‘Melt Cast’ – the replacement for toxic TNT

The dawn of advanced technologies in the fields of research has improved the quality of our lives in a variety of ways. The introduction of melt-cast explosives is one among the most anticipated innovations made in the area of Explosives Engineering. This new chemical combination is a replacement for the hazardous usage of TNT for defense purposes or for controlled explosions and fireworks. The study of explosives has been flourishing lately with new inventions like these which create many opportunities in engineering abroad.

TNT, the most widely used phlegmatized explosive, has a number of disadvantages that compromise safety. Its chemical composition makes this compound unstable and pushes degradation while stored in hot temperatures. This makes the formulation brittle and prone to cracking, which results in the formation of an explosive material that is more reactive to shocks which would in turn lead to untimed explosions. Even in terms of performance, TNT is a step behind. On the other hand, melt-cast explosives show extremely efficient performance that prevents shrinking, cracking or cooling which could lead to unexpected catastrophes.

Combining the advantages of highly nitrated azoles and open-chain nitramines was undeniably a huge breakthrough.The technology that powers melt-cast explosives is based on 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT), 2,4-dinitroanisole (DNAN) and 1,3,3-trinitroazetidine (TNAZ) compounds. These inflammatory components are molten in nature and are heated at 80 to 120 °C with hot water or steam ingredients. This helps in having a lower melting point, hence decreasing the chances for decomposition. This new component also eliminates problems caused by inhalation of toxic gases emitted during explosions.

Melting TNT as a solvent with energetic thermoplastic elastomers derived the creation of insensitive, recyclable, high-energy melt cast plastic bonded explosives. This effectively reduces the hazardous behavior exhibited by traditional explosives due to their chemical composition. These methods are not restricted for TNT and can be replaced by any other explosives like TNAZ.

Different combinations of chemical compounds can be considered to find explosives that serve varied requirements. Many reputed Universities under Manipal ICAS promote research and development of ideas like this one which amalgamates chemical engineering and particle physics.  ICAS Manipal offers study-abroad programs in foreign countries by facilitating a credit transfer after the first two years of one’s B.Tech Engineering studies. The students can participate in research projects and advanced technological development studies as per their preference in the respective subjects.

Students from universities like Ludwig Maximilian in Germany have conducted extensive research on melt- cast explosives. The Canadian government already owns the patent for producing insensitive melt cast explosive compositions containing energetic thermoplastic elastomers. The exposure and experience that can be gained from countries that carry out rigorous studies like these, will be immense.The world becomes a better place when, along with the aim for commercial gains, science is applied where it can make a difference in improving the environment. Bringing eco-friendly methods in fields where toxicity needs to be removed makes a huge wave of positive impact on the struggle of survival on this planet.


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