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Initial Stages of Explosive Decomposition


Investigation of Initial Stages of Explosive Decomposition of Energetic Materials by Methods of Radiation Solid State Physics

Tech Area / Field

  • MAT-EXP/Explosives/Materials
  • PHY-SSP/Solid State Physics/Physics

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Tyurin I A

Leading Institute
Kemerovo State University, Russia, Kemerovo reg., Kemerovo

Supporting institutes

  • VNIITF, Russia, Chelyabinsk reg., Snezhinsk


  • University of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign / Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, USA, IL, Urbana\nUniversity of Illinois / Department of Physics, USA, IL, Urbana\nUS Department of Army / US Army Research Laboratory, USA, MD, Aberdeen Proving Ground

Project summary

The goal of the proposed project is to apply our understanding of the physical microscopic properties of energetic materials to study pre-detonation phenomena in explosives. Specifically, we will use our knowledge of the effect of electron excitation of the lattice, gained from condensed matter physics, to elucidate the effects of applied electrical fields, point-type defects, and dislocations on the pre-detonation stability and safety of explosives.
The new knowledge created by proposed project could be of enormous importance, both in developing safe new explosives for the Russian mining and civil engineering communities, in the storage and safe disposal of existing explosives and munitions in Russia.

Although there is extensive existing database on the physics and chemistry of detonation and combustion, most existing work has concentrated on the macroscopic properties of explosion itself. Only in separate theoretical activities executed per the last years, the attempts of the description of urgent processes at a micro-level are done.

In contrast, our project will be focused on pre-detonation phenomena in intact specimens and will utilize the basic knowledge and methods of condensed matter physics to elucidate the complex physical processes leading to detonation. We shall use the fundamental approaches and methodology of solid state physics for finding - out of difficult physical processes previous to explosion of a sample.

Our resent work has revealed the importance of these processes and is the motivation for the proposed project. Successful completion of the project will help development of generically new approaches to explosive safety, based on the impact on electron excitations of the lattice.

The project will exploit the knowledge of experts of the Kemerovo State University (KemSU), who have extensive experience in characterizing the physical properties of energetic materials, including resent discoveries of pre-detonation phenomena (conductivity, luminescence, and optical absorption) and the wide-ranging expertise of scientists at All-Russian Institute of Technical Physics (VNIITF), who have studied the design and application of high-energy explosives for more than 30 years.

Key to the success to the project is the unique experimental facilities available at the two participating institutions. Modern experimental facilities at KemSU have been designed specifically for research on the physical characteristics of energetic materials and the experimental detection of pre-detonation phenomena. The extensive experimental facilities at VNIITF provide a unique complex for research on explosives, including extremely high-energy explosives. On aspect of proposed research that is particularly well suited for VNIITF is the proposed study of the effects of radiation processing on energetic materials. The experimental complex at VNIITF has outstanding facilities for such research, including powerful sources of ionizing radiation.

Expected result of the project is development of basic physics for explosives safety enhancement, based on the control of pre-detonation processes. Application of this result in long-term prospect is development safe new explosives for the Russian mining and civil engineering communities, in the storage and safe disposal of existing explosives and munitions in Russia. These activities will supply employment of the weapon experts - participants of the project already on the commercial basis.

Completion of proposed project fully meets the ISTC goals and objectives.

1. Scientists from All-Russia Research institute of technical Physics earlier engaged in mass destruction weapon programs get the opportunity to re-direct their skills to solution of explosives safety problem, which is of primary importance for peaceful application of explosive technologies.

2. Involvement of the leading US scientists (Herman Krier, University of Illinois, Pamela Kaste, U.S. Army Research laboratory), and also expert in the field of scientific contacts and editing of the scientific literature (Celia Elliot, University of Illinois) will promote projects participants integration in the global scientific community.

3. Results of project completion will be useful for enhancement of industrial explosive technology safety.

4. National technical problem to be contributed by proposed project is enhancement of storage and disposal safety of accumulated explosives.

5. The new approaches to increase of explosive safety, developed within the framework of the project, will promote the growth of competitiveness of peace explosive technologies and will supply in the further employment of the weapon experts - the participants of the project already on the commercial basis.

The scope of project activities is 360 man*months and is defined by the following tasks to be performed: upgrade of existing experimental facilities, experimental studies of pre-detonation phenomena, development of physical models and selection on their basis of ways for explosives safety enhancement.

The solution of these problems is conducted in parallel with the following breakdown on years:

1 year - improvement of technique researches and realization of search experiments

2 years - experimental research of pre-detonation phenomena and influence on them defects of a lattice, radiation processing and electromagnetic fields. Development of preliminary models of urgent processes

3 years - refinement of working models and their experimental testing and development on their basis of the recommendations ways for explosives safety enhancement

Role of foreign collaborators includes consultations at the stage of project preparation, exchange of information pertaining to the project, providing comments for the technical reports, participation in monitoring of project technical activities, conduct of joint symposia and workshops.

The originality of the technical approach and methodology of the project, first of all, consists in the following:

1. Use of methodical and methodological methods of radiation solid state physic (pulsed radiolysis and photolysis, control of recombination processes by external electromagnetic fields, radiation-driven modification of material properties) for investigation of pre-detonation detonation early processes

2. Complex character of researches of processes in explosives, including experimental study of pre-detonation processes in an real time scale (10-11-10-4 s), research of influence of external electromagnetic fields and controllable introduction of radiation defects on processes of slow decomposition of explosives and pre-detonation processes, and also theoretical calculations of an electron structure explosives.


The International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) is an intergovernmental organization connecting scientists from Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia with their peers and research organizations in the EU, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway and the United States.


ISTC facilitates international science projects and assists the global scientific and business community to source and engage with CIS and Georgian institutes that develop or possess an excellence of scientific know-how.

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