Studies in comparative detonation sensitivities

Research paper by H. B. Shaffer

Indexed on: 01 Oct '87Published on: 01 Oct '87Published in: Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems


Detonation testing has been conducted by the National Fertilizer Development Center of the Tennessee Valley Authority to determine the relative detonation sensitivity for solid fertilizer materials which contain ammonium nitrate. Selected data are given that describe the application of the procedure to various types of mixtures. The test sample is placed in a cardboard cylinder with a kraft paper bottom. These containers vary in diameter from 3-3/8 to 6 inches; the smaller diameter containers are used for relatively sensitive materials and the larger diameter containers are used for less sensitive items. To provide a quantitative measure of the relative sensitivity to detonation, an index of sensitivity (Is) is given, defined as 100/mean weight of booster in grams. The mean weight is that at which one-half of the tests would be expected to detonate. The booster used was pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN).A test procedure is described for predicting the behavior of fertilizer materials containing ammonium nitrate when exposed to flame or heat. Illustrative data from such testing of materials, both with and without potassium chloride, are given.It is recommended that additives be used to reduce detonation sensitivities.