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Title: A Literature Review of Shock Sensitivity Changes of TATB Due to Thermal Cycling

Insensitive high explosives (IHEs) based on 1,3,5-triamino 2,4,6-trinitro-benzene (TATB) are the IHEs of choice for use in nuclear warheads over conventional high explosives when safety is the only consideration, because they are very insensitive to thermal or mechanical initiation stimuli. It is this inherent insensitivity to high temperatures, shock, and impact, which provides detonation design challenges when designing TATB explosive systems while at the same time providing a significant level of protection against accidental initiation. Although classified as IHE, over the past few years the focus on explosive safety has demonstrated that the shock sensitivity of TATB is influenced with respect to temperature. A number of studies have been performed on TATB and TATB formulations, plastic bonded explosives (PBX) 9502, and LX-17-01 (LX-17), which demonstrates the increase in shock sensitivity of the explosive after it has been preheated or thermally cycled over various temperature ranges. Many studies suggest the change in sensitivity is partly due to the decomposition rates of the temperature elevated TATB. Others point to the coefficient of thermal expansion, the crystalline structures of TATB and/or the combination of all factors, which create voids which can become active hot spots. During thermal cycling, TATB is known to undergomore » an irreversible increase in specific volume called ratchet growth. This increase in specific volume correlates to a decrease in density. This decrease in density and increase in volume, demonstrate the creations of additional void spaces which could serve as potential new initiation hot spots thus, increasing the overall sensitivity of the HE. This literature review evaluates the published works to understand why the shock sensitivity of TATB-based plastic bonded explosives (PBXs) changes with temperature.« less
  1. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States); New Mexico Inst. of Mining and Technology, Socorro, NM (United States). Dept. of Mechanical Engineering
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), Office of Defense Programs (DP) (NA-10)
Country of Publication:
United States
38 RADIATION CHEMISTRY, RADIOCHEMISTRY, AND NUCLEAR CHEMISTRY PBX 9502; hot spot; TATB; shock sensitivity; LX-17; thermal cycling; ratchet growth