Title:
RDX EXPLOSIVE AND METHOD
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method for producing particulate RDX is provided. RDX is dissolved and then precipitated with the precipitated RDX being separated from the mixture of solvent and anti-solvent and dried. The RDX has an increased insensitivity, i.e., it is more resistant to shock or impact stimuli and has a morphology characterized by a smooth surface and small particle size as formed.



Inventors:
Lee, Kien-yin (Santa Fe, NM, US)
Laintz, Kenneth Edward (Los Alamos, NM, US)
Application Number:
11/877973
Publication Date:
04/30/2009
Filing Date:
10/24/2007
Assignee:
LOS ALAMOS NATIONAL SECURITY, LLC (Los Alamos, NM, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
149/92
International Classes:
C06B25/34; C06B45/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
MCDONOUGH, JAMES E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HUSCH BLACKWELL LLP (St. Louis, MO, US)
Claims:
1. A method of making particulate RDX, the method including: dissolving RDX in a solvent forming a first solution; adding an anti-solvent to the first solution, said anti-solvent being substantially miscible with the solvent and agitating the mixture; precipitating out at least a portion of the RDX; separating the precipitated RDX from the solvent and anti-solvent; and drying the separated RDX.

2. The method of claim 1 wherein the solvent being at a temperature of less than about 5° C. during at least a portion of the precipitation.

3. The method of claim 1 wherein the agitation and the temperature of the solvent during at least a portion of the agitation being sufficient to produce precipitated RDX that after drying the RDX has an average particle length of less than about 20 microns on average.

4. The method of claim 3 wherein at least a majority of the dried RDX particles being generally rod like in shape.

5. The method of claim 4 wherein at least a majority of the dried particles have a surface substantially free of sharply defined surface imperfections when viewed under a magnification of 5000×.

6. The method of claim 4 wherein at least a majority of the dried particles have a surface substantially free of surface imperfections larger than about 2 microns.

7. The method of claim 1 wherein the solvent including acetone.

8. The method of claim 7 wherein the anti-solvent including hexane.

9. The method of claim 8 wherein the solvent being at a temperature of less than about 0° C. during at least a portion of the precipitation.

10. The method of claim 1 wherein the dissolving and precipitation being conducted at a pressure of about one atmosphere absolute.

11. An RDX product in particulate form with the average size of the particles being less than about 20 microns in length as formed.

12. The RDX product of claim 11 wherein at least a majority of the particles being generally rodlike in shape.

13. The RDX product of claim 12 wherein at least a majority of the particles having a surface substantially free of sharply defined visual imperfections.

14. The RDX product of claim 12 wherein at least a majority of the particles having a surface substantially free of surface imperfections larger than about 2 microns.

15. The RDX product of claim 11 wherein the RDX product having a resistance to impact stimuli of at least 25 cm as measured by Type 12 impact sensitivity testing using an ERL testing machine.

16. The RDX products of claim 11 contained in an explosive device.

17. An RDX material in as formed particulate form having a resistance to impact stimuli of at least 25 cm as measured by Type 12 impact sensitivity testing using an ERL testing machine.

18. The RDX material of claim 17 having a resistance to impact stimuli of at least about 30 cm as measured by Type 12 impact sensitivity testing using an ERL testing machine.

19. An RDX material in as formed particulate form having a resistance to impact stimuli of at least equal to HMX as measured by Type 12 impact sensitivity testing using an ERL testing machine.

Description:

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERAL RIGHTS

This invention was made with government support under contract number DE-AC52-06NA25396 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The government has certain rights in the invention.

BACKGROUND OF INVENTION

RDX is a common explosive both as a single compound explosive and as mixed with other explosives and additives. The explosive is effective in most regards but it has been a desire for some time to make the explosive more resistant to shock or impact detonation.

One of the desirable features of RDX explosives is that it can be molded in combination with a polymer, to fix the shape of the explosive for various purposes which are well known in the industry. Attempts have been made to reduce the sensitivity to shock or impact stimuli, hereinafter impact stimuli for convenience. For example, according to the article entitled Reduced Sensitivity RDX (RS-RDX) Part I: Literature Review and DSTO Evaluation, issued by DSTO Systems Sciences Laboratory located in Australia and dated July 2003, attempts were made to reduce the sensitivity of RDX to impact stimuli. However, according to this report, success was achieved only for reducing the sensitivity of the RDX when it was combined with the polymer for subsequent forming into shapes. The freestanding or natural RDX explosive was apparently not improved for impact resistance.

It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide an improved RDX explosive that is more difficult to initiate an explosion from impact or shock.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

The present invention involves the provision of an improved RDX explosive that has a resistance to impact stimuli of at least 25 cm. The present invention also involves the provision of an RDX explosive in particulate form having a substantial portion of the particles with an average particle size of less than about 20 microns in length and preferably has an exterior surface that is characterized by a substantial absence of dimples or other surface imperfections.

The present invention also involves the provision of a method of making an improved RDX explosive which involves dissolving an RDX explosive in a solvent. An anti-solvent and the RDX solution are then mixed to precipitate the RDX explosive out of solution in particulate form while the mixture is being agitated. The anti-solvent is miscible with the solvent. The precipitated RDX particles are separated and then dried. The dried RDX can be used as an explosive either as a freestanding explosive, mixed with other explosive material or in molded form using a polymer as a binder.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a photograph of the inventive RDX explosive taken with a scanning electron microscope at a magnification of 5000×.

FIG. 2 is a photograph of the inventive RDX explosive taken with a scanning electron microscope at a magnification of 200×.

