Clean, agile alternative binders, additives and plasticizers for propellant and explosive formulations
Clean, agile alternative binders, additives and plasticizers for propellant and explosive formulations As part of the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) a clean, agile manufacturing of explosives, propellants and pyrotechniques (CANPEP) effort set about to identify new approaches to materials and processes for producing propellants, explosives and pyrotechniques (PEP). The RDX based explosive PBXN-109 and gun propellant M-43 were identified as candidates for which waste minimization and recycling modifications might be implemented in a short time frame. The binders, additives and plasticizers subgroup identified cast non-curable thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) formulations as possible replacement candidates for these formulations. Paste extrudable explosives were also suggested as viable alternatives to PBXN-109. Commercial inert and energetic TPEs are reviewed. Biodegradable and hydrolyzable binders are discussed. The applicability of various types of explosive formulations are reviewed and some issues associated with implementation of recyclable formulations are identified. It is clear that some processing and weaponization modifications will need to be made if any of these approaches are to be implemented. The major advantages of formulations suggested here over PBXN-109 and M-43 is their reuse/recyclability. Formulations using TPE or Paste could by recovered from a generic bomb or propellant and reused if they met specification or easily reprocessed and sold to the mining industry.
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