Benefits of the RESOLV process in forming polymer-coated, ultrafine RDX particles

Jonathan T. Essel, Kenneth K. Kuo, James H. Adair, Anna R. Merritt, Joshua Carter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This paper investigates several benefits of using the rapid expansion of a supercritical solution into a liquid solvent (RESOLV) process to form stable, ultrafine RDX particles dispersed in a liquid medium. The first benefit of the RESOLV process is that polymer coatings involved in the process provide dispersion to prevent agglomeration of the RDX particles. This benefit is necessary because experimental evidence suggests uncoated particles exhibit instability toward agglomeration and computer code calculations using the software program STABIL were used to show that initially formed RDX particles grow twice as large in as little as 8 min if unprotected in aqueous suspension. Second, the sensitivity of polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP)-coated particles produced through the RESOLV process was investigated. As an experimental control, acetone-recrystallized RDX was used for sensitivity testing as well. The ERL impact sensitivity of PVP-coated particles was 19 cm and 30 cm with a wide standard deviation for acetone-recrystallized RDX. The ABL friction sensitivity of the PVP-coated RDX was 521 lb and 355 lb for the recrystallized RDX. Neither the PVP-coated RDX nor the acetone-recrystallized RDX particles initiate when subjected to a 0.25 J spark stimulus in the NAWC ESD sensitivity test. Finally, initial investigations were made into using energetic polymers as a potential dispersant with the RESOLV process. The solubility of the energetic polymer poly-3-(nitrato-oxetane) (PNO) was quantified in chloroform. The solubility was determined to be _15 mg PNO/g solution. This solubility is approximately 100 times higher than the solubility of RDX in chloroform. Therefore, PNO and chloroform solutions could be used to coat and stabilize newly formed nanosized RDX particles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)455-468
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Energetic Materials and Chemical Propulsion
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science


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