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Presented By: Department of Chemistry

Synthesis and Characterization of Energetic Materials for Explosive and Propellant Applications

Jesse Sabatini

The development of high-energy-density materials (HEDMs) with high performance and reasonable sensitivity to impact and friction is an overarching goal in the field of energetic materials. Two areas of interest in our HEDM research are the synthesis of high-energy melt-castable explosives to replace TNT and the synthesis of high-energy propellant plasticizers to replace inert ingredients. Meaningful properties of melt-castable explosives include a melting point range of 70-120 °C, a low vapor pressure, a significant difference between the melting temperature and the decomposition temperature, high density, low sensitivity, an affordable synthesis, and a detonation velocity and detonation pressure that significantly outperforms 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT).
A plasticizer enhances fluidity or plasticity when added to a rocket or gun propellant formulation. Energetic plasticizers are used to improve physical properties, to act as a fuel, and to improve the overall energy yield of a formulation. In designing an optimal plasticizer, understanding how chemical functional groups affect the melting point, freezing point, and decomposition temperature candidate materials becomes imperative. A successful energetic plasticizer must possess a good density, reasonable sensitivity, low chemical reactivity, and high thermal stability as one approaches oxygen-balanced materials.
Presented will be the synthesis of high-energy melt-castable and propellant plasticizer materials based on strained ring nitroazetidine polynitric ester and cyclobutane polynitric ester materials. In addition, polynitric ester compounds that maximize densities due to the incorporation of aromatic 1,2,4-oxadiazole and furoxan functionalities.

Jesse Sabatini

Co-Sponsored By

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