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Sensitized Liquid Hydrazine Detonation StudiesVapor-phase hydrazine (N2H4) is known to be very sensitive to detonation while liquid hydrazine is very insensitive to detonation, theoretically requiring extremely high pressures to induce initiation. A review of literature on solid and liquid explosives shows that when pure explosive substances are infiltrated with gas cavities, voids, and/or different phase contaminants, the energy or shock pressure necessary to induce detonation can decrease by an order of magnitude. Tests were conducted with liquid hydrazine in a modified card-gap configuration. Sensitization was attempted by bubbling helium gas through and/or suspending ceramic microspheres in the liquid. The hydrazine was subjected to the shock pressure from a 2 lb (0.9 kg) Composition C-4 explosive charge. The hydrazine was contained in a 4 in. (10.2 cm) diameter stainless steel cylinder with a 122 in(sup 3) (2 L) volume and sealed with a polyethylene cap. Blast pressures from the events were recorded by 63 high speed pressure transducers located on three radial legs extending from 4 to 115 ft (1.2 to 35.1 in) from ground zero. Comparison of the neat hydrazine and water baseline tests with the "sensitized" hydrazine tests indicates the liquid hydrazine did not detonate under these conditions.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
White Sands Test Facility
Document Type
Conference Paper
Rathgeber, K. A.
(Allied-Signal Technical Services Corp. Las Cruces, NM United States)
Keddy, C. P.
(Allied-Signal Technical Services Corp. Las Cruces, NM United States)
Bunker, R. L.
(NASA White Sands Test Facility NM United States)
Date Acquired
August 19, 2013
Publication Date
April 1, 1999
Publication Information
Publication: JANNAF 28th Propellant Development and Characterization Subcommittee and 17th Safety and Environmental Protection Subcommitte Joint Meeting
Volume: 1
Subject Category
Propellants And Fuels
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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