Reactive Materials & Novel Energetics

Reactive materials are a new class of materials currently being investigated as a means to increase the lethality of warheads. Reactive materials are solids that stay inert but are capable of releasing large amounts of thermodynamic energy very rapidly if subjected to a sufficiently strong impact, thermal, shock or laser stimuli.

These materials can provide energy that exceeds those of traditional explosives and offer the potential of significantly increasing performance without increasing size or weight. These material classes could be metal alloys, thermites, intermetallic compounds, metal-polymer mixtures, metastable intermolecular composites, energetic molecules etc. One of ATREC's research efforts is to develop next generation of reactive materials which is safer to handle and yet allow its energy to be released quickly during the detonation phase. Some of our novel reactive materials are designed and processed using the following methodologies:

One major R&D thrust is to develop new energetic materials with high performance and low sensitivity. Through the years, the synthesis group in ATREC has acquired capability to synthesize new energetic materials of interest at laboratory scale, starting from less than 1-gram scale and safely scaling up the progress to 100-gram scale. In particular, the group uses Mettler Toledo RC-1 to assess the thermal safety aspect of a synthetic process.

Recently, the group successfully synthesized the high-performance and low-impact sensitivity TKX-50 repeatedly at 100-gram batch.