Journal of Pyrotechnics

 

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Titles and Abstracts for Issue No. 12, Winter 2000

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Speculation on the Effects of Gunshot or Explosive Residues on Historic Silk Flags
Charles S. Tumosa [Smithsonian Center for Materials Research and Education, Washington, DC, USA]

Abstract: Historic battle flags and uniforms are collected by museums, and many have significance as icons representative of their owners as well as historic context. The effects of battle, both mechanical and chemical, have an impact on the projected lifetimes of these objects in museums. Modern air quality, as well as the type of display, is important. Pyrotechnic displays using Black Powder can also produce considerable amounts of particulates and gases and, if near museums, may be a significant source of damage to a museum’s collection.

Keywords: gunshot residue, explosive residue, silk flag, Black Powder

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Pyrotechnic Particle Morphology—Low Melting Point Oxidizers
K. L. & B. J. Kosanke [PyroLabs, Inc., 1775 Blair Rd., Whitewater, CO, USA] and
Richard C. Dujay
[Mesa State College, Electron Microscopy Facility, Grand Junction, CO, USA]

Abstract: The morphology (size, shape and surface features) of the constituent particles in a pyrotechnic composition affects its performance. While this is particularly true for high melting point fuels and oxidizers in the composition, to a lesser extent it is also true for those with low melting points. Particle morphology also constitutes an important part of establishing the likelihood of a forensic match between evidence and materials of known origin. This article catalogs and briefly discusses some morphologic features often associated with some of the most commonly used low melting point oxidizers in pyrotechnic compositions.

Keywords: morphology, oxidizer, forensics, pyrotechnics, potassium nitrate

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A Survey of Analytical Tools for Explosion Investigations
K. R. Mniszewski
[FX Engineering, Inc., Hinsdale, Illinois, USA]
and R. Pape [Engineering Systems Inc., Aurora, Illinois, USA]

Abstract: Practical analytical techniques which have been found to be useful in explosion investigation include timeline analysis, experimental data comparisons, thermochemical code analysis, TNT and other air blast equivalency techniques, ground shock analysis, dynamic gas concentration estimates, simple fuel/air explosion codes, damage pattern analysis and system safety analysis methods. An example application of existing analytical tools to an explosion investigation is presented. Exotic analytical techniques are available but are not justi­fied unless the loss is very large. Methodology is reviewed for completing a reasonable explosion investigation, including essential items from NFPA 921. Needs are addressed for desired technology advancements.

Keywords: explosion investigation, thermochemical equilibrium, blast equivalency, system safety analysis, ground shock

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An Introduction to Chemical Thermodynamics
Part 2—Entropy, Molecular Disorder, and the Second and Third Laws
Barry Sturman [Victoria, Australia]

Abstract: This is the second in a series of articles, prepared at the request of the publisher of this Journal, presenting an introductory outline of chemical thermodynamics and chemical kinetics, with emphasis on those aspects of particular relevance to pyrotechnics. The First Law of Thermodynamics, which was the subject of the first article, cannot explain the direction of change in the physical world. The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that spontaneous change is always associated with an increase in the entropy of the universe. The universe is simply the system of interest plus its surroundings, assumed to be isolated from external influences, while the entropy is a thermodynamic state function. Much of this article is taken up by a discussion of entropy. The relationship between entropy and spontaneous change is clarified when entropy is interpreted as a measure of molecular disorder. The Gibbs Free Energy is a thermodynamic state function that allows the entropy change in the system and its surroundings to be predicted from the thermodynamic properties of the system alone. It provides the basis for predicting the direction of change in chemical systems. Finally, the Third Law of Thermodynamics states that the molar entropy of a pure substance is zero at the absolute zero of temperature. This is developed from Boltzmann’s relationship between entropy and the number of molecular arrangements consistent with the properties of a system. It is shown how the Third Law permits the calculation of absolute values for the molar entropies of pure substances.

