Crystal growth of organic energetic materials: Pentaerythritol tetranitrate

Gengxin Zhang, Brandon L. Weeks, Xin Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The energy output performance and thermal stability of organic energetic materials have a strong dependence on the porosity, particle morphology, and micro-scale crystal structure. This paper reviews the growth habit of pure pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN) crystals and the effect of metal impurities on microcrystal morphology of PETN films. The pure crystal growth shows that PETN molecules diffuse on the surface and nucleate in a two-dimensional layer-by-layer fashion; the final structure is controlled by the deposition flux. Also, the effect of metal cation impurities has a strong impact on the thermal stability and crystal structure, and is dependent on the doping level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)336-346
Number of pages11
JournalCentral European Journal of Engineering
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2012


  • 2-D nucleation
  • Crystal growth
  • Dendrite growth
  • Organic thin film


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