- Program Areas
- Energy and Water
- Environmental Restoration
- Munitions Response
- Resource Conservation and Climate Change
- Weapons Systems and Platforms
Proof-of-Principle Study to Replace RDX in LOVA-Style Propellant Formulations Intended for Use as a Perchlorate-Free Replacement Grain in Cartridge Actuated Devices
The objective of this project is to determine the viability of reducing or replacing the RDX content in a low vulnerability ammunition (LOVA)-type propellant for a cartridge actuated device (CAD) application. The RDX content would be replaced by a more environmentally friendly energetic material. In addition, this project will evaluate the toxicological and environmental risks of FOX-12/GUDN and FOX-7/DADE, potential replacement materials, via quantitative structure-activity relationships (QSAR) and other traditional methods.
The primary propellant formulation candidate that will serve as a starting point in this project is NILE (Navy Insensitive Low Erosion), a perchlorate-free, LOVA-type formulation recently developed at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head Division. NILE differs from other LOVA-type propellants in that a large portion of the RDX has been replaced with FOX-12/GUDN, an insensitive energetic material produced by EURENCO Bofors and used in various military and commercial applications. Despite the use of FOX-12/GUDN, NILE still contains nearly 40 percent by weight RDX. This project seeks to further reduce the RDX content to the greatest extent possible via substitution with another energetic material. Possible replacement materials include, but are not limited to, HMX, TAGzT (triaminoguanidiniumazotetrazolate), FOX-12/GUDN (guanylurea dinitramide), and FOX-7/DADE (diamino diethylene). These materials, with the exception of FOX-7/DADE, are well characterized and do not present the same environmental and toxicological hazards associated with RDX.
The expected benefits of this effort are two-fold in that it will mitigate the release of perchlorate into the environment while at the same time providing a life-cycle cost savings for the end user. Perchlorate has been identified by the Environmental Protection Agency as an environmental contaminant resulting in the establishment of a national standard for maximum perchlorate detection in surface water and groundwater of 24.5 parts per billion (ppb). Replacement of perchlorate containing small grain (PCSG) propellant formulations with a RDX-free or reduced RDX content LOVA-style formulation will eliminate the release of perchlorate into the environment during propellant manufacturing, end item production, field use, testing, and demilitarization of the affected end item applications. In addition to the environmental concerns and related expenses, many PCSG propellants are also quite difficult and costly to manufacture because of their chemical and physical nature as well as low production rates. The potential to consolidate formulations and mitigate the associated production and perchlorate cleanup costs will provide life-cycle cost savings for the end user.
Points of Contact
Mr. Todd Allen
Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA)
Weapons Systems and Platforms
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