SERDP: Energetic Materials

see notice $200,000

The objective of this Statement of Need (SON) is to develop innovative synthetic approaches to produce energetic materials and their precursors that will eliminate or drastically reduce hazardous waste streams from thenitration processes that are widely used in manufacturing energetic materials. Typical nitration processes of aromatic compounds, amines, and alcohols to produce C-Nitro, N-Nitro or Nitrate ester based energetics involve large quantities of strong acids (sulfuric and nitric) and produce large quantities of hazardous wastes. Solvents used in the preparation of these compounds are contaminated with the energetic material, hazardous reagents, or reaction by-products and are not easily recycled. In addition, typical nitration reactions require rigorous temperature control and are therefore energy intensive processes.

Proposals should focus on one of the following processes:
– Synthesis of an aromatic/heteroaromatic nitro compound (e.g. TNT, DNAN)
– Synthesis of a nitramine (e.g. RDX, HMX, CL-20)
– Synthesis of a nitrate ester (plasticizer) (NG, TMETN, etc. or nitrocellulose)

Proposals also will be considered for more broad-based research to develop the fundamentals of synthetic methodologies as related to energetic materials with no specific targeted compounds. Proposed methodologies will need to be innovative and need to go beyond the previously investigated methods of recycle and reuse of solvents/reagents. This could include solid phase synthesis for aromatic nitration, nitramine, nitrate ester formation, or oxidation of amines to nitro groups.

In the past, SERDP has explored electrochemical and biological methodologies as well as hybrid pathways involving combinations of synthetic biological and organic synthesis to produce energetic materials or to explore novel nitration pathways. Proposers for this SON should focus on methods that minimize or eliminate solvents and that do not involve biological or electrochemical methods.