Energetic composites are a class of materials that engineer the storage and release of energy. These materials can be engineered to release high amounts of stored energy, change the rate that energy is released, increase or decrease the sensitivity of a compound to shocks and impacts. Variations of these energetic composites include propellants, nanothermites, explosives, thermobarics, materials for hydrogen storage, battery anodes and cathodes, fuel cell components, and pyrotechnic compositions. These materials have a wide range of applications, including use in:
Despite their wide range of potential markets, use of energetic materials is often limited by safety concerns associated with material sensitivity and long-term storage.
Powdermet has addressed these safety concerns by developing methods to coat reactive materials with non-reactive materials and vice versa. Our processing methods allow us to tailor the performance of a material by administering the appropriate coating and energetic material formulation, and adjust/control the energy release rate, burn time, and burn temperature.
The above schematic is a simplified representation of Powdermet’s novel energetic material. The core material is comprised of a reactive material (energetic) that otherwise would be unstable without applying an inert surface layer containing additives such as accelerants, binders, and/or colorants. In addition to providing stability, materials used in the outer layer allow for modification and control of the burn and energy release characteristics.
The specific properties of an energetic material are dependent on the composition, particle size, surface area, and preparation techniques used to produce the final product. By adjusting these parameters, different properties can be achieved, allowing seemingly similar materials to be tailored to very specific applications.
Novel energetic materials being developed by Powdermet have the potential of providing 3-4 times increase in energy-release rate compared to conventional formulations, while having a more tailored performance to the specific application, as well as decreased sensitivity and improved storage capabilities.
Using the aforementioned techniques to prepare energetic materials, Powdermet has used known materials in novel configurations to produce a structurally capable radiation shielding composite. For the production of this composite, borohydride is encapsulated in a non-reactive shell and then cast in a polymer matrix. The structural energetic composite is then cast in alternating layers with a fibrous structural material, such as Kevlar or carbon fiber, to produce an ultra strong, lightweight, radiation shielding composite.
Another project involves the development of a novel material to replace current red phosphorus (RP) smoke obscurant munitions, which have adverse health effects for soldiers and poor storage capabilities. By utilizing a SO core mixture coated with an enhanced binder, Powdermet has produced a safer alternative to the current technology that performs at 115% of the baseline of RP performance in the visible spectrum and 80% of the performance of RP in the IR spectrum.
Further projects involving energetic materials that Powdermet is pursuing are chemical storage of hydrogen in a liquid, improved in-sensitive munitions, and improved bi-spectral obscurants.Connect with Powdermet to see how our EnComP™ products can meet your advanced energy needs.