Compatibilities & Simulants: Explosive Polymer Interactions
Overview and Significance
The aim of this project is to develop new methods for those involved in the Homeland Security Enterprise (HSE) to collect, handle and store explosives. Because there are many applications where explosives must interact with other materials, a number of approaches have been developed. To date, the applications of this study have been safe trace explosive sources for canine and instrument training and explosive sampling devices (swabs), which are effective at pick up and release of explosive residue.
Military explosives are rarely used pure, meaning without a plasticizer or other formulating agent. So, too, homemade explosives (HMEs), may require admixture with other materials. Considering only use by the HSE, understanding how HMEs react with other materials is necessary for a number of applications: safe handling and storage of HME; creation of better swabs; creation of better vapor concentrators; creation of canine training aids; and creation of trace and bulk simulants. Whatever the reason, for the sake of safety and for proper selection of materials, we must understand their interactions. This project has focused on finding the best materials for such devices as canine training aids, swab material and pre-concentrators. One successful application of our studies is polymer encapsulation to facilitate handling of volatile, sensitive explosives, e.g. triacetone triperoxide (TATP). This approach promises canine handlers and instrument vendors with safe, store-able access to hazardous explosives. It has been received with enthusiasm. We are presently negotiating licensing with a commercial vendor.
Our present approach to TATP canine training aids is presently being adapted to another peroxide explosive, HMTD. Whether this approach can be adapted to the low-melting HME erythritol tetranitrate (ETN) is a subject of present experimentation.Phase 2 Year 2 Annual Report
Faculty and Staff Currently Involved in Project
Students Currently Involved in Project
- Jeff Canaria
University of Rhode Island
- Jon Canino
- Maria Donnelly
- Michelle Gonsalves
- Rebecca Levine
- Devon Swanson
- Guang Zhang