SITIS Archives - Topic Details
Program:  SBIR
Topic Num:  DTRA05-002 (DTRA)
Title:  Novel Energetic Materials
Research & Technical Areas:  Materials/Processes, Weapons

Acquisition Program:  
  Objective:  Develop innovative new energetic materials and/or energy release processes that will lead to significant enhancements in destructive energy delivered on targets, and/or significant improvement in munitions effectiveness for weapons designed to defeat hard and deeply buried targets (HDBT), for use in military operations in urban terrain (MOUT), or to defeat weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Energetic materials and/or energy release processes that reduce risk of collateral damage while increasing energy delivered on these targets of interest are also sought.
  Description:  The Defense Threat Reduction Agency is seeking new and innovative energetic materials concepts that will enable and lead to development of much smaller, more effective weapons for use against potential threat targets in deeply buried and hardened tunnels, hardened bunkers, chemical and biological WMD, or targets expected to be encountered in MOUT. For MOUT and WMD targets in particular, reduction of the potential for collateral damage due to weapon operation is also highly important. Some general technology areas of promise in achieving these objectives include, but are not limited to, thermobaric and enhanced blast materials and formulations, reactive structural materials, intermetalic or other high heat-flux materials, nanometric energetic materials, and novel new chemical synthesis of detonable energetic materials or high heat-flux materials. Thermobaric and Enhanced Blast Materials/Processes. Enhancements to blast pressure, duration, propagation, and range of action are believed to be highly effective ways to improve lethality of blast-effect weapons, especially those designed for use within enclosed targets such as buildings, bunkers, tunnels and caves. Many blast-effect weapons were designed to take advantage of ambient air in a fuel-oxidizer reaction for enhanced effective energy density of the payload. The dynamic processes identified as important for effective, efficient use of thermobaric and enhanced blast weapons are many, but details of these processes are not yet well known or understood. They include: non-equilibrium detonation chemical kinetics; fuel (e.g., Aluminum particles or other) ignition and combustion behavior at high pressure; reaction product expansion and interaction with ambient air (including mixing and reaction); re-shock, reheat, re-ignition, additional mixing of expanding product cloud upon rebound with rigid boundaries or obstacles; and effects of charge-casing material and fragmentation on reaction kinetics. Research that improves the knowledge and understanding of these processes, and that manipulates or alters these processes to significantly enhance performance, is sought. Also sought is development of new, innovative types of energetic materials that enhance blast pressure, duration, propagation and range through processes other than those listed above. Examples include but are not limited to composite energetic particles having variable reaction rates to achieve high pressure energy release after distribution within the target volume; composite formulations containing components that act to enhance the ignition or reaction rate of fuel components, etc. Reactive Structural Materials. Most of the mass and volume of current weapon systems is not directly related to energy release at targets, but to other functions such as load-bearing (structural members, payload casing) or fragment formation (bomb casing), etc. If some of these other functions could be performed by an energetic material, total energy delivered by a given weapon could be increased, and/or weapon size could be reduced. Approaches to achieving energetic structural materials include but are not limited to consolidation of metal/metal-oxide mixtures, metal/fluoropolymer mixtures, or intermetalic mixtures, etc. Mixture and consolidation techniques that achieve strength approaching or comparable to that of structural metals and mass density approaching that of steel, while also providing energy density approaching that of RDX and controllable reaction initiation are particularly sought. Other Novel New Energetic Materials. In addition to the two examples given above, novel new chemistry or synthesis of non-detonable high heat-flux energetic materials, or of stable, detonable energetic materials having energy density significantly higher than that of traditional high explosive materials such as RDX, is also sought.

  PHASE I: Determine the scientific and technological merits, and the feasibility, of the innovative Novel Energetic Material and its energy release processes. Analyze requirements for initiation and reaction chemistry control, and identify approaches to achieve initiation and reaction control. Demonstrate proof-of-principle for the innovative Novel Energetic Material and its appropriate initiation and energy release processes, and measure energy release rates from laboratory samples. Demonstrate production of small gram quantities of the candidate material.
  PHASE II: Define key elements and requirements for scale-up of material production to produce quantities of material suitable for laboratory and field prototype phenomenology tests, typically in kilogram quantities. Demonstrate material production at kilogram level, and produce well-defined prototype product samples suitable for phenomenology tests. Conduct prototype phenomenology tests to characterize initiation and energy release processes, and measure reaction initiation thresholds and energy release rates. Produce kilogram quantities of material needed for sub-scale prototype weapon effects and lethality tests.

