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Proceedings Paper

Development of a portable non-contact optical diagnostic system for the detection of delta-HMX
Author(s): Andrew J. Dale; Mark W. Wright; Christopher T. Hughes; Mike D. Bowden
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Paper Abstract

If a HMX-based explosive is subjected to an insult then there is a potential for the insulted β-HMX to undergo a phase change to the more sensitive δ form. AWE has an ongoing programme to develop a science-based model of the response of HMX-based explosives to potential insults. As part of this programme there is a need to identify whether δ-HMX has been formed, as this would subsequently affect the intrinsic safety properties of the formulation. δ-HMX, unlike the more stable β form, exhibits unusual optical properties for an explosive, as it acts as a frequency-doubling material. When illuminated by a high-energy laser pulse areas of the explosive charge that contain δ-HMX emit frequency doubled light. This non-linear optical phenomenon allows for a non-invasive diagnostic to be developed to study creation of the more sensitive δ phase within HMX based formulations. AWE has developed a portable diagnostic system based on this concept to investigate the behaviour of HMX-based explosives after low-speed impacts. The results of the commissioning trials are presented; using both an inert simulant, KDP, to align and prove the system and HMX samples from low-speed impact experiments. The results of these experiments are compared to initial calculations using the Hydrocode EDEN.

Paper Details

Date Published: 13 September 2007
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 6662, Optical Technologies for Arming, Safing, Fuzing, and Firing III, 666209 (13 September 2007); doi: 10.1117/12.734178
Show Author Affiliations
Andrew J. Dale, Atomic Weapons Establishment (United Kingdom)
Mark W. Wright, Atomic Weapons Establishment (United Kingdom)
Christopher T. Hughes, Atomic Weapons Establishment (United Kingdom)
Mike D. Bowden, Atomic Weapons Establishment (United Kingdom)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6662:
Optical Technologies for Arming, Safing, Fuzing, and Firing III
William J. Thomes; Fred M. Dickey, Editor(s)

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