Safer Resonant Acoustic Manufacturing for High Volume Pyrotechnics

Dr. Eric Miklaszewski | NSWC, Crane Division



The objective of this project is to develop and mature the resonant acoustic mixing (RAM) technology to reduce the environmental, safety, and occupational health impacts currently observed in the manufacture of the high volume pyrotechnic Magnesium (Mg)/Sodium Nitrate (NaNO3)/Epoxy. Some common Mg/NaNO3/Epoxy formulations are found in service in the M155 and Mk 18 Mod 0 gun-fired illumination projectiles.

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Technical Approach

This project begins with laboratory-scale evaluation of the RAM process in manufacturing Mg/NaNO3/Epoxy, while verifying that important safety (e.g., electrostatic, impact, and friction sensitivity) and performance metrics are met. Performance parameters such as burning rate, overall burn time, dominant wavelength, and luminous intensity (candlepower) will be documented for each composition. Mixing parameters such as material compatibility and processing time will be documented for this new technique while observing process temperature. The viability of this manufacturing method will be tested with pilot-scale manufacturing of selected compositions in 1 lb. batches. These acoustically mixed compositions will be pressed into in-service candles and tested side-by-side with conventionally mixed flares using existing facilities, equipment, and processes for lot acceptance testing at the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Crane Division. This pilot-scale manufacturing demonstration will be examined with the advisement of Crane Army Ammunition Activity (CAAA), which is the sole U.S. supplier of mortar and illumination candles for the Army and Marine Corps.

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This project aims to prove that RAM is a feasible manufacturing technique that can be utilized in pilot-scale manufacture of high volume pyrotechnics. The RAM method could significantly reduce the risk to workers manufacturing pyrotechnic compositions by minimizing exposure during the mixing process. The RAM method, being a highly effective mixing method, will also produce compositions that are better mixed in less time than conventional impeller or mix-muller-based mixing methods. The RAM mixing process has the potential to greatly minimize solvent-based cleaning by utilizing simple low-surface area static dissipative mixing containers. While this project will develop and mature RAM methods and processes for Mg/NaNO3/Epoxy based compositions, the lessons learned could be extended to similar illuminants and countermeasures manufacturing processes. (Anticipated Project Completion - 2018)

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Miklaszewski, E. J.; Yamamoto, C. M.; Mullins, M. L.; Shaw, A. P.,

“Safer Resonant Acoustic Mixing Methods for High-Volume

Production of Pyrotechnics” Joint Army-Navy-NASA-Air Force

Conference, May 2017.


Miklaszewski, E. J.; “Overview of Crane RAM Projects and

Capabilities”, 42nd TTCP Meeting, WPN TP-4, DSTL Porton

Down; 14 Feb 2017.


Moretti, J. “Future Pyrotechnics Focus Area”, 42nd TTCP

Meeting, WPN TP-4, DSTL Porton Down; 14 Feb 2017.

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Points of Contact

Principal Investigator

Dr. Eric Miklaszewski

Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division

Phone: 812-854-5268

Fax: 812-854-4065