Paul Anderson, PhD, Lead Chemist, Picatinny Arsenal, US Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) Paula Cook, Formulation Chemist, Picatinny Arsenal, US Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) Edward Cooke, Chemist, Picatinny Arsenal, US Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC)
The role of explosives in today’s battlefield has become increasingly tailored for specific target sets. Recent requirements arising from recent urban warfare highlight the importance of minimizing collateral damage. With such tradeoffs comes a sacrifice in performance, which puts the solider and mission success at risk. Among the most important responses involving tradeoffs is between insensitivity (the ability of an explosive to resist unintentional initiation) and high energy (the amount of explosive energy delivered). Typically, these two responses are diametrically opposed; as an explosive possesses more energy content it becomes more sensitive, which has profound logistical consequences. Recently, however, certain Picatinny Arsenal explosives (PAX) were formulated to maximize energy release but minimize hazard sensitivity. This presentation will share the use of JMP from concept and downselection of ingredients, thermodynamic modeling driven by mixture statistical design of experiments (DOE), experimental formulation utilizing the Custom DOE tool, and finally analysis of blast test results using various platforms. Certain test results, such as video of blast tests, sensitivity tests and other related evaluations will be shared. In the end, a high-powered explosive was developed that met all mission requirements while possessing excellent insensitivity.