Science and Technology of Energetic Materials

Vol.75, No.3 (2014)

Synthesis and characterization of a greener insensitive melt cast explosive
Guy Ampleman, Patrick Brousseau, Sonia Thiboutot, Serge Trudel, Pascal Beland, and Andre Marois


For the last two decades, DRDC Valcartier has been involved in the synthesis of energetic thermoplastic elastomers (ETPEs) based on Glycidyl Azide Polymers (GAPs). These ETPEs are copolyurethane thermoplastic elastomers, physically crosslinked rubbery materials that can be dissolved in organic solvent and recycled or can be used as the binder for insensitive melt cast explosives. The mechanical properties of these ETPEs were adjusted to serve as binders in melt cast explosive formulations and give the insensitive character to the formulations. An insensitive explosive named “XRT” for “eXperimental Rubbery TNT” was developed and led directly to the development of a new insensitive recyclable green explosive (GIM). A major project named “RIGHTTRAC” for “Revolutionary Insensitive Green and Healthier Training Technology with Reduced Adverse Contamination” was initiated two years ago and aims at producing a greener weapon. Work was conducted on XRT and GIM explosives to test their performance and sensitivity, their fate and behaviour into the environment, their recycling and value as ingredients to produce a greener munitions based on these concepts. Since ETPEs are recyclable, the ease of recycling and reuse of the ingredients of the new formulations at the end of their life cycle was studied. This paper will describe the syntheses of the ETPEs, the preparation of the XRT and GIM explosives and the results obtained so far describing their properties, insensitive character, recycling, fate and behaviour of formulations and ageing testing.

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thermoplastic, elastomer, GAP, XRT, GIM

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