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Abstract

The drop weight impact test is the simplest and easiest test that can be performed on small quantities of explosives or propellants, and yet it has only a minimal role in assessing explosive sensitivity or performance. This paper examines the drop weight impact test as it is currently used, describes its major flaw, and suggests an alternative test that holds the promise of providing the impact energy required to ignite an energetic material. Other impact tests are described. One of these, the Ballistic Impact Chamber Test, measures the rate of reaction and extent of reaction during impact. This test demonstrates that during impact there are two forms of initiation reactions that occur, one that is very fast and is likely due to direct impact-shear initiation of the crystalline solids in the sample. The other, a much slower component, is thought to arise due to burning of the sample.