Explosive Polymer Interactions
We propose to develop new methods for those involved in homeland security operations 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. Molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) appear particularly suitable for pre-concentration of explosives in vapor or solution. MIPs are highly selective but lack sizable capacity. So-called switchable polymers that respond to external stimuli and reversibly change between high-capacity and the low-capacity states hold promise for development of improved swabs. Swabs constructed from such materials could actively perform the capture-and-release functions. Also being examined for that swab application is electrostatic attraction. Triboelectric or corona discharge is applied to commercial swab materials to enhance their capture-and-release function. Polymer encapsulation has been successfully applied to volatile explosives, (e.g. triacetone triperoxide (TATP)). This approach promises canine handlers and instrument vendors’ safe, storage-able access to hazardous explosives.
These studies have employed a closed vapor chamber as a metric for sorption. The quantity of sorbed explosive is determined by exhaustive extraction. Desorption of explosives in many applications is accomplished by heating. A thermogravimetric analyzer (TGA) coupled with infrared and/or mass spectrometry determines desorption quantity, purity and the presence of decomposition products. Atomic force microscopy, using the jump-off point, has been used as a way to measure the adhesive forces between polymer and explosive.
Faculty and Staff Currently Involved in Project
Students Currently Involved in Project
- Jon Canino
- Kaushal Purohit
- Guang Zhang
- Jie Mei
- Rebecca Levine
- Michelle Gonsalves