Navigation Links
Explosives at the microscopic scale produce shocking results

LIVERMORE, Calif. -- U.S. troops blew up enemy bridges with explosives in World War II to slow the advance of supplies or enemy forces.

In modern times, patrollers use explosives at ski resorts to purposely create avalanches so the runs are safer when skiers arrive.

Other than creating the desired effect (a destroyed bridge or avalanche), the users didnt exactly know the microscopic details and extreme states of matter found within a detonating high explosive.

In fact, most scientists dont know what happens either.

But researchers from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have created the first quantum molecular dynamics simulation of a shocked explosive near detonation conditions, to reveal what happens at the microscopic scale.

What they found is quite riveting: The explosive, nitromethane, undergoes a chemical decomposition and a transformation into a semi-metallic state for a limited distance behind the detonation front.

Nitromethane is a more energetic high explosive than TNT, although TNT has a higher velocity of detonation and shattering power against hard targets. Nitromethane is oxygen poor, but when mixed with ammonium nitrate can be extremely lethal, such as in the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.

Despite the extensive production and use of explosives for more than a century, their basic microscopic properties during detonation havent been unraveled, said Evan Reed, the lead author of a paper appearing in the Dec. 9 online edition of the journal, Nature Physics. Weve gotten the first glimpse of the properties by performing the first quantum molecular dynamics simulation.

In 2005 alone, 3.2 billion kilograms of explosives were sold in the United States for a wide range of applications, including mining, demolition and military applications.

Nitromethane is burned as a fuel in drag racing autos, but also can be made to detonate, a special kind of burning in which the material undergoes a much faster and far more violent type of chemical transformation. With its single nitrogen dioxide (NO2) group, it is a simple representative version of explosives with more NO2 groups.

Though it is an optically transparent, electrically insulating material, it undergoes a shocking transformation: It turns into an optically reflecting, nearly metallic state for a short time behind the detonation shock wave front.

But further behind the wave front, the material returns to being optically transparent and electrically insulating.

This is the first observation of this behavior in a molecular dynamics simulation of a shocked material, Reed said. Ultimately, we may be able to create computer simulations of detonation properties of new, yet-to-be synthesized designer explosives.


Contact: Anne Stark
DOE/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Related biology technology :

1. A Large-Scale Research Project by a Dutch Consortium Addressing a Global Problem
2. CCMR gets $2.9M for training grad students in nanoscale science
3. Penn engineers design computer memory in nanoscale form that retrieves data 1,000 times faster
4. CCMR gets $2.9M for training grad students in nanoscale science
5. Penn engineers design computer memory in nanoscale form that retrieves data 1,000 times faster
6. Peter Cummings to receive the 2007 AIChE Nanoscale Science and Engineering Forum Award
7. Sol-gel inks produce complex shapes with nanoscale features
8. Elbit Medical Imaging Ltd. Announces Definitive Agreements for a Large Scale Luxury Mixed Use Project in Bangalore, India
9. Heavier hydrogen on the atomic scale reduces friction
10. China-Biotics, Inc. Receives Approval to Begin Construction on Large-Scale Manufacturing Facility
11. Anthrax vaccine produces immunity with nanoparticles, not needles
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... ... business process optimization firm for the life sciences and healthcare industries, announces a ... in San Francisco. , The presentation, “Automating GxP Validation for Agile Cloud Platforms,” ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... ... , ... At its national board meeting in North Carolina, ARCS® Foundation ... of Physics and Astronomy, has been selected for membership in ARCS Alumni Hall ... 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental physics for the discovery of the accelerating expansion of ...
(Date:10/7/2017)... ... October 06, 2017 , ... ... Hi-C metagenome deconvolution product, featuring the first commercially available Hi-C kit. Researchers ... perform Hi-C metagenome deconvolution using their own facilities, supplementing the company’s full-service ...
(Date:10/5/2017)... ... ... LabRoots , the leading provider of educational and interactive virtual events ... cancer research with a month-long promotion supporting the advancement of breast cancer research with ... promo code PinkRibbon to get 10 percent off their purchase of every the “Cancer ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:3/28/2017)... 2017 The report "Video Surveillance ... Servers, Storage Devices), Software (Video Analytics, VMS), and Service ... Forecast to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the market was ... projected to reach USD 75.64 Billion by 2022, at ... base year considered for the study is 2016 and ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... , March 24, 2017 The Controller General of ... Mr. Abdulla Algeen have received the prestigious international IAIR Award ... Continue Reading ... ... and Deputy Controller Abdulla Algeen (small picture on the right) have received ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... , March 23, 2017 The report "Gesture Recognition and ... Industry, and Geography - Global Forecast to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the market ... CAGR of 29.63% between 2017 and 2022. Continue ... ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):