A device for testing thermal impact sensitivity of high explosives

Gengxin Zhang, Brandon L. Weeks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


A drop-weight instrument is described to investigate the impact sensitivity of high explosives at elevated temperatures. This test is typically performed to discover potential safety aspects of either newly synthesized materials of unknown behavior. Normally, drop-weight impact sensitivity tests are conducted at room temperature, since high explosives are often stored or handled at room temperature. The instrument described here has the capability of heating the samples from ambient to 300°C prior to impact. The thermal impact sensitivities of PETN, TATP, HMX, and silver azide (AgN3) as a function of temperature are obtained. The phase transition of HMX can clearly be observed by a significant decrease in the impact height in situ.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)440-445
Number of pages6
JournalPropellants, Explosives, Pyrotechnics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2010


  • Drop-Weight Machine
  • HMX
  • PETN
  • Thermal Sensitivity Analysis


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