result.
The ultrafme PETN at a density of 90% TMD had a critical gap of 3.68 ± 0.01 mm compared with a gap of 5.57 ± 0.02 mm for the conventional grain size material. These were shown to correspond to shock pressures of approximately 4.1 and 2.1 GPa 1009
The results of this study indicate a strong correlation between pressing density and sensitivity. Unfortunately due to the nature of the pressing technique employed and the powder, it was difficult to accurately reproduce a given density of charge. Within the limits of the study, it can be said that the charges pressed to a density of 65% TMD appear to be less sensitive than those pressed to 70% TMD.
Without performing a larger study, however, it is impossible to say what the exact nature of the dependence on density of the sensitivity is for this form of initiation.
This study together with previous studies carried out within this group has shown that simple orderings of materials by sensitivity cannot be done. It is not even possible to do this for sensitivity to initiation by shock as has been demonstrated here. The results of this study have shown that for a given situation, the sensitivity of the material is dependent on the chemistry, the grain size, the density of the charge and the nature of the shock itself. The way in which all of these variables determine the likely response of a charge to an insult can be linked to their effect on the distribution, nature and form of the hot-spots that are caused by the shock. It has been shown7"9 that the effect of increasing the shock pressure is to change the relative importance of the jetting and the gas compression in the process of pore collapse. As small pores are more effective for the rapid formation of hot-spots by jetting and large pores are more effective in the case of gas compression it seems that it may be the pore size rather than the grain size that is critical. In the case of the high pressure short duration shocks imparted by laser-driven flyers, the incident shock is not sufficiently large for it to cover an entire pore in the coarse material and so the releases will act to hinder collapse. These short shocks are, however, of sufficiently high pressure for jetting to be significant and this may well be the dominant mechanism in the ultrafine charges where the pores are extremely small. With the longer duration, lower pressure detonator-supplied shocks, the shock is sufficiently large to encompass whole gas spaces in both the ultrafine and the conventional powders. Due to the reduced pressure, jetting is a less important mechanism for hot-spot production than gas compression and as a result the larger pores that are found in the conventional charges are more conducive to the creation of hot-spots capable of causing reaction.
The effect of density on the sensitivity of the charges is caused by the change in the relative density of hot-spot nucleation sites compared to the density of material available for reaction. It appears from the results of the gap testing of the RDX that it is the number of available sites for hot-spots that determines the sensitivity (at least down to the density of 40% TMD that was used in this study). It is not so clear from the laser-driven flyer study that the same is true in this regime. The importance of good coupling between the energetic material and the hot-spot is more pronounced due to the short duration of the shock, so this may account for what appears to be a higher sensitivity of the more densely packed charge. Further research would have to be carried out with more emphasis on density in order to determine the optimum density for charge sensitivity in this shock regime.
The authors would like to acknowledge ICI Nobel Enterprises (Ardeer), U.K. and DERA, Fort Halstead for their support of this research. Dr. M. Cook of DERA is particularly thanked for useful comments that he has made.
1 B. A. Khasainov, A. V. Attetkov, and A. A. Borisov, Chem. Phys. Rep., 15, 987-1062 (1996). ^ A. N. Dremin, Toward Detonation Theory SpringerVerlag, Berlin, 1999. 3 S. Watson, PhD Thesis, University of Cambridge, 1998. 4 S. Watson and J. E. Field, J. Phys. D: Appl Phys. 33, 170-174(2000). 5 S. Watson, M. J. Gifford, and J. E. Field, J. Appl. Phys. 88, 65-69 (2000). 6 S. Watson and J. E. Field, J. Appl. Phys., 88, 3859 (2000). 7 J. P. Dear, J. E. Field, and A. J. Walton, Nature 332, 505-508(1988). 8 N. K. Bourne and J. E. Field, Proc. R. Soc. Lond. A, 435,423-435(1991). 9 J. E. Field, Accounts Chem. Res., 25, 489-496 (1992).
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