Tech professor helps in improving detonation velocity of TNT

Michelle Pantoya (Source: Texas Tech)
Michelle Pantoya (Source: Texas Tech)
Updated: Aug. 3, 2018 at 10:04 AM CDT
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(KCBD) - A Texas Tech professor and a group of her colleagues at Aberdeen Proving Ground have been able to show an almost 30 percent improvement in the detonation velocity of TNT through the addition of altered aluminum particles.

Michelle Pantoya, a J.W. Wright Regents Chairwoman in mechanical engineering at Tech's Department of Mechanical Engineering, worked with the Aberdeen army research lab to help in finding this discovery, according to a Texas Tech news release. This discovery can be used for both defence applications and in exploring other planets.

This result was obtained by removing natural, passivation layer of aluminum and replacing it with new material that is an oxidizing salt. Laser-induced air shock from energetic materials has been used to test the new composite material.

"This is the very first time I've ever seen a metal fuel particle react at timescales relevant to a detonation," Pantoya said in the release. "It's like the Holy Grail for metal particle combustion because particles like boron, aluminum and silicon have so much more energy stored within them than any explosive. Taking the enormous amount of energy in metal fuel particles and trying to create a way to release some of that energy at timescales that explosives release them could mean tremendous advancements in the way we generate energy for our future."

More information on this research can be found here.

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