a technology used to improve the effectiveness of drugs, scientists are
reporting discovery of a new explosive more powerful than the current
state-of-the-art explosive used by the military, and just as safe for
personnel to handle. Their report appears in ACS’ journal Crystal Growth & Design.
J. Matzger and colleagues at the University of Michigan and Lawrence
Livermore National Laboratory explain that a technique for engineering
medicines and other materials, termed cocrystallization, is attracting
attention as a way to make improved explosives, rocket propellants and
fireworks. Most solid materials consist of crystals—with atoms and
molecules arranged in a specific pattern that repeats itself time and
again. Cocrystallization involves combining two materials into a new
crystal architecture with the goal of producing an improved material.
describe cocrystallization of the military’s standard explosive, HMX,
with a powerful explosive called CL-20, which the authors say is too
prone to accidental detonation for military use. Mixing two parts CL-20
with one part HMX, however, produced a new explosive with a blast wave
that would travel almost 225 miles per hour faster than that of the
purest form of HMX, meaning a much more powerful blast. The new
explosive, however, was as stable and resistant to accidental detonation
as HMX. They suggest that it has the potential to replace HMX as the
new state-of-the art military explosive.
The authors acknowledge support from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.
Source: American Chemical Society