«Explosive crystal» can become number one killer

Search explosives owning more power lasts for centuries. Normal gunpowder long disappeared from the scene, but the emergence of small-scale mechanized warfare, including UAVs, only provokes new quest. Warhead weight and smallest sizes retain power own larger predecessors only by new advances chemists.

In immaculate explosive must necessarily be balanced greatest explosive force and the greatest stability during transportation and storage. In addition it must possess the highest density of chemical energy, low cost of production and better environmental safety. To achieve this is not easy, because during development in this field usually take already proven formula — RDX, TNT, geksanitrostilben, PETN, and the like — and try to do better suitable response without harm to others. The novel compounds are extremely rare.

Fascinating exception to this rule may be hexanitrohexaazaisowurtzitane (CL-20), who is willing to enter into the list of favorite for the explosives. Its the first time synthesized in 1986 in California (hence CL abbreviated title). Chemical energy of the substance contained in a very dense form. Factory creation CL-20 are now engaged in a few companies, and its price is more than 1300 bucks per kg. But, According to experts, in the case of the transition to the enormous scale synthesis price fall by 5-10 times.

Now one of the most effective military explosives — HMX, used in plastic charges. Price HMX is about $ 100 per kg. But CL-20 shows another huge power: in tests for penetration through the iron blocks it was 40 percent more efficient. This power is provided by most of the detonation velocity (9660 feet per second versus 9100) and higher density material (2.04 vs. 1.91 g/cm3).

Such an indescribable force enables assume that CL-20 is particularly useful when used with small-sized combat systems, for example modern UAV. But it is very sensitive to vibrations and shocks — about the same as PETN, a compound that is more sensitive of all applicable explosives now. Initially it was assumed that CL-20 can be used in conjunction with plastic binding components (9:1), but with decreasing threat of detonation explosive force is reduced in parallel.
In short, the history of CL-20, which began in the 1980s, until the turn around is not very successful. But chemists continue to experiment with the CL-20. One of these was the South American chemists Dr. Adam Matzger (Adam Mattsger) under management hexanitrohexaazaisowurtzitane seems to have improved the applicable form. Scientists tried not to change the structure of matter and its form.

Here we must say that if you take the 7 Crystals 2 different substances, a single molecule of the crystal would be surrounded by the same, as it neighbors. With all this characteristics consistency — something between the qualities of both substances in pure form. Mattsger and his colleagues have tried to use this instead of the co-crystallization method of the overall solution — such makarom, molecular crystals were obtained, which contain both materials once 2 CL-20 molecules and 1 molecule of HMX.

The characteristics of this compound, the researchers learned that the detonation velocity equals 9480 meters per second — in other words, somewhere in the middle between the speed of HMX and CL-20 in pure form. But stability is actually the same as that of pure HMX (creators believe that it is impossible because of the formation of additional hydrogen bonds that stabilize the molecule CL-20, between with 2 types of molecules). In addition, the density of the crystal is about 20 percent higher than that of HMX. This makes the mixture more effective. In other words, such a crystal in comparison with the HMX is a significant improvement and a promising candidate for the role of «best in the world of explosives.»

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