Relationship Between RDX Properties and Sensitivity



An interlaboratory comparison of seven lots of commercially available RDX was conducted to determine what properties of the nitramine particles can be used to assess whether the RDX has relatively high or relatively low sensitivity. The materials chosen for the study were selected to give a range of HMX content, manufacturing process and reported shock sensitivity. The results of two different shock sensitivity tests conducted on a PBX made with the RDX lots in the study showed that there are measurable differences in the shock sensitivity of the PBXs, but the impact sensitivity for all of the lots is essentially the same. Impact sensitivity is not a good predictor of shock sensitivity for these types of RDX. Although most RDX that exhibits RS has low HMX content, that characteristic alone is not sufficient to guarantee low sensitivity. A range of additional analytical chemistry tests were conducted on the material; two of these (HPLC and DSC) are discussed within.