Bomb Incubators

Eugene Leitl (
Thu, 2 Dec 1999 23:51:20 -0800 (PST)

Gregory Alan Bolcer writes:

> Talk about a clever use of technology.

Thanks for providing me the proper hapax legomenon.

Mmmh, yummy:

Energetic Materials Synthesis

Synthesis of novel nitro- and amino-substituted heterocylic compounds
and improved synthesis of TATB

LLNL has an ongoing program dedicated to the R&D of energetic
materials. This program includes the synthesis and identification of
new energetic compounds, scale-up of their syntheses, and performance
and sensitivity testing of the new compounds. We concentrate our
synthetic research efforts in areas that address the expressed need of
the DOE and DoD, i.e, the improvement of the performance and safety of
current and future weapon systems. These include the development of
new oxidizers for propellant and HE use, high explosives with energy
greater than HMX or CL-20, energetic polymer ingredients, and
insensitive explosives with energy approaching that of HMX. We also
improve syntheses of materials already in the DOE/DoD stockpiles. In
addition, we are working on the chemical conversion (demilitarization)
of surplus munitions to higher value products. The synthesis of new
energetic materials is a research area that holds the greatest promise
for major technological advances in future weapon systems. As an
example, the development of new energetic materials possessing more
energy than HMX has been of critical importance to weapon designers
for some time. Although HMX has very good performance and safety
characteristics it has been found inadequate in applications where
energy per unit volume is critical. The development of a more
energetic HE would provide alternatives in these applications and
allow for miniaturization of weapon systems.

Our focus

In response to the expressed needs of the DOE and DoD for enhanced
safety in their weapons systems, stockpile surveillance, pollution
prevention, and weapon miniaturization we have identified four main
areas of research:

1.Improved synthesis of 1,3,5-triamino-2,4,6-trinitrobenzene (TATB)
2.Synthesis of insensitive energetic materials with more energy than
of TATB or 2,4,6-trinirotoluene (TNT)
3.Conversion of surplus explosives to higher-value products
4.Synthesis of energetic materials with more energy than CL-20

New insensitive high explosives

We have synthesized several amino- and nitro-substituted heterocycles
as potential higher energy, insensitive energetic materials, all of
which have predicted performance 80-90% that of HMX. Of these, the
most promising material is LLM-105
(2,6-diamino-3,5-dinitropyrazine-1-oxide). LLM-105, with a measured
crystal density of 1.913 g/cc, is predicted to have 81% the energy of
HMX, yet physical experiments have shown that it approaches TATB in
insensitivity towards shock. Additionally, with a decomposition point
of 347&degC, LLM-105 is also very thermally stable. As a result,
LLM-105 is believed to have potential uses in deep oil well
exploration, insensitive booster applications, and specialty weapon
applications where its combination of excellent thermal stability and
good performance may be exploited. Other compounds of interest we have
recently synthesized are 4-amino-3,5-dinitropyrazole (LLM-119),
3,6-dinitropyrazolo[4,3-c]pyrazole, and
1,1-diamino-2,2-dinitroethylene (DADE).

New Synthesis of TATB-Demilitarization of Explosives

A more economic and environmentally acceptable demilitarization of
surplus explosives is a major concern of the DOE and DoD. LLNL
synthesis group activities in the demilitarization of explosives have
resulted in the discovery of a new synthetic route to TATB that has
significant advantages over the current method of synthesis. This new
synthesis is a two-step process starting from either surplus Explosive
D (ammonium picrate) or commercially available 4-nitroaniline. The
critical step in the synthesis involves the amination of picramide,
via the Vicarious Nucleophilic Substitution (VNS) of Hydrogen, with a
1,1,1-trimethylhydrazinium halide, 4-amino-1,2,4-triazole or
hydroxylamine hydrochloride. We are currently working with Pantex
(Mason & Hanger Corp) to bring this new TATB synthesis to pilot plant
scale. Additionally, we are currently investigating the conversion of
Explosive D to other higher value products, such as picramide, organic
aerogels and 5-nitrophenyl-1,3-diisocyanate (NPDI), an energetic
polymer ingredient.

Highly Energetic Materials

We have a joint program between the theory and modeling and synthesis
groups in the synthesis of new, energetic materials with energy
greater than CL-20. This program is a true collaboration between
theory and modeling and organic synthesis. Laurence Fried of the
theory and modeling group generated from his predictive codes target
molecules that meet the energy requirements, and the synthesis group
developed possible synthetic routes for the target molecules. From
this program 3,6-dinitropyrazolo[4,3-c]pyrazole was synthesized. The
target molecules in this project are all nitro-substituted,
heterobicyclic compounds with zero hydrogen content.

Availability: Available now. We invite collaboration with industrial
partners who can work with us to develop a commercially viable