  PHASE III: Commercial potential for high-blast and for high-energy materials is good in civil construction (excavation, over-burden removal, etc.), surface and sub-surface mining, petroleum exploration and oil well-stimulation, building demolition, and law enforcement applications. Commercial potential for structural energetic materials is also possible in building demolition, mining, oil well stimulation, and law enforcement applications. In Phase III, produce production quantities needed to demonstrate civil construction, mining, exploration, building demolition and law enforcement applications, as well as quantities needed for military applications.

  References:   1. "Advanced Energetics Materials", ISBN 0-309-09160-8; report by Committee on Advanced Energetic Materials and Manufacturing Technologies, Board on Manufacturing and Engineering Design, Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences; National Research Council of the National Academies, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C.; 2004; 2. "Energetics of Aluminum Combustion"; Peter Politzer, Pat lane, and M. Edward Grice; J. Phys. Chem A 2001, 105, 7473-7480. 3. “Combustion of Aerosolized Spherical Aluminum Powders and Flakes in Air,” B.Z. Eapen, V.K. Hoffman, M. Schoenitz, E.L. Dreizin; Combustion Science and Technology, 176, 1055-1069, 2004. 4. “Method of Improving the Burn rate and Ignitability of Aluminum Fuel Particles and Aluminum Fuel so Modified,” A. Hahma, at Forsvarets Forskningsinstitut, SE-172 90 Stockholm, Sweden; International patent publication #WO 2004/048295 Al.; June 10, 2004 5. “Relation Between Early and Late Energy Release in Non-Ideal Explosives,” R.H. Guirguis; Proceedings of the 1994 JANNAF PSHS Meeting, 1994. 6. “Ignition dynamics of boron particles in a shock tube,” H. Krier, R.L. Burton, M.J. Spalding, and T.J. Rood; Journal of Propulsion and Power, 14, 166 (1998) 7. “Ignition and combustion of aluminum particles in H-2/O-2/N-2 combustion products,” R.O. Foelsche, R.L. Burton, H. Krier; ; Journal of Propulsion and Power, 14, 1001 (1998) 8. “Constant Volume Explosions of Aerosols of Metallic Mechanical Alloys and Powder Blends,” M. Schoenitz, E.L. Dreizin, and E. Shtessel; ; Journal of Propulsion and Power, (2003) 19(3):405-412 9. “Explosive Launch Studies for Reactive Material Fragments,” M.E. Grudza, D. Jann, C. Forsyth, W. Lacy, W. Hoye, and W.E. Schaeffer; 4th Joint Classified Bombs/Warheads and Ballistics Symposium, Newport, R.I., 2001. 10. “Detonation-like Energy Release from High-Speed Impacts of Polytetrafluoroethylene-Aluminum Projectiles,” R.G. Ames, R.K. Garrett, and L. Brown; 5th Joint Classified Bombs/Warheads and Ballistics Symposium, Colorado Springs, Co; June, 2002 11. “N-5-+: A Novel Homoleptic Polynitrogen Ion as a High Energy Density Material,” Karl O. Christe, William W. Wilson, Jeffery A. Sheehy, Jerry A. Boatz; Angewandte Chemie, V. 38, Issue 13/14, pp 2004-2009 12. “Synthesis and Calculation of Properties of N-Difluoroaminoazoles, the Novel Type of Energetic Materials,” I.L. Dalinger, et al; Propellants, Explosives, and Pyrotechnics, V. 23, Issue 4, pp 212-217. 13. “Computer-Assisted Prediction of Novel Target High-Energy Compounds,” T.S. Pivina et al, ; Propellants, Explosives, and Pyrotechnics, V. 20, Issue 3, pp 144-146.

Keywords:  reactive materials, thermobarics, formulation, enhanced blast, agent neutralization, high explosives

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