Processing of Energetic Materials with Supercritical Fluids
Small Business Information
287 Emerson Road, Lexington, MA, 02173
Paula M. Gallagher
Abstract1The manufacture of nitrocellulose (NC), nitroguanidine (NQ), and cyclotetra-methylenetetranitramine (HMX) uses processes that were developed decades ago. Not only is there a need for novel processing techniques but for new forms of these energetic materials. There are stockpiles of absolete propellants and explosives from which valuable ingredients can be recovered and reused. Phase I research efforts will address both the recovery of key components and the reforming of these materials into new products using supercritical fluid technology. Data are presented that show the ability of supercritical fluids to extract materials from mixtures and to act as anti-solvents for recrystallizing solids. Previous studies with RDX and NQ are discussed in which the material is dissolved in an organic liquid and then precipitated from solution using a gas or super-critical fluid. A combination of organic solvents and a supercritical fluid, specifically carbon dioxide, will be used to achieve both removal of the desired ingredients from the formulation and production of new forms of the energetic materials. In addition to the experimental work, it is proposed to prepare a process flow diagram and carry out a prelimianry assessment of the economics at a reclamation rate stipulated by the NOS Contract Monitor.
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