Keywords: thermodynamics, entropy, free energy

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Studies of the Thermal Stability and Sensitiveness of Sulfur/Chlorate Mixtures
Part 4.  Firework Compositions and Investigation  of the Sulfur/Chlorate Initiation Reaction
D. Chapman, R. K. Wharton, J. E. Fletcher [Health and Safety Laboratory, Harpur Hill, Buxton, Derbyshire, UK] and A. E. Webb [HM Explosives Inspectorate, Health and Safety Executive, St Anne’s House, Trinity Road, Bootle, Merseyside, UK]
Abstract: Fireworks formulations were modified to produce compositions containing sulfur/chlorate mixtures, and their thermal stability and mechanical sensitiveness were studied. The results indicate that the presence of sulfur/chlo­rate mixtures in fireworks compositions reduces the ignition temperatures to values well below those obtained with compositions that do not contain the sulfur/chlorate mixture and generally increases the sensitiveness (this was particularly marked in iron-containing mixtures).

The sulfur/chlorate initiation reaction was examined and the mixture was shown to produce sulfur dioxide on heating. Once formed, the sulfur dioxide quickly causes potassium chlorate to decompose and pyrotechnic mixtures containing potassium chlorate to ignite.

Keywords: chlorate, sulfur, sensitiveness, thermal stability, ignition temperature

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Practical Applications of Capillary Extrusion Rheometry to Problems in the Processing of Energetic Materials
Roy E. Carter [Magna Projects & Instruments Ltd, Willow House, Braemar Close, Mountsorrel, UK]
Abstract: Energetic materials are manufactured by processes involving flow, often under conditions of elevated temperature and pressure. Such processes include extrusion, casting and pressing. If the manner in which the material flows under these conditions is not well understood, production and quality problems may result.

A capillary extrusion rheometer is essentially a laboratory-scale extrusion press that is highly instrumented and accurately controlled. As such, it provides an ideal tool for studying and quantifying the properties of the materials as they flow under conditions likely to be encountered in practice. Additionally, the extruded output from the instrument may be subjected to further testing such as for mechanical and ballistic properties to relate changes in processing conditions to product properties

Keywords: processing, extrusion, filling, analysis, rheology, rheometry, flow, viscosity

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Fixed and Scanning Infrared Radiometers for Combustion Studies
Kathy Underhill-Shanks and M. Keith Hudson [Department of Applied Science, Graduate Institute of Technology, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Little Rock, AR, USA] and
Matthew J. Russo
[Hercules Aerospace, 1101 Johnson Ave., McGregor, TX, USA]
Abstract: The feasibility of using lead selenide (PbSe) detectors and simple electronic circuitry, including a 600 Hz chopper and chopper frequency/phase reference circuit, to detect infrared emissions from flames and rocket motor plumes was demonstrated. A fixed wavelength radiometer, employing one-inch interference filters and mechanical phase adjustment, was constructed to monitor the 4.4-µm carbon dioxide band, and the 2.7-µm water vapor band. The fixed wavelength radiometer was used in flame studies, as well as, several rocket motor tests. The fixed wavelength radiometer design was modified to produce a spectroradiometer. The spectroradiometer system included a circular variable filter (CVF) having a wavelength range of 2.1 to 4.7-µm, which allowed wavelength scanning. The circuitry for the spectroradiometer was improved to include a time constant, which could be adjusted electronically, and an electronic phase adjustment. The spectroradiometer was used to monitor numerous rocket motor firings.

The infrared emissions detected by the spectroradiometer included: the water vapor band at 2.7 µm, hydrogen chloride band at 3.5 µm, and carbon dioxide band at 4.4 µm.

Keywords: IR Radiometer, Rocket Plume Monitoring, PbSe Detector, Engine Health, Combustion Diagnostics, Infrared Spectroscopy, IR Emission

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Communications :
  • Comment on: "Shell Altitude vs. Mortar Length" by R. Dixon by Clive Jennings-White

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  • Review of: Experimental Composite Propellant An Introduction to Properties and Preparation of Composite Propellant Design, Construction, Testing and Characteristics of Small Rocket Motors by Terry W. McCreary by Chuck Andrus

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  • Review of: The Chemistry of Fireworks by Michael S. Russell by Paul Smith

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  • Review of: The Chemistry of Fireworks by Michael S. Russell by Barry Sturman

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    B. Kosanke, Publisher, Journal of Pyrotechnics, Inc.
    1775 Blair Road Whitewater, CO 81527 USA
    Phone/FAX +970-245-0692

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