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In Situ Imaging During Compression Of Plastic Bonded Explosives For Damage Modeling

V. W. Manner, J. Yeager, B. Patterson, D. J. Walters, J. Stull, N. Cordes, D. J. Luscher, K. Henderson, A. M. Schmalzer, Bryce C. Tappan
Published 2017 · Materials Science, Medicine

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The microstructure of plastic bonded explosives (PBXs) is known to influence behavior during mechanical deformation, but characterizing the microstructure can be challenging. For example, the explosive crystals and binder in formulations such as PBX 9501 do not have sufficient X-ray contrast to obtain three-dimensional data by in situ, absorption contrast imaging. To address this difficulty, we have formulated a series of PBXs using octahydro-1,3,5,7-tetranitro-1,3,5,7-tetrazocine (HMX) crystals and low-density binder systems. The binders were hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene (HTPB) or glycidyl azide polymer (GAP) cured with a commercial blend of acrylic monomers/oligomers. The binder density is approximately half of the HMX, allowing for excellent contrast using in situ X-ray computed tomography (CT) imaging. The samples were imaged during unaxial compression using micro-scale CT in an interrupted in situ modality. The rigidity of the binder was observed to significantly influence fracture, crystal-binder delamination, and flow. Additionally, 2D slices from the segmented 3D images were meshed for finite element simulation of the mesoscale response. At low stiffness, the binder and crystal do not delaminate and the crystals move with the material flow; at high stiffness, marked delamination is noted between the crystals and the binder, leading to very different mechanical properties. Initial model results exhibit qualitatively similar delamination.
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