Green the world, and scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have taken that to the level of explosives.
Researchers have added unique green solvents (ionic liquids) to an explosive called TATB to improve the crystal quality and chemical purity of the material.
“Improving crystal quality and purity leads to explosive materials that are safer (less likely to react violently) when subjected to mechanical impact or heat,” said Larry Fried, the project’s principal investigator.
The researchers looked for a green alternative to the general class of materials called molecular crystals in which most explosives belong. The materials are bound together by a network of hydrogen bonds and the materials are nearly insoluble in common organic solvents, leading to poor quality limited size crystals, which in turn hinders progress in many technological applications.
The alternative the scientists have come up with is ionic liquids, which are a type of molten salt that becomes liquid under the boiling (100 degrees Celsius) point of water. Ionic liquids are solvent with little vapor pressure and do not evaporate under high temperature conditions. Improving the quality, stability and precision of explosives using new ionic liquids means they’re less likely to react violently under heat and impact pressure. These types of explosives are also purer and less polluting.
All I can think of is WTF?
So upon further reading, I realized that there may be some other applications rather than using this process to make bombs more, well, ummm, eco-friendly. The researchers say the ionic liquids could also lead to more effective ways of dissolving cellulose in plant fibers that could lead to more bio-renewable polymeric materials. In addition, the greener explosives could help the mining industry.
written by ketan, September 14, 2008
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