Composite Energetic Crystals

Nanoparticles have been a popular topic in energetic materials for the past ten years or so. However, their application to propellants has been rather limited – the high particle surface area makes it difficult to get them well-dispersed in the viscous binders often used. This project focused on making crystals (here, of ammonium perchlorate and RDX) with nanoparticles (iron oxide and aluminum) inside of them, the thought being that we could get all the benefits of the catalyst without the surface area drawback. The SEMs above show successful capture of Fe2O3 inside of AP crystals!