Comparing the shock sensitivity of insensitive energetic materials

Meysam Akhtar, Dana D. Dlott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present a tabletop method to study the shock sensitivity of plastic-bonded explosives that are considered shock insensitive using high dynamic range optical emission spectroscopy with laser-launched km/s flyer plate impacts (2, 3, and 4 km/s), which measures the spectral radiance (the emission spectrum vs a calibrated intensity standard) every 0.8 ns in the nanosecond and microsecond regimes. The explosives were TATB (1,3,5 trinitro, 2,4,6 triamino benzene), FOX-7 (1,1-diamino-2,2-dinitroethylene), LLM-105 (2,6-diamino-3,5-dinitropyrazine-1-oxide), and NTO (nitrotriazolone), all with 20% Sylgard 182 binder. Time resolving emission from shocked explosives produces a unique fingerprint at each shock pressure, and the emission temporal profile can be used to understand each material's shock response and the underlying mechanisms within the framework of the well-known shock ignition and growth models. Ignition was characterized by the emission intensity during nanosecond hot spot ignition. The growth process, which occurs after the shock has unloaded, was characterized by the time derivative of microsecond emission intensity. Singular-value decomposition was used to determine a characteristic spectral radiance over the entire time range, and this radiance was fit to a graybody model to determine a characteristic temperature Tc. Even though these insensitive explosives have similar shock sensitivities, our method can clearly distinguish their shock response. FOX-7 and NTO were the most sensitive, with FOX-7 having the greatest shock ignition sensitivity, growth rate, and Tc. LLM-105 was much less sensitive than FOX-7 and NTO, and TATB consistently showed the lowest sensitivity by any measure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number065103
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Feb 14 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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