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Green Explosives: Saving the environment, one war at a time…

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The slightly oxymoronic notion of environmentally friendly explosives is one of the most active areas in energetic materials research. But why is this so important, and what makes an explosive ‘green’ anyway? In this talk the subject of green explosives will be introduced, describing the motivations, some approaches to tackling this issue, some of the solutions that have appeared, and why it’s not as simple as it sounds. This “second look” at explosives has also lead to greater physical and chemical understanding of how explosives work, and how these properties can be adjusted at many length scales. A case study of training ammunition will be presented, demonstrating the process of upgrading to environmentally responsible explosives, representing some current research from this lab. Training ammunition allows military and law enforcement operatives to train for realistic scenarios, using the same standard issue weapons, while using non-lethal rounds: effectively paintball with real guns. We investigate one particular brand of training ammunition, and describe the journey taken upgrading to a more environmentally responsible product.

This talk is part of the Surfaces, Microstructure and Fracture Group series.

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