Compatibility of ammonium nitrate with monomolecular explosives. 1

Jimmie C. Oxley, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
James L. Smith, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
Wen Wang, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology


The thermal stability of mixtures of ammonium nitrate with a variety of organic explosives was examined over the temperature range 170 to 320°C. Although the overall stability of the one-to-one mixtures was studied, the emphasis was comparison of the thermal stability (isothermal rate constants) of the individual components in the mixture with the neat species. It was found that nitrate esters, PETN and nitrocellulose, nitramines, RDX and HMX, and nitroarenes, TNT and trinitroaniline, destabilized ammonium nitrate. In turn, ammonium nitrate, or its decomposition products, destabilized the organic explosives to varying degrees. For RDX and PETN the destabilization was slight. The mechanistic bases for these observations are discussed; vapor-phase products are identified; and the effect of relative ratios of such mixtures are examined. © 1994 American Chemical Society.