Tiny copper structures with pores at both the nanometer and micron size scales could play a key role in the next generation of detonators used to improve the reliability, reduce the size and lower the cost of certain military munitions.
Developed by a team of scientists from the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) and the Indian Head Division of the Naval Surface Warfare Center, the highly-uniform copper structures will be incorporated into integrated circuits then chemically converted to millimeter-diameter explosives. Because they can be integrated into standard microelectronics fabrication processes, the copper materials will enable micro-electromechanical (MEMS) fuzes for military munitions to be mass-produced like computer chips.
An ability to tailor the porosity and structural integrity of the explosive precursor material is a combination weve never had before, said Jason Nadler, a GTRI research engineer. We can start with the Navys requirements for the material and design structures that are able to meet those requirements. We can have an integrated design tool able to develop a whole range of explosive precursors on different size scales.
Nadler uses a variety of templates, including microspheres and woven fabrics, to create regular patterns in copper oxide paste whose viscosity is controlled by the addition of polymers. He then thermochemically removes the template and converts the resulting copper oxide structures to pure metal, retaining the patterns imparted by the template. The size of the pores can be controlled by using different templates and by varying the processing conditions.
So far, hes made copper structures with channel sizes as small as a few microns with structural components that have nanoscale pores.
Based on feedback from the Navy scientists, Nadler can tweak the structures to help optimize the overall device known as a fuze which controls when and where a munition will explod
|Contact: John Toon|
Georgia Institute of Technology Research News