Comparison of Bacillus atrophaeus spore viability following exposure to detonation of C4 and to deflagration of halogen-containing thermites

J. W. Tringe, S. E. Létant, L. C. Dugan, H. W. Levie, A. L. Kuhl, G. A. Murphy, S. W. Alves, K. S. Vandersall, M. L. Pantoya

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Abstract

Energetic materials are being considered for the neutralization of spore-forming bacteria. In this study, the neutralization effects of a monomolecular explosive were compared to the effects of halogen-containing thermites. Bacillus atrophaeus spores were exposed to the post-detonation environment of a 100 g charge of the military explosive C-4 at a range of 50 cm. These tests were performed in the thermodynamically closed environment of a 506-l barometric calorimeter. Associated temperatures were calculated using a thermodynamic model informed by calculations with the Cheetah thermochemical code. Temperatures in the range of 2300-2800 K were calculated to persist for nearly the full 4 ms pressure observation time. After the detonation event, spores were characterized using optical microscopy and the number of viable spores was assessed. Results showed live spore survival rates in the range of 0.01%-1%. For the thermite tests, a similar, smaller-scale configuration was employed that examined the spore neutralization effects of two thermites: aluminum with iodine pentoxide and aluminum with potassium chlorate. Only the former mixture resulted in spore neutralization. These results indicate that the detonation environment produced by an explosive with no chemical biocides may provide effective spore neutralization similar to a deflagrating thermite containing iodine.

Original languageEnglish
Article number234903
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Volume114
Issue number23
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 21 2013

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