Developing methodology toward perceiving and preventing home-made explosive threats
Two different approaches were undertaken toward preventing manufacture of homemade explosives (HME's). To inhibit the synthesis of currently used HME's, fundamental understanding of the chemistry involved was initially studied, followed by attempts to denature commonly available chemicals used. In order to determine which materials pose a threat as HME's a test was developed to screen materials on a small-scale. ^ Conditions which result in the formation of triacetone triperoxide (TATP) or diacetone diperoxide (DADP) from acetone and hydrogen peroxide (HP) have been studied. The reaction of HP with acetone precipitates either DADP or TATP, but the overall yield and amount of each was found to depend on multiple reaction conditions. Plotting the moles of HP per kg water versus that of sulfuric acid revealed regions in which relatively pure DADP and TATP could be obtained. Standard tests (DSC, drop weight impact, and SSED) were performed to assess relative stability, sensitivity and performance of DADP and TATP. ^ To inhibit the reaction between acetone and HP chemicals were sought to adulterate the precursors without interfering with their desired usage. Ideally, an adulterant could be kept at a loading of 1% or less, be relatively non-toxic and completely inhibit formation of TATP under nearly all conditions. The approach was to look for species that destroyed HP, preferentially reacted with HP, quenched the acid catalyst, or made isolation of TATP cumbersome. Over one hundred adulterants were tested. None of the adulterants were effective below the 10wt% level. Basic substances, ketones, and iodine salts were effective in preventing TATP formation; however, for various reasons they were judged unlikely to be employed. ^ In an attempt to determine, with certainty, detonability of materials on a small-scale, detonation experiments employed a concentric configuration with annular booster designed to drive a concave shock wave into questionably detonable materials. Five configurations were tested. Inert and detonable materials were easily differentiated using witness plate dents as the metric; but the questionable materials could not be clearly distinguished. ALE3D simulations were used to aid understanding of the results, and in the case of changing configurations, they aided fixture design.^
Chemistry, Inorganic|Chemistry, Organic|Engineering, Materials Science
Patrick Robert Bowden,
"Developing methodology toward perceiving and preventing home-made explosive threats"
Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access).