Science and Technology of Energetic Materials

Vol.63, No.4 (2002)

Research paper

Low vulnerability, high performance, and superior aging of plastic bonded explosives
Hitoshi Miyoshi


The primary characteristics of PBXs (Plastic Bonded Explosives) are low vulnerability, high performance, and superior aging, compared to the conventional explosives, i.e. TNT, Comp B, Octol and so on.
Chugoku Kayaku, Chuka, has been engaged in the study of PBXs for 22 years. In 1980, Chuka licensed production technology for PBXN - 4. We proceeded to press the PBXN - 4 molding powder and processed it with a lathe. We discovered that the performance and safety of PBXs were excellent. In 1983, Chuka initiated a study of castable PBXs using PBXN - 105 as a baseline. We also licensed the production of PBXN - 3, PBXN - 5 and PBXN - 301. Assisting in our development and study efforts was the fact that Chuka had the extensive experience in the production and quality control of HMX, RDX, and HNS (Hexamitrostilbene), which were the primary ingredients in PBXs. The development of PBXs has progressed smoothly. In order to differerentiate Chuka's developed PBXs from others, we devised a naming convention. Chuka's PBXs were referred to as PBXK - C1106, PBXK - P1205 or PBXK - E6201. K stands for the initial letter of Chuka's president, Mr, Kozu. C means castable, P pressable, and E extrudable, respectively. The first digit of four figures means the main explosive that is comprised in the PBX; l is HMX, 2 RDX, 3 CL - 20 (Hexanitrohexaazaisowurtzitan), 5 NTO (3 - nitro - 1,2,4 - triazol - 5 - one), 6 PETN. The Second digit is the type of binder systems ; I is energetic binder, 2 insert binder. The third and fourth digits are consecutive numbers relating to the order of development.
In this paper, we will present our three developmental results of 2 PBXs as well as a combined composition study. The first composition is a low vulnerability PBX that consists of NTO, HMX, and binder. Shock sensitivity test, fast cook - off test, and other various tests were conducted. The results were ascertained safety performance. The second PBX studied consists of CL - 20 and binder. This PBX has a high performance for metal acceleration. Detonation velocity for this PBX is about 8700 m s-1. Since this PBX has a high flowability, loading it in complex shaped charge warheads is very easy. The third presented result is an aging study of 6 types of PBXs. In terms of aging theory for PBXs, we have identified no prevailing mechanism. We think that the real age exploration is the best way for confirming the aging phenomena. Since 1995, we have been conducting a variety of evaluation tests for the aged PBXs. These tests included detonation velocity, under water explosion, card gap sensitivity, friction sensitivity, drop hammer sensitivity, DTA (Dimerential Thermal Analysis), TG (Thermal - gravinetry), tensile parameters test,vacuum stability test and nondestructive testing. Most studied PBXs of good aging performance were confirmed.

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