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Resonant acoustic mixing processing studies of energetic materials

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An investigation into how the efficiency (time and energy required for homogeneity) of Resonant Acoustic Mixing (RAM) can be determined and optimised was undertaken. An idealised Polymer Bonded eXplosive (PBX) simulant based on glass microbeads (28.3 µm D50 , 62 v/v in binder and plasticiser) was used for mixing. Mixing evolution was monitored using machine output data, whereby the mixer ‘intensity’ (related to power draw) was plotted against time. Experiments were undertaken with three acceleration settings, two mixer units, and three vessel materials of low, medium, and high surface free energy. Different stages of the mixer ‘intensity’ profiles were found to correspond to discrete stages of mixing, as well as further rheological changes due to continued frictional heating, thus viscosity reduction, beyond homogeneity being achieved. Time to mixing completion was found to be repeatable within a standard deviation of ±10 , strongly dependant on acceleration setting, and additionally dependant on vessel material, though additional data is required to confirm this. A significant difference in mixing time was observed between different LabRAM units. Partial vacuum application without degassing was beneficial for mixing. Finally, a paradigm linking the ‘movement modes’ of mixing was constructed, based on literature observations and the experimental results.

This talk is part of the Physics and Chemistry of Solids Group series.

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