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International Journal of Energetic Materials and Chemical Propulsion
ESCI SJR: 0.149 SNIP: 0.16 CiteScore™: 0.29

ISSN Print: 2150-766X
ISSN Online: 2150-7678

International Journal of Energetic Materials and Chemical Propulsion

DOI: 10.1615/IntJEnergeticMaterialsChemProp.v4.i1-6.250
pages 213-220

PILOT-SCALE BASE HYDROLYSIS PROCESSING OF HMX-BASED PLASTIC-BONDED EXPLOSIVES

R. L. Flesner
Explosives Technology and Safety, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM 87545
P. C. Dell'Orco
Explosives Technology and Safety, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM 87545
T. Spontarelli
Explosives Technology and Safety, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM 87545
R. L. Bishop
Explosives Technology and Safety, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM 87545
C. B. Skidmore
Explosives Technology and Safety, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM 87545
K. Uher
Explosives Technology and Safety, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM 87545
J. F. Kramer
Explosives Technology and Safety, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM 87545

ABSTRACT

Los Alamos National Laboratory has demonstrated that many energetic materials can be rendered non-energetic via reaction with sodium hydroxide or ammonia. This process is known as base hydrolysis. A pilot scale reactor has been developed to process up to 20 kg of plastic bonded explosive in a single batch operation. In this report, we discuss the design and operation of the pilot scale reactor for the processing of PBX 9404, a standard Department of Energy plastic bonded explosive containing HMX and nitrocellulose. Products from base hydrolysis, although non-energetic, still require additional processing before release to the environment. Decomposition products, destruction efficiencies, and rates of reaction for base hydrolysis will be presented. Hydrothermal processing, previously known as supercritical water oxidation, has been proposed for converting organic products from hydrolysis to carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and nitrous oxide. Base hydrolysis in combination with hydrothermal processing may yield a viable alternative to open burning/open detonation for destruction of many energetic materials.