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Explosives at the microscopic scale produce shocking results
Date:12/11/2007

, 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.


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Contact: Anne Stark
stark8@llnl.gov
925-422-9799
DOE/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

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