Abstract

A focused, nanosecond-pulsed laser has been used to ablate, atomize, ionize, and excite milligram quantities of metal-doped energetic materials that undergo exothermic reactions in the laser-induced plasma. The subsequent shock wave expansion in the air above the sample has been monitored using high-speed schlieren imaging in a recently developed technique, laser-induced air shock from energetic materials (LASEM). The method enables the estimation of detonation velocities based on the measured laser-induced air-shock velocities and has previously been demonstrated for organic military explosives. Here, the LASEM technique has been extended to explosive formulations with metal additives. A comparison of the measured laser-induced air-shock velocities for TNT, RDX, DNTF, and LLM-172 doped with Al or B to the detonation velocities predicted by the thermochemical code CHEETAH for inert or active metal participation demonstrates that LASEM has potential for predicting the early time (<10  μs) participation of metal additives in detonation events. The LASEM results show that while Al is mostly inert at early times in the detonation event (confirmed from large-scale detonation testing), B is active—and reducing the amount of hydrogen present during the early chemical reactions increases the resulting estimated detonation velocities.

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