The Effect of RDX Crystal Defect Structure on Mechanical Response of a Polymer‐Bonded Explosive

Research paper by Richard H. B. Bouma, Antoine E. D. M. van der Heijden

Indexed on: 14 Mar '16Published on: 09 Nov '15Published in: Propellants, Explosives, Pyrotechnics


An explosive composition, derived from AFX‐757, was systematically varied by using three different qualities of Class I RDX. The effect of internal defect structure of the RDX crystal on the shock sensitivity of a polymer bonded explosive is generally accepted (Doherty and Watt, 2008). Here the response to a mechanical non‐shock stimulus is studied using an explosion‐driven deformation test as well as the ballistic impact chamber. No correlation between RDX crystal quality and deformation sensitivity is observed. The DDT behavior (Deflagration to Detonation Transition) of the three plastic bonded explosives, although similar in composition, is distinct regarding the rate of diameter increase in the explosion‐driven deformation test. Recovered polymer bonded explosive from the explosion‐driven deformation test responds equally fast or slower in the ballistic impact chamber. Based on our experimental results the shear rate threshold as a single parameter describing mechanical sensitivity is challenged, and preference is given to the development of an ignition criterion based on inter‐granular sliding friction under the action of a normal pressure.