FIG. 3 is a photograph of prior art RDX explosive taken with a scanning electron microscope at a magnification of 200×.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The acronym RDX stands for Royal Demolition Explosive. The chemical name for RDX is 1,3-trinitro-1,3,5-triazacyclohexane. It is a white powder and very explosive. It can be used alone as an explosive or mixed with other ingredients and explosives. RDX, in the method of the present invention, is first dissolved in a suitable solvent for example, acetone. Preferably, during the dissolving step and thereafter, the solvent and the formed solution are agitated with a suitable mixer. In lab experiments, it was found that a blade mixer operating at about 400 rpms was adequate to produce the inventive product. Preferably, the process is conducted at a temperature of less than about 5° C. and preferably less than about 0° C. The solution forming and precipitation steps can be conducted at atmospheric pressure, i.e., one atmosphere absolute pressure simplifying the production of the inventive RDX. After the solution of RDX and solvent is made, the solution and an anti-solvent are combined and agitation of this mixture is maintained during precipitation of the RDX. The anti-solvent needs to be substantially miscible and preferably completely miscible in the solution of RDX and solvent. The anti-solvent effects precipitation of the RDX out of solution during agitation of the mixture of solvent, anti-solvent and precipitating RDX and the RDX remaining in solution. After precipitation, the precipitated RDX is separated from the liquid components of the mixture. Separation can be by filtration, centrifugation or other suitable separating methods. The separated RDX is then dried by any suitable method and preferably under vacuum of at least about 17 inches of hg.

As seen in FIG. 1, the precipitated particulate RDX that has been separated and dried has somewhat rod like characteristics having a length to width ratio of at least about 2 to 1 and preferably at least about 3 to 1 on average in bulk. Preferably, at least a majority, by weight, of the dried particles are rodlike in shape. The size of the particles can be determined using scanning electron micrography where the particles are measured for size (two dimensionally) visually by comparing the particles to a scale. The particle size is determined by measuring the width or the minor dimension of the particles and the length or major dimension (as if the particles were straight). As seen in FIG. 1, the inventive particles are somewhat rodlike and can also be branched and/or curved. The RDX shown in FIG. 3 is a fairly typical RDX and is comprised of particles having more of an egg (obovoid) shape or potato shape. It can also be noted in FIG. 3 that the surface of the prior art RDX particles is rough having numerous so-called dimples or rather significant surface imperfections 1 with sharply defined edges. The surface of the inventive RDX seen in FIGS. 1, 2 is smooth and characterized by a substantial lack of the just mentioned surface imperfections at a magnification of 5000×.

The inventive RDX has a higher value of impact sensitivity, i.e., higher resistance to impact stimuli that is greater than or equal to currently available HMX (cyclotetramethylenetetranitramine) and at least 25 cm as measured by Type 12 impact sensitivity testing using an ERL testing machine and preferably at least about 30 cm. In bulk, the RDX particles have the following properties. A substantial portion of the particles, preferably at least about 75% and more preferably at least about 90% of the particles, have a size of about 5 microns, and preferably less than about 2 microns or less in width, W and a length L of less than about 20 microns and preferably less than about 15 microns on average as formed by precipitation (and without particle size reduction as by grinding) as measured on a branch 2 or stem 3. Preferably, a substantial portion and at least the majority of the particles, more preferably at least about 75% and most preferably about 90% of the particles are characterized by having a smooth outer surface characterized by a substantial absence of surface imperfections as described above. With regard to the surface imperfections, it is preferred that the surface of at least a majority of the particles be substantially free of sharply edged visual imperfections which are detectable visually at a magnification of 5000× and have a size of at least about 2 microns for the major dimension thereof in width or length. The inventive RDX may be used in an explosive device freestanding, in conjunction with other explosive materials and/or molded to shape in conjunction with a polymer binder.

The present invention is better understood by a description of a method used in the laboratory to produce the inventive particles. The process produced micron size particles as described with the unique as formed morphology described above. A solution of RDX in an acetone was prepared by dissolving 2.1 gram of conventional RDX (I-RDX) in 40 ml of acetone. The solution was set aside. A three necked one liter round bottom jacketed flask equipped with an overhead stirrer was charged with approximately 300 ml of hexane at 0° C. The jacketed flask can be used to maintain the temperature of the hexane at 0° C. The overhead stirrer was operating at approximately 400 rpm mixing the hexane. The solution of RDX in acetone was quickly poured through a funnel into the round bottom flask while maintaining agitation with the stirrer. Agitation was continued while the RDX precipitated out of the solution. After precipitation was completed, the mixture of hexane, acetone and precipitated RDX was filtered, and the precipitated RDX was collected on the filter media. The RDX was then dried under vacuum at a pressure of 17 mm Hg. This sample was then visually evaluated using a LEO Model 1525 field emissions scanning electron microscope. The photograph shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 is a portion of the RDX produced in the above example. FIG. 3 shows the I-RDX that was used to form the solution. This I-RDX had an impact resistance of 21 cm as measured by the above identified test.

Thus, there has been shown and described several embodiments of a novel invention. As is evident from the foregoing description, certain aspects of the present invention are not limited by the particular details of the examples illustrated herein, and it is therefore contemplated that other modifications and applications, or equivalents thereof, will occur to those skilled in the art. The terms “having” and “including” and similar terms as used in the foregoing specification are used in the sense of “optional” or “may include” and not as “required”. Many changes, modifications, variations and other uses and applications of the present invention will, however, become apparent to those skilled in the art after considering the specification and the accompanying drawings. All such changes, modifications, variations and other uses and applications which do not depart from the spirit and scope of the invention are deemed to be covered by the invention which is limited only by the claims which